Everyone that is in business-to-business knows that selling in the B2B space is not a walk in the park. It is a competitive landscape where every potential lead needs to be approached carefully and in a very different manner than in B2C sales.
Driving B2B sales is not just about putting out your marketing pitch and hope that other businesses will approach you. You need to be proactive and make businesses believe that they’ll have the right partner if they decide to collaborate with you.
When done properly, B2B sales can be extremely fruitful for your business growth. To help you achieve that, we talked with some of the most renowned real-world B2B sales experts to discuss their sales routines and selling tips that you can use to drive more B2B sales for your company.
Tommy McNulty, VP, Sales & Customer Success of Fundera
To close more B2B deals, you must have a clean cut value pitch for customers, which highlights why your product or service would empower them. Customers don’t want to feel that they’re being sold to so you should fully understand their particular use case before hopping on a call or meeting with them.
Do a comprehensive diagnosis of a potential customer’s needs and be prepared to explain how you can help them solve a problem. When you follow up with a potential customer, follow up with purpose, offering even more value the second time while remembering the value of their time.
Don’t drive urgency in the second call or meeting by dropping the price but by highlighting the value you can provide based on what’s happening in the market. For example, at Fundera, a small business funding marketplace, we are always cognizant of changing Federal Reserve interest rates and upcoming rate changes by lenders.
Sales managers can ensure account executives and sales development representatives are on pace to close deals with a sales scorecard, which will set daily goals like the number of calls, demos, and meetings scheduled. Reliable data infrastructure and metrics that are tracked in real time are essential for a scorecard to be well-maintained.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls
I started a global branding and marketing company 17 years ago and Thought Leadership is a great way to build your brand, increase visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more B2B customers.
Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building the following on social media all contribute to increasing awareness with potential customers and building credibility with a larger community.
Before trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you.
Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts. Optimize your website to make it easy for people to find you too.
Start small and build as you go. For me, I started speaking at local events and then submitted proposals to speak at industry conferences and trade shows nationally and eventually global events too. Same advice goes for writing start with small publications then move up the food chain to reach bigger audiences.
These ideas do not require big budgets but they do take time. It is a smart investment to get this right. When social media goes poorly the results can be costly. Authenticity is the key, it has to be and feel real for it to work I think.
Jimmy Rodriguez, COO & Co-founder of 3dcart
Research and Familiarize Yourself with the Business
Regardless of the industry of the client, you’re targetting, research the company and services they offer as the first step of the process. Find ways to engage with any team members of the company, not just decision makers. Subscribe for their blog, follow them in social media, download content, and try their service if they offer a free trial.
Better you understand how the company operates and their vision, will help you build value in your interactions and get some key players within the company to help you present your services.
Brian Carter, CEO of The Brian Carter Group
Aside from all the usual suspects including CRM’s, lead scoring, deal monitoring and gamification and reward systems, one opportunity I see a lot of companies missing is pinpoint ad targeting to ensure sales prospects and decision-influencers are aware, informed and persuaded by sales and marketing content and messaging.
B2B sales cycles can be long, so there’s a great danger of being ignored and forgotten during that time. It’s possible to not get all your persuasion points across in the process, if prospects are too reticent to meet and, regardless, prospects may need to be reminded of them at some point in the sales cycle.
We recommend that B2B sales teams make sure they have search and social advertising in place to frequently and consistently reach their prospects with key messaging and content. This targeting can be to specific companies, to email addresses, or to retargeting audiences based on visits to your website.
Since not everyone sees or opens all their email- in fact, up to 98% of people won’t opt into email and roughly 80% don’t open their emails even after they opt-in using retargeting helps ensure that you can continue to influence prospects, as well as influence those who affect their decision-making throughout the sales process.
Byron Matthews, CEO of Miller Heiman Group
Buyers are getting better at buying faster than sellers are getting better at selling. This behavior is driven by technology and the increasing availability of information. As a result, we’re seeing buyers that are hardwired to turn to technology before humans to solve problems.
The future of sales relies on the sellers’ ability to adapt to these digitally-native buyers. In order to successfully sell to the new generation of buyers, current and future sellers will need real-time insights into deals and methodology to get ahead of opportunities and change outcomes before it’s too late to make a difference.
The only way to accomplish this is by leveraging CRM – but not the current version. CRM needs to be reinvented to actually support, train and coach sellers through the modern buying process.
Historically, organizations have focused on getting data into the CRM (worrying about analysis later). By providing insights and intelligence through predictive analytics, CRM becomes more sophisticated and useful. When used properly, sales managers can take this data to:
- coach reps on selling strategy;
- identify deals that need their attention;
- and drive methodology adoption on their teams.
