The top businesses have one thing in common- they have a phenomenal sales and marketing strategy.
It doesn’t matter how great your B2B product or service is, it’s not going to sell itself. You need a strategy that works for your business, keeps your sales pipeline full at all times and helps you close more deals fast.
Mastering sales will skyrocket the chances of business success for you if you’ve got the product part right. Most businesses focus only on improving the product/service. Product improvement matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
In the B2B space, high ticket sales are most often involved. This, in turn, means a longer sales cycle.
Consequently, you not only need a great product but even a better strategy to sell it.
1. B2B Market Research
We all know ‘sales’ is one of the most challenging professions out there! You only have the same hours as everyone else, and to ensure you close more, you need to manage your time in the most effective way.
Market research will help you understand who your ideal customer is, what your prospects are seeking, what they buy, and why they buy it. All of this will help you align your sales efforts in the right direction. The market is always changing, so to stay relevant, you need to be consistent with your research efforts.
Market research is very crucial to understand the behavior of the modern B2B buyer. You can use customer reviews, interviews, and surveys to perform your market research and improve sales conversations.
The market analysis will help you wrap your head around the market trends, customer behavior, and where you currently stand in the marketplace. Analyze your target companies and their competitors to understand how you can create a win-win partnership.
B2B market research is different as it involves more complicated decision-making, and you need to take both a qualitative and a quantitative approach to get the complete picture.
But, when done right, it helps you uncover new touchpoints and new business opportunities as well.
2. B2B Relationships that Win
As they say, sometimes it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Every great business is built on relationships, and winning more B2B sales naturally comes down to building the right relationships.
How can you ensure the prospect buys from you and not your competitors? You need to build a strong relationship and then nurture it. Customers will keep doing business with you if they feel a personal connection.
Face to face meetings win; you get closer to the right people. They boost your credibility, establish a positive brand image, and your prospects end up trusting you more than the people who are just communicating with them on the phone.
Meeting in person is at the core of building the right business relationships as there can’t be a better way to show that you care. In B2B sales, it’s even more important because the deals are often of high dollar value, and the prospect needs to trust you before they buy from you. Another way is to listen to your sales recordings to figure out what works and what doesn’t in building strong business relationships.
Your prospects don’t want to feel like they are just another number on your list, and it’s hard to build trust this way. As a business, you must deliver on your promise, no matter how small.
In the digital era, you can also start building relationships with your prospects on social media. Your business needs to have a strong presence in the most popular B2B channels.
Relationships make the transition happen- from prospect to becoming a brand advocate.
3. The B2B Sales Mindset
People buy results, not features. Most B2B salespeople waste this precious time talking about how great their product or service is. But, the prospect isn’t interested in that! Your prospect is interested in knowing how you can help them grow their business and perform better. The prospect wants to know how well you understand their business, and if you have the right solution to solve their challenges.
The most effective salespeople are problem-solvers. You connect with your prospects better if it looks to them that you genuinely want to help. How you respond makes all the difference here.
When you are talking to your prospect, explore their challenges, and pain-points. Repeat what they tell you in your way; make it clear you are both on the same page.
Modern buyers are well-informed and research online before buying any product or service. Salespeople need to understand where they need to step in to assist them. Research about the prospects and their companies before you have a discussion. Stay driven and motivated.
Salespeople are naturally result-oriented. As soon as you finish a meeting with your prospect, you start thinking if you closed that deal or not.
But, you need to step back here and ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. This will give you insights on why some deals close and the others don’t. It’ll help you go a long way in becoming better at what you do.
As a salesperson, it’s your job to keep learning and experimenting. Each interaction is an opportunity, so make sure you always put your best foot forward. Focus on the needs of your prospects, and know when to ditch the pitch.
4. The B2B Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey involves 3 phases- Identification, consideration, and decision. It starts with your prospect identifying they have a problem. Then they move to evaluate what they need to fix it and finally weighing the options and buying the solution.
Understand where your customer is in the buying process. Because, if they are in the awareness phase, it makes no sense for you to talk about the pricing and the different models you have to offer.
At this time, educating is the best choice. Help them discover more about their pain points and how you understand their challenges! Understand what their needs are at each stage, and then deliver what they need right now.
You need to understand that sending more messages won’t increase your influence. It’s about how meaningfully you connect with your customers, even if the touchpoints are fewer.
