Business to Business Sales
Strategies & Tactics for 2020
You’ve probably encountered the acronym “B2B” countless times in your sales career. On the off-chance that you aren’t familiar with the lingo, B2B refers to business to business sales or, in other words, the selling of goods or services to other businesses instead of consumers.
B2B sales are often more complex than B2C (“business to consumer sales”) because they involve selling to trained white collar professionals or decision-makers who themselves are familiar with business sales processes. For this reason, B2B salespeople have to abide by a different set of rules and follow separate strategies than their B2C colleagues.
The truth is that B2B sales are only going to grow in the years ahead, with B2B ecommerce estimated to eclipse a whopping $1.8 trillion in volume by 2023. This is just one reason why it’s so important that you brush up on your business to business sales game. Below, we’ve listed a handful of tried-and-true methods to do just that.
Winning Tactics for B2B Sales Success
Sales directors and managers devise sales strategies for the business sales team to carry out at the tactical level. Here are some of our top tips to take your B2B sales game to the next level this year.
Subscribe and Engage With Your Prospects’ Content
It’s not enough to produce your own content for your social media or website. To generate traction with other business leaders, you need to engage with their content.
Subscribe to newsletters and blogs produced by prospects within your industry or niche, and regularly leave feedback or comments on their posts. The more you do this, the more your name will be recognized by more business buyers.
Modernize Your Social Media Game
If you’re using your lone Facebook account to only post photos of your summer vacation, you’re clearly not utilizing social media to its fullest potential. Instead, you should be active across various channels including Twitter and Instagram to build connections, generate prospects, and forge lasting brand awareness.
However, there’s one social media platform that trumps all others when it comes to B2B marketing and sales: LinkedIn. This professional networking tool, which was purchased by Microsoft for over $26 billion in 2016, is the most widely used social platform for those working in the B2B market.
In fact, 94% of B2B marketing survey respondents claim they use LinkedIn for professional content distribution.
Take a Consultative Approach
Making a hard sell or pushing for a rushed, borderline deal can work against you by jeopardizing the rapport you share with your prospect or client. Instead, take the consultative approach to B2B sales by taking on a more advisory role.
Rather than aggressively pushing your product to make a quick sale, consult with your prospect about what their unique needs are and how various products or services may or may not suit their needs.
A successful sales process is an honest one. If you’re transparent with your prospect and willing to share relevant information that may not directly help you, it’ll build trust and rapport with your prospect. Over time, this will lead to more long-term sales opportunities than a rushed, one-off deal that leaves a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Difficult Questions
Sensitive issues are bound to pop up here and there when sales representatives sell to business buyers. However, you don’t have to let competing interests or small disagreements get in the way of a fruitful long-term partnership.
It’s best not to let these points of conflict simmer in the background. Instead, bring them up early down the line and initiate a constructive dialogue about it.
Even though these conflict points may derail the relationship, it’s better to have this happen early on in the business to business sales process than after investing weeks or even months in sales experience.
Don’t Sell the Price, Sell the ROI
In business sales, the price isn’t everything. Instead of fixating on the price of your product or service and how you might be able to undercut your competitors’ prices, focus on the value you return for their money.
Especially for small business B2B sales tactics, it’s important that you articulate to your prospects how your product will save them time and stress and other resources.
No matter what kind of sales you do, responding to clients and prospects in a timely manner is an important habit for sales reps. Although individual business models vary, most business buyers operate on tight deadlines and schedules.
Punctuality and timely responses to phone calls, emails, and direct messages sends a clear signal that you take your client’s business seriously and appreciate their time.
Collaborate With Marketing
Your marketing department is your sidekick, and it’s your responsibility to work with them to get your message straight.
Sit down with your marketing team at least once or twice every month to organize your sales funnel, qualify leads, and align the message sent to consumers across both departments.
Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
With an abundance of intuitive CRM software applications available on the market, there’s no longer any excuse not to use CRM to develop prospect and customer relationships.
A savvy salesperson should utilize CRM software as a sales tool by tracking customer objectives, recording conversations, identifying new sales opportunities, and much more.
A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of B2B sales companies who utilize mobile CRM tools achieve their annual sales quotas. On the other hand, only 22% of companies without CRM tools achieve their sales quotas.
Therefore, it’s clear that CRM apps are important pieces of sales technology that can improve your selling process.
Brush Up On Your Web Presence
Your social media presence alone isn’t enough to satisfy your prospect’s curiosity. You should go a step further by setting up a simple-to-use website to highlight your product or your professional sales resume.
Having an attractive and easy-to-use website is a key feature for B2B businesses, as over 70% of B2B business leaders claim that their website ranks among their most valuable selling assets.
Landing a B2B Sale in 2020
A B2B business entity operates differently than a consumer-facing one. When selling to businesses, you’ve got to be prepared to nurture every sale to develop long-term relationships.
B2B companies often have fewer total customers than B2C companies, which makes every customer or prospect interaction that much more crucial for your bottom line.
Landing a B2B sales requires a higher level of professionalism than a standard consumer sale. Business buyers are highly trained and do significant research before meeting with a buyer or scheduling a phone call. Therefore, it’s important not to rush a close or finish a deal in a single phone call because your buyer needs time to weigh their options.
Instead, it’s incumbent on the seller to cultivate trust and respect from their buyer. The most respected B2B salespeople exercise patience to earn the trust of their buyers and are always looking to move the conversation to the next call or the next meeting.
Playing the long game, exercising humility, being honest, and working hard by picking up the phone more other than your competitors are the keys to landing B2B sales.
How Have B2B Sales Changed?
There’s no denying that business to business sales have changed over the years. Gone are the days when sales professionals could control the narrative over their product.
With the advent of social media and unbounded access to information, it’s never been easier for your prospects or leads to research your product and pick out flaws or vulnerabilities.
Recent research shows that 57% of a client’s purchasing decisions are made before they ever pick up the phone or talk to a supplier. In other words, they’ve done their homework and know their plan of action.
Since your prospects are in control, it’s important that you tailor the sales experience to maximize rapport and trust with them. There’s no use in withholding information that might benefit your prospect or rushing to close a deal with a less-than-ideal candidate for your product.
Be upfront about the vulnerabilities of your product while also communicating why it still provides excellent value for their needs.
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to B2B Sales
Although the tactics and habits listed above can help you make the most of your B2B sales leads, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to success.
To optimize your B2B sales, you’ve got to be willing to get creative and experiment with different tactics to see what works in your industry. If a tactic isn’t working in your favor, don’t stay wedded to it—instead, pass on it and try something new.
Mastery of B2B sales is more of an art than a science. Experimenting with new selling processes, habits, and tactics will eventually reveal what works best with you.
The key to success is to maintain a successful B2B sales strategy once you’ve found one while also being willing to adapt to new technological and social changes over time.