B2B sales have seen a significant evolution throughout time, particularly with the advent of the digital age.
Even though direct mail and cold calling are still used today, business practices have significantly altered. Across numerous industries, more businesses are spending money on internal and external B2B sales teams.
More decision-makers and touchpoints than there were just a few years ago are now involved in the B2B sales environment, which is changing with all social media.
Social media has an abundance of data from which users can benefit. That is why your business should be on different social media platforms. To ace your presence, you can use a social media scheduler to post about your business in advance.
Longer sales cycles result from this increasing complexity, which presents new difficulties for all parties involved in B2B sales.
To help you understand how to sell B2B goods and services, we’ll go into great detail about B2B selling in this post, covering various of the best sales tactics and resources.
What Is B2B (Business-To-Business) Sales?
Business-to-business (B2B) sales are when one company sells to another. This can happen in many ways and covers many products and services. For example, a large packaged food company might sell to grocery stores and restaurants that then sell their products to customers. Or, a company that drives software might sell it to other IT consulting company that incorporate it into their systems. B2B sales can happen in many ways, including
- Face-to-face meetings with a customer. This is the most common method for B2B sales and involves meeting with the buyer to discuss their needs and requirements.
- Phone calls. When you call up a potential customer, you’ll want to be prepared for any questions they might have about your product or service before making an appointment for a face-to-face meeting.
- Online chat sessions or email correspondence with customers who may still need to be ready to meet in person but still want more information about what you offer as part of their research process before making a purchasing decision (eCommerce).
What are the Step B2B Sales Process Follows?
Now that you’ve gotten to grips with the fundamentals let’s see how to sell B2B. This process starts from scratch, and if you do every step comprehensively and correctly, you should be able to close with a sale. Best of all, this B2B sales process works for both inside sales and outside sales teams.
Let’s dive in.
Step #1: Create Your Personas
A study found that about 50% of prospects won’t be a good fit. Therefore, you need to know your audience to execute an effective B2B sales strategy. The most effective way to do this is by creating customer personas.
Through research, you can gather insights from real customers to build an accurate picture of your ideal customer. Then, once you’ve created personas, it’ll be much easier to qualify leads.
Remember that with B2B sales, your customer personas should be for decision-makers with the authority and budget to negotiate and close deals with your company.
Step #2: Research
Research the market to gauge demand for your products or services, who your competitors are, and how they’re marketing to prospects. Once you have that information, you’ll need to
- Map out the buyer journey.
In the simplest terms, the buyer journey includes three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. But in B2B sales, you may need to break down each stage further. For example, buyers in the decision stage might still be comparing pricing options or be ready to start a free trial.
- Establish lead qualification criteria.
Almost 80% of leads never turn into sales. This is because it takes time to build trust and for people to move through the B2B journey. But you can improve your B2B conversion rates with a structured approach to analyzing your leads. Classify your prospects by how willing and ready they are to purchase by considering the following: need, interest, budget, timing, and role. Every high-growth B2B company needs an effective sales process and sales funnel planning. Without it, all your best-laid plans and marketing funnels will count for little.
Step #3: Prospect With ICP Data
Based on personal information and market research, you can develop an ICP that helps you know which businesses to target.
A sales rep could use a sales intelligence tool to map a target geographic location, filter by prospects in that area using different persona data points, and then export the finished list and import it into their lead management tool.
Step #4: Make Initial Contact
After prospecting, you can approach potential buyers to introduce yourself and start building a relationship. Traditionally, this may have been done with a cold call to follow up after a brochure had been mailed.
Rapid advancements in automation technology have transformed sales and marketing processes in a big way. This is good news for B2B companies and also for customers.
You can use data analytics to check open email rates, video views, and website visits. Then, you can tailor your approach to get in touch with prospects that seem most interested.
This initial contact lets you learn more about each prospect and puts your brand top-of-mind with potential B2B customers.
Step #5: Assess & Qualify Your Prospects
Studies shows that while most B2B marketers send all their leads directly to the sales team, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. In fact, 93% of consumers turn to ugc reviews and recommendations before making their purchase decisions.While technology certainly improves the chances of success, it’s by no means guaranteed. Therefore, before you move forward with prospects, you must confirm they are viable leads.
An effective way of doing this is by using the Sandler Pain Funnel. This strategic series of questions helps you discover your prospect’s actual needs. It goes beyond the pain point to reveal whether they have the budget and the decision-making authority to do business with you.
Step #6: Pitch
Today, you can make pitches through video content, such as a webinar, live video conference, or even a private video meeting.
The latter is best for maximum personalization. Indeed, it’s best to tailor the pitch for every single prospect and, if possible, do it in person. If your product is quite technical, you can bring an engineer to the meeting to field any technical questions.