Without the backing of a proven sales methodology, CRM is little more than a system of record. It lists past successes and failures but offers nothing in the way of advice when it comes to deals that are still in motion.
Because CRM data is backward-looking, sales teams have come to consider inputting CRM data as busy work, and often save it until the deal has already closed, rather than proactively entering the information in real-time.
Augmenting CRMs with predictive analytics, like Scout, allows sales teams to take that backward-looking CRM data and turn it into forward-looking insights. Remember, the only thing that actually drives sales results is seller behavior, and the only thing that can reliably change seller behavior is a
proven methodology for sellers to follow.
Once you integrate a methodology into your CRM, it will become more than an organizational tool; your CRM will actually help you win more by replicating past patterns of success.
By combining predictive analytics with sales methodology – offering the carrot rather than the stick – sellers buy into keeping their CRM up to date because it finally plays a part in their success.
Together, they can actually show sellers the move that will move the deal forward in real time. The outcome of that buy-in is improved reliability and usability of CRM data for the individual rep and the entire sales organization.
In fact, we found that sales analytics tools can radically enhance many aspects of how sales organizations operate, with many experiencing double-digit increases in their win rates and average deal sizes, plus similar decreases in sell-cycle lengths.
George Schildge, CEO of Matrix Marketing Group
I’ve been either in direct B2B sales or managing the B2B sales team for over 25 years.
Let’s face it not all people in sales are A players. 13% of sales folks are A players according to The Sales Benchmark Index. So there is a lot of room for improvement.
Use these tips to help move into that A player categories:
- Move from giving sales presentations to having a sales conversation. Uncover your prospect’s goal. You must find out from the prospect what goal(s) they are trying to accomplish, the problem they have or need they are trying to satisfy.
- Don’t get caught into offering solutions too early. Ask relevant questions rather than providing your opinions.
- Align the prospects pain points to pain relief or gain. You must paint a story that shows your prospect what life could be by relating product usage vs. the old feature/function approach.
- Finally, know your buyer’s journey, conversion rates, and where to improve bottleneck. This will help you understand where you can compete to win rather than just competing to stay busy. I knew a CFO of a publically traded company. She would take the quarter sales pipeline and divide by 2. That’s a big problem if you want any predictability for the front end of your business.
Bonus Tip: Make your prospecting messaging focused on empowering buyers to achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need. Move away from demos, ABC tactics, and manipulation.
Follow these steps and your sales will grow.
Lyndon Nicholson, CEO of Buffalo 7
Keep Your CTA Short and to the Point
At the end of your presentation/pitch keep your call to action short and to the point. Use just a few words that focus entirely on the action you want your prospect to take. Tell them what to do next in simple terms.
One Thing, Not Many
Providing too much product choice always ends up negatively impacting sales. Similarly, giving your audience too many options for action will muddle your intention and harm the effectiveness of
You can have the best call to action in the world, but some prospects simply need time before they can make the decision to convert. They may need to make reports to their line managers and go through internal channels before they can get clearance. Offering that bit extra can help your prospect make a case internally and encourage them to convert within a small time frame after your presentation (when your messaging is still clear in their minds).
Seb Dean, Imaginaire Digital
When it comes to driving more B2B sales, I’d advise breaking the process down into components:
1. Finding leads
2. Presenting your offering
3. Aftercare to set your company apart
When it comes to finding B2B leads, we’ve always found that inbound leads from SEO, PPC and blogging tend to offer a much higher close rate than leads generated through outbound methods such as telesales. We typically see close rates of close to 50% on inbound leads vs. around 25% on outbound leads. Developing a clear strategy for acquiring inbound leads is probably the easiest way to drive B2B sales.
Presenting your offering should be done professionally and give the customer the impression that your company knows what it’s doing. We find having pre-made forms and brochures goes a long way here, along with transparent pricing that can be itemized.
Once you’ve presented, make sure you send over a detailed quote/proposal and that it’s all designed professionally. An added extra we like to do is to send them some similar case studies that consolidate what we’ve been saying.
Olivia Walls, InTouch Marketing
To be successful in 2018, businesses need to do the following:
1. Recognize That the Power of the Sale Has Shifted to the Buyer
Gone are the days where the salesperson had the power in the relationship. It used to be that salespeople had control over the information, technical specifications, pricing information, implementation instructions and the best practices.
The internet now gives buyers more power at their fingertips than ever before, so they can now do their own research. They don’t need salespeople to find solutions to their problems. Salespeople need to adjust their strategy with this in mind.
