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November 22, 2022
Mapping the sales process is crucial if you want to grow your business in a B2B market. By understanding each step of the process, you can identify areas where you need improvement and ensure that your efforts are focused on achieving your goals.
Although the exact stages and steps of a successful sales process for B2B markets will vary from one company and industry to another—the essential phases remain the same. We’ll go through each of them below to help your business drive short-term and long-term growth.
The critical phases of every B2B sales cycle are preparation, education, prospecting, assessing, establishing trust, handling objections, closing, and following up. You must map out these things to see the B2B sales process from cold leads to converted customers, that way it will result in steady business growth.
Let’s look at each of these sections in detail to see why they’re crucial and what’s involved.
The first step in any sales process is preparation. This is when you assess your current situation, set your goals, and develop a strategy for achieving them.
To prepare effectively, you need to understand your target market, your competition, and your strengths and weaknesses. There isn’t much difference between the B2C and B2B sales process, as market research is vital for any business that wants to succeed.
Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Know exactly what you want to achieve and how you can get there. You can also use the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to understand your situation and goals clearly.
This phase of the sales process is all about setting yourself up for success. By taking the time to prepare appropriately, you’ll be in a much better position to achieve your targets.
After you’ve prepared your goals, start educating yourself and the potential client on your solution. Learn everything you can about the offerings, analyze how they’ll address, and connect to the needs of your target market.
Unfortunately, many sales teams miss converging trends to the concerns of their customers, where they fail to highlight the solution’s value—features instead of benefits.
Instead, focus on understanding the market before educating them. The more knowledgeable you are about your subject matter, the more confident you’ll be when speaking to potential clients, and the more you can irresistibly position your offer. B2B solutions also tend to be more complex than B2C offerings, so ensure that you can educate and connect with the market well.
Prospecting is the process of finding and qualifying potential customers. It’s a key step in the sales process, but it’s often one of the most challenging, especially for new businesses.
The best way to overcome this hurdle is to develop a solid lead generation strategy based on your buyer personas. Creating buyer personas requires you to understand your target market deeper and learn about their specific needs, concerns, and motivations.
You can develop content that appeals to them only after creating the buyer personas. After that, you can conduct targeted online advertising campaigns and use other marketing strategies to build a relationship with specific audiences.
After you’ve generated a list of leads, it’s time to assess each one to see if they’re qualified buyers. Again, you want to focus on the leads that fit your business well before trying to move them through the sales cycle, or your efforts will be in vain.
To develop your criteria, start with a discovery call to know the prospect better. Probe as deep as you can to uncover their pain points, actual needs, and any assumptions or doubts that your brand hasn’t figured out yet. Your goal is to understand the customer’s challenges and see if they align with your business proposal and goals.
Specifically for B2B sales strategies, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for prospecting as you can target individuals with certain job titles, in specific companies, and even in certain locations.
Remember: Quality over quantity. It’s better to have fewer high-quality leads than many unqualified ones. By taking the time to generate targeted leads, you’ll be in a much better position to achieve your targets.
The next step in the sales process is establishing trust with your potential customer. This is where you need to build rapport and show them that you understand their needs. In the B2B industry, this is often done by providing case studies, testimonials, and other forms of social proof showing how your products or services have helped other businesses succeed.
Establishing trust takes time, so don’t try to rush. Instead, take the time to build a genuine relationship with your potential customers, and you’ll be much more likely to close the sale.
Don’t try to sell right away; focus on being genuine, transparent, and helpful. Think about their unique concerns and pain points, talk about those, then slowly link those to the features and benefits you provide, and position yourself as a trusted and credible advisor—not a salesman.
Your ultimate goal may be to sell, but you can’t do that without first building trust.
After you’ve established trust, you can finally start selling. But before you close the deal, you need to be prepared for objections. Objections are any concerns prospects have about your product or service—often about price or a fear of change.
The best way to handle objections is by being honest, addressing them directly, and having solutions ready. Don’t disagree with the prospect because that’ll only shut them off completely. Instead, empathize and use your customer knowledge to reframe the situation. Consider their perspective while you try to convince them of your solution.
Moreover, take the opportunity to know your audience more deeply. Take note of all their objections, and see if there’s a general trend you can address. For example, you might want to change your sales pitch or product to reflect your market’s wants better.
Specifically, with B2B customers, getting to the heart of their objections can help you establish a more long-term relationship, as you can show that you truly understand their business.
The final step in the sales process is to close the deal. This is where the lead becomes a client, and your efforts become revenue.
The best way to close a deal is by summarizing everything you’ve talked about, highlighting your prospect’s central pain points, and reiterating how your product or service is the best solution for them. No matter what your business goal is—whether selling a product, introducing a service, getting a subscription, or signing a contract—ensure that both parties reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Always remember to show appreciation for their time. It’s also essential to have a sense of urgency—not too much that you seem desperate, but enough to make them realize that this isn’t an offer they’ll want to delay. Closing should be easy if you’ve done your job right up to this point.
Of course, the sales process in B2B markets doesn’t end when the deals close. In fact, it’s just beginning. The follow-up is an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship with your client and ensuring they’re happy with their purchase—repeat business and referrals are essential to healthy business growth.
A good follow-up strategy involves staying in touch with your clients, addressing any concerns or issues they have, and checking in to see how they’re doing. Your goal is to nurture customer relationships by acting as a true partner and helping both of you succeed. If you have anything to up-sell or cross-sell, this is also the perfect time to introduce other complementary products to the one they’ve already bought.
The key to a successful sales process is having a plan and sticking to it. By mapping out each step of the process, you can ensure that every lead is treated with the same level of care and attention and that no opportunities are left on the table.
Of course, every business is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to create a sales process that works for you is to start with the basics and then tailor it to your specific industry, target market, products, and services. Use this as a starting point, and then adjust as needed until you find a system that brings in consistent results.
Need help mapping your sales process for B2B markets? Our team is at your disposal.
We have the experience and expertise to develop strategies, research your market, and create content to propel your company in generating leads, closing sales, and growing its revenue. Get in touch today.