In any case, the pitch is sure to be a time-consuming process. It requires considerable effort and planning, as it’s such a crucial stage in the B2B sales process. On the upside, you’ll only be doing pitches for prospects that have already been qualified.
Step #7: Respond
It’s easy to think the B2B sales process is all about selling. However, listening to your prospects is an integral part of the process. Act as a guide, simply steering the conversation and letting the prospect fill in the gaps. Ideally, you should only do around 30% of the talking. This makes people feel like they are being heard and understood.
Another technique is to teach rather than sell. You’ll quickly earn people’s trust by offering advice to help someone improve their business without expecting a sale.
Learning to adapt your sales process in this way takes a little practice. However, you’ll forge stronger relationships with prospects when you get it right.
Step #8: Follow Up
Research from Forrester found that 59% of B2B customers would rather not interact with salespeople.
For B2B sales professionals or people in the trade business, that poses a dilemma: Should you follow up?
The answer is yes. That being said, timing matters.
Follow up too soon or too often, or else you may annoy your prospect and lose the sale. On the other hand, if you’re too carefree, you will only close a few deals.
Following up requires a delicate balance of personalization, persistence, and perception. First, you must understand how your prospects like to be approached and what they may be worried about.
By putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes, you can understand their mindset, needs, and concerns.
Step #9: Close
The final step in your B2B sales funnels is the close. This is often seen as the most challenging stage of B2B selling. However, if you have completed the rest of the B2B sales process correctly, your close should come quickly.
When you get this far, your prospects should be ready to purchase. However, if you get the sense that they’re still hesitant, let’s discuss their concerns again to address any outstanding issues.
Ultimately, if you and the prospect are aligned, the sale is much more likely. Some prospects may need a little more time, so the deal isn’t always dead if you don’t get it the first time.
Costly B2B Selling Mistakes To Avoid
You’ve probably heard the expression, “slow and steady wins the race.” While this is true in many situations, you should be bold and hustle if your competition is already doing so. In reality, it’s often better to be first rather than last when selling B2B products or services. However, some mistakes can cause any seller trying to outpace the competition to fall flat on their face—and these mistakes aren’t always obvious at first glance. So we’ve compiled a list of costly things not to do if you want your business’ sales team (or yourself) to thrive:
Not looking at the bigger picture.
You need to see the bigger picture. Your customer has a problem that needs solving; you’re the person (or team) with the solution. The customer’s situation is particular, but consider how your product or service could help them solve it efficiently before getting stuck in those details.
You also need to consider what your competition is doing and how their services and products compare to yours. How do their offerings look from your customer’s point of view? How does this affect how they feel about you as a brand? Does anything make anyone stand out as superior?
Overlooking the customer’s experience.
Customer experience is critical. Customers are increasingly looking for a better experience and are willing to go elsewhere to get it. Why? Because they know that the customer experience is the new marketing, branding, and sales combined.
Suppose you want to win business in today’s economy. In that case, whether you’re a small business owner or a seasoned B2B sales executive—you need to understand what your customers think and feel when interacting with your company. What is the best way to do that? Investigate their journey before asking them anything else about themselves or their businesses!
Out-of-the-box solutions to non-standard problems.
The first thing to do is to get your hands on the right information. You need to know your problem and who has dealt with it before. Then, you must be willing to ask for help from someone who has experience solving a similar issue. If you want to get an answer, or if there’s no one available in person, then look online for people that have dealt with the same problem as you and see if they have any advice or resources that might be useful. Don’t go it alone: Don’t try to be a hero!
Not understanding your client’s needs.
In the B2B selling world, more is needed to know what you’re selling. But first, you must understand why and how your client will use it.
To get this, you need to do more than listen: you need to ask questions. For example, questions like “What is your biggest challenge right now?” or “How are you currently solving that problem?” And then follow up with other questions about their challenges and solutions, including those related to their industry and competitors and their future goals.
As you can see, the world of B2B sales is changing. This isn’t a bad thing! Salespeople have always had to adapt to new technology and ways of doing things. The challenge is keeping up with all these changes while still putting your customers first. Plenty of online resources can help guide you if you need help figuring out where to start. We hope this article gave some valuable tips on approaching your next sale! Remember that your customers are essential to any sale, and it’s vital to understand their needs. Remember to ask questions and listen closely to what they’re saying! If you’ve done your research beforehand, you’ll be able to quickly get on the same page with them and start building a rapport.
So, there you have the ultimate guide to B2B sales. Now that you know how to sell B2B, and between the steps, strategies, and tools, you have everything you need to start with B2B selling. The time for talking is done.