It’s no secret that selling to other businesses is tricky. You simply won’t succeed if you don’t take B2B selling for what it is: a high-stakes selling game that requires an entirely unique approach from direct-to-consumer selling.
Before we dive into the insider tips, let’s get crystal clear on what B2B selling entails.
When done right, B2B sales have the potential to be both extremely lucrative and deeply rewarding. As a B2B sales professional, it is important to develop a sales process that works for your business, prospects, and overall goals. Here are key steps you may want to include in your B2B sales process.
Now let’s walk through what a successful B2B sales process could look like.
Begin the B2B sales process by performing high-level 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 what messaging your prospects are hearing from other sources.
Now that you are clear on who your audience is and how your offering will serve them, it’s time to map out how the customer will purchase your offering. To do this, walk through the steps a potential customer could take to reach your product or service. Typically, prospective customers go through the following stages when making a purchase:
As part of your sales process, you should be able to identify and track where your prospects are in the sales journey. Doing so empowers you to strategize so you can put forth tactics that will meet them where they are in the process. For example, if a company is in the awareness stage of a buying decision, inundating them with pricing or specific offering information wouldn’t be appropriate because they have not indicated wanting to make a purchase to solve the problem yet. They are simply acknowledging that the problem exists.
If you find the 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-stakes in nature, and often entail greater deliberation. When you are able to meet face-to-face (in person, or via video) to answer the customer’s questions, deliver your pitch, and address concerns, you are able to build trust with the customer that can’t always be established over the phone or over email.
As the sale comes to a close, the work is not done. If the end result is a sale, now is the time to facilitate an agreement outlining the terms payment will be exchanged for the product. Additionally, you may want to coordinate with your company’s service organization to ensure the customer has been onboarded and feels supported using your product.
If the end result is not a sale, thank the prospect for their time and offer to stay in touch to support any needs they have in the future. Often times a “no” is simply a “not right now” and you gained valuable insight that will support future sales.
Closed won Opportunities — This metric signifies a successful end in the sales process: when the lead becomes a customer by making a purchase. Tracking how many of your total closed deals result in sales (versus closed lost opportunities — how many closed deals did not result in sales) can help you understand the overall success rate of your sales process.
Does your prospect’s business have a blog, newsletter, or social media feed they regularly share content to? Give them a follow and check out their updates. This will help you understand their business priorities and how they engage with their prospective customers. It will provide valuable insight that will aid the B2B sales process because you can speak to how your offering will help your prospect serve their customers.
Most businesses put their buyers and purchasing managers on the frontlines of buying situations — but they’re not actually qualified to make any buying decisions. That’s why the most successful B2B salespeople skip right over those folks, and straight to the real decision-makers.
Businesses aren’t interested in your product or service. They’re interested in the results and outcomes you can help them achieve.
To learn more, check out this video:
If you’re going to sell to a multi-million dollar business, you’d better be prepared to quickly and clearly articulate your value proposition. Many B2B sales go down the gutter simply because salespeople fail to clarify what sets them apart from the competition — and what value they bring to the businesses who buy from them.
A value proposition identifies what your prospect’s problems are, and how your offering can help you solve their problem. If you serve multiple customer segments that could be looking for solutions to different problems, you should have a value proposition in place for each segment.
The most successful B2B salespeople script and memorize their value propositions, so they can easily rattle them off at any given moment.
The answer is simple: Sell to them in person, whenever humanly possible. Hop on a train, get on a bus, book a flight, drive a few hours. Do whatever you must to get a face-to-face meeting with decision-makers at every business you’re trying to sell to.
Successful, profitable businesses don’t care about your prices — in fact, they only care about the value you provide and the results you help them achieve. If you lower your prices when selling to businesses, you’ll only attract prospects who can’t afford to invest in valuable solutions.
To dramatically improve your B2B sales, stand behind your premium pricing, and watch as you close bigger sales more often — with better prospects.
The answers to these questions can propel your B2B selling strategy to be more lucrative than you can imagine. It’s as simple as that.
Selling to successful businesses is tough. Dealing directly with powerful decision-makers at those businesses is even tougher.
Instead, give each business three options that vary in price and value. Let them choose whichever one fits with their budget and best address their needs. You’ll be surprised by how many go with the priciest option.