2. Embrace Technology and the Opportunity It Offers
Here are some ways to embrace technology:
- Start learning about Inbound Marketing – What it is, how it helps you get found and generate qualified leads.
- Start Using a Marketing and Sales Platform for Automation – We use HubSpot for everything!
- Get Help from Specialists – It takes time and money to keep up with rapid changes in the marketplace. Businesses need to get help from professionals who keep up-to-date on all these changes.
3. Adopt a Helping Attitude
Just because buyers spend a lot of time looking for solutions to their problems, doesn’t mean they don’t need help. So, being helpful without expecting anything in return is a way to get past the walls people put up in dealing with salespeople. Here are some benefits about approaching prospects with a helpful attitude:
- It helps you build trust and rapport with your prospects.
- By asking questions about what they need help with, it helps you qualify if they are your target customer.
- By being positive in your advice and not critical, it is a way for you show that you are caring and knowledgeable.
- Even if it doesn’t work out with them becoming a client, they may refer you to someone else that can use your help.
4. Never Stop Prospecting
Build a sales pipeline. Here are some ways to start an initial lead list:
- Ask your friends and family for referrals
- Ask your customers for references
- Attend networking events
- Do social media prospecting – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or wherever your prospects live
Stanley Tan, Selby’s
Price isn’t the main motivating factor in a B2B purchase.
Most salespeople approach B2B sales like B2C sales.
In B2C sales, customers generally sort by price.
In B2B, price is just important to meet their budget. As long as you meet their budget, you will be okay.
In our industry, what we found to be the most important factor is reliability. The decision maker wants to purchase something that is reliable.
To give you a more specific example, as a printing company, one of our main client segments are marketing agencies who orders a lot of signage for their clients’ events.
The agency is not looking the cheapest signage supplier but a reliable supplier who can guarantee their signage will be there for the event on time.
They will not risk their event not having any signage for a few thousand dollars in savings. As long as the supplier meet their budget, the decision maker is good with that.
Summary, the price is there just to meet their budget. Reliability is a more important factor in the decision-making process.
Steven Benson, Founder & CEO of Badger Maps
To increase B2B sales, you need to optimize your sales process by breaking it down into stages and specific skills. Determine which skills are crucial to the success of your sales team and make a list of those skills. You’ll end up with a few key skills for each stage of your sales cycle. I find that poor prioritization is why a lot of sales processes fall apart.
It’s key to think about each step in your sales process. Think about how many prospects enter the process and how many fail to make it to the next step. If you can get more organizations or decision-makers through the funnel at any stage, they will flow through the rest of the process at the
same rate and your numbers will go up.
Many reps overfocus on the beginning or ending of the sales funnel, which is generating leads and closing. But they lack the patience to nurture a prospect in the mid-funnel and maintain relationships with existing customers at the very bottom of the funnel.
However, there are often big opportunities at those stages which involve customer success. It’s important to focus on that area and work with your customers to make them successful with your product or service.
By focusing on customer success you increase your conversion rate and reduce churn. Your customers will be happier and more successful with your product which might lead to a higher number of referrals as well.
Adnan Raja, Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic.Net
We have created a robust content marketing strategy for our blog, which dates back to 2008. Myself, along with a team of writers that I manage, provide well-researched and thought out blog posts that our audience finds valuable.
We stay on top of trending news, and we try to answer the questions that our readers might have. We go into great detail to provide as much information as possible. Our blog serves as a comprehensive guide to web hosting and all of the complex pieces that comprise it.
Aside from our blog, we create thought leadership pieces for other publications as well. Collaborating with other thought leaders in the industry is extremely beneficial. Establishing a voice in your industry is very important for anyone who wants to continue to grow and expand.
Become an authority that others trust and look up to. Our content marketing strategy drives sales and helps new users find us.
Sarah Kicinski, Chief Marketing Officer of PostcardMania
One of the ways we’ve increased our closing percent with our B2B audience is by removing the salespeople from the first touch to the prospect. When a prospect fills out a request form on our website we used to send it directly to sales and they would contact it within a day or so.
Often times by the time they got back to the person it was too late and the prospect had gone elsewhere. We created a new division of the company whose sole purpose is to reach out to all new leads within 5 minutes of submitting a web form.
They get them on the phone and pass immediately to an available salesperson. We also automated emails to send instantly from the salesperson once the form is submitted so that the prospect can engage with us right away.
So there you have it — B2B sales techniques from 12 real-world B2B sales experts to help you increase your sales.
Have you tried any of these tips? Which ones work for you? Let us know in the comments below.
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