Compared to selling services/goods to consumers, B2B sales deals are high revenue sales with longer sales cycles. B2B sales can be both rewarding and gratifying.
What is B2B sales?
The transaction of goods or services from one business to another instead of being from businesses to consumers refers to business-to-business sales or B2B sales.
This is how a successful B2B sales process should transpire:
Conduct Market Research
Begin the B2B sales process by performing market research to understand the current state of demand for your offering.
Get clear on who your competitors are in your segment, and familiarize yourself with their techniques and strategies to understand the message your prospects are getting from other sources.
Determine The Ideal Buyer
Identify the companies that fit your ideal buyer persona. Also consider what your prospects sell or offer, lookout for contextual information on the status of their business. Have they recently launched a new product? If you are selling to startups, what is their financial situation?
Have there been any leadership changes? Such info can help you determine if companies are ready to invest in your offering.
Map Buyer’s Journey
Now that you are clear on who your audience is and what could be their take on your offering, it’s time to detail how the customer will approach your offering.
For this you would have to walk through the path a potential customer could take to discover your product or service.
We shall elucidate this further:
Awareness — The buyer realizes they need a product / service that could solve a problem or pain point.
Consideration — The buyer determines how the problem can be solved, and researches for different products or offerings that could help.
Decision — The buyer compares available options, and determines the ideal course of action to opt for.
As part of your sales process, identify and track where your prospects are in the sales journey. Doing so empowers you to strategize tactics that will meet them head on.
A lead is a lead that qualifies for a direct sales pitch. Not everyone who evinces interest in your offering will turn into a qualified lead. To determine whether a B2B prospect is sales qualified, inquire the following:
What is the problem you are trying to sort out? — This will help you determine the product or offer to recommend as the sales process progresses.
Have you tried solving this problem earlier? This will give you important insight into what will work and what won’t, to solve the customer’s problem. Additionally, you’ll know the pain points that your product can solve.
Who makes the final purchasing decisions? — In B2B sales as you are not selling to a end user, you would have to work with several points of contact to close a deal. Understanding those who are involved in making the final decision, the process involved, and the budget will decide your sales strategy.
If and when you realize that your customer’s needs and your products or services are aligned, try to communicate face-to-face as much as possible. As we’ve discussed, B2B sales are higher-revenue in nature, and hence involves much more discussion.
When you are able to meet face-to-face (in person, or virtually) to clear your clients queries, deliver your pitch, and clear concerns. This helps you build trust with the customer. Which cannot be established over the phone or emails.
Close The Deal
As the sale gets completed, facilitate an agreement outlining payment terms. Also, coordinate with your company’s service department to ensure that the customer has been onboarded and necessary support is available while using the product.
If a sale does not transpire, thank the prospect for their time and offer to stay in touch for any future requirements. Often times a ‘no’ is more like ‘not just now’.
Track Results To Improve
Successful sales teams repeatedly decipher the results of their processes to improvise. When you regularly measure and strive to improve the results of your B2B sales metrics, then you can improve productivity and overall performance.
We highlight 5 B2B services that hold bright prospects in 2021.
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Also Read | Sales or B2B sales?
B2B Sales Tips
1. Subscribe to your prospect’s content
Does your prospect’s business have a blog, newsletter, or social media feed where content is shared regularly? Follow them and check their updates. This will help you understand their business priorities and how they engage with prospective clients.
2. Reach out to the real decision makers
Most businesses put their assistant managers or purchasing managers on the frontlines to narrow down possibilities — but they aren’t qualified to take any serious decision. That’s why most successful B2B sales-folks skip right over them, and head straight for the real decision-makers.
3. Sell actual business results and outcomes
Businesses are more interested in the results and outcomes your products or services can help them achieve rather than what exactly constitutes your product or service.
In the past, salespeople could close B2B sales by pitching the benefits and features of their products. Not anymore.
4. Be crystal-clear about your value proposition
If you’ve a high investment product to sell, then be prepared to articulate your value proposition clearly. Many B2B sales don’t reach fruition because the salesperson failed to clarify what sets them apart from the competition.
In B2B sales you have to be able to articulate the value being offered to potential clients. Any prospect you engage with should be able to understand the solution you are offering and what it intends to solve.
A value proposition identifies what your prospect’s problems are, and how your offering can help solve it. The most successful B2B sales-folks script and memorize their value propositions and present them in a very convincing fashion.
5. Get face to face with decision makers
We’ve already talked about selling directly to decision-makers and skipping over executives and purchasing managers. Keep in mind that you should make avenues to talk to decision-makers than spend rounds with those who only scout around and do ground work.
6. Stand behind your premium pricing
Successful and profitable businesses don’t give too much importance to prices if the product solves niggling problems. In fact, they only care more about the value you provide and the results you promise.
7. Dig deep to discover challenges
Take efforts to truly understand what’s going on with your customers and where they stand. What are the key issues they are facing? How much do those challenges cost the business on a monthly basis? Or on a yearly basis?
The answers to these questions will help you decide the kind of B2B selling strategy to be imbibed so as to be lucrative to your clients.
8. Provide options in your B2B proposals
Don’t make the cardinal error of offering only one option in your proposal to B2B prospects. Because then decision-makers are more likely to look around for other options, better prices, and different entities.
Instead always provide two or three different options that vary in price and value. Let them choose the one that fits their budget and the one that addresses their needs the best. You’ll be surprised to see how many go with what you deemed to be priciest.
With an Engineering degree and a Diploma in Management under my belt, I worked for 16+ years in the automotive industry with various manufacturers. But my passion for writing was overwhelming, which I turned into a career. I have been writing for more than 10+ years and mostly in the IT domain. I am sure you will find the 300+ published blogs of mine in here informative, exhaustive and interesting.