Map out the customer path to purchase and focus your efforts to improve the most critical touchpoints in that particular stage of the buyer’s journey.
For instance, it’s not easy to get in touch with the decision-makers. For sales efforts to be successful, businesses need to primarily focus on the touchpoints in the decision phase that are most effective in engaging the decision-makers.
Meet with your clientele to truly understand how they buy; it may not necessarily be similar to how they say they make their purchase decisions.
The traditional approach to selling doesn’t quite work anymore. Talk to the prospect about their challenges, demonstrate how you’re the right fit, and then talk about how your goals align.
What makes your prospects tick? Get into their shoes, and you’ll know how to serve them better.
5. A B2B Value Proposition
A business can build a distinctive value proposition by leveraging both rational and emotional factors that influence decision-making. You see the value in your offerings, but do your customers see it too?
Articulating your vision is about finding out the elements that your customers value the most and build your value proposition around it.
You can’t make a great statement just by taking the organizational view into account; you need the customer’s perspective.
Identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). While crafting a value proposition, first start with who is it for? Once you have that answered, dig into their pain points and challenges.
Get in touch with your customers, and dive into the experience they share with your brand. Draw on their feedback, and think of new ways to increase value for your customers. Now, it’s time for you to express it.
Good value propositions are about addressing your customers’ pain points. So, give a green signal to the ideas that are easy to implement for your business, as well as appeal to your customer base. The point is, your value proposition should sell your USP and resonate with your audience.
A B2B value proposition states why investing in you is worth it. It talks about the value you deliver to your customers and what is in it for them.
Your sales decks are all about who you are and what your company does. Maybe, it’s time you change it to the value you provide and how you can help the prospect’s business grow.
6. The B2B Experience
B2C businesses are very creative with selling and focus a great deal on improving the buying experience for their customers, and this is where B2B brands are lagging.
The customer experience during the buying process is what will differentiate you from your competitors.
As per McKinsey & Company, in the customer-experience index ratings, B2C companies typically score in the 65 to 85 percent range, while B2B companies average less than 50 percent.
Some B2B businesses are so good at selling their products and services, and others not very much so. Why such a stark difference?
Selling becomes considerably easier with the WOW factor, and contrary to popular opinion, the customer experience is as significant in the B2B landscape as it is in the B2C.
The B2B buying process is complex, and it makes having a strategic approach to customer experience all the way more important. You should step up your creativity and refine interactions with your prospects at each touchpoint during their sales journey.
Personalize the buying process for them, engage your prospects, and cater to what they need at a particular stage in the buying process. This will not only drastically improve your chances of closing a deal, but will get you more referrals too!
B2B businesses focusing on buying experience enjoy higher profit margins and higher client satisfaction than the competitors that don’t have a customer experience strategy.
7. The B2B Sales Follow-ups
Most salespeople today take a checklist approach to follow up with their prospects. But it doesn’t work anymore. Salespeople must realize that in B2B sales, you’re not the only one trying to grab your prospect’s attention. It’s a tug of war.
To set yourself apart, you need to personalize the communication. Tailor your follow-up emails and presentations.
You don’t want to come off as an annoying salesperson; your goal is to deliver value here and guide them in the right direction.
Remember, your prospect is busy and has a limited timeframe to get through your emails. Lay out the defined steps, include graphics, and cut the fat to make it easy for them to leaf through it and understand the gist of it.
If you’re following up with calls, make sure your tone is right. You may sound friendly, but not too excited. Clearly mention the reason why you’re calling, and try not using phrases such as touching base, circling back, and checking up.
It’s all about patience. But, make sure you value your prospect’s time as well as yours. Set expectations on the very first call itself. So when you take your follow-up, they know why you wanted to hear back from them and when.
Personalize the call as well; brief them about the details of the last time you talked with them. Make sure you ask them their preferred channel to communicate.
Wrapping it up!
The B2B buying process has evolved, and so your sales strategy must too. This is the only way businesses can ensure delivering more value to their prospects at each touchpoint.
Mark the end of silos and foster a partnership between sales and marketing departments of your organization. This is the most powerful way to increase sales productivity and maximize your ROI in today’s age.
The power has shifted to consumers, and brands need to make the most of the few opportunities they have to influence their prospects’ decisions and close more sales.