There are times in life when it is beneficial to get up, abandon your plans, and simply go with the flow. Making business-to-business sales is not one of them. B2B selling is complex. The stakes are higher, sales cycles are longer, and leads can be hard to come by — and when you do receive a lead, you're dealing with numerous decision-makers when trying to close it. To be successful in B2B sales, you must have a clear strategy and execute it successfully.
B2B buyers are demanding clients because they know exactly what they want and have high expectations of the vendors competing to offer it. Before speaking with salespeople, more than 70% of B2B buyers have a clear vision of what they're searching for. So reserve the spontaneity for date night — when it comes time to engage with your leads, you want to be operating from a defined, trustworthy approach.
What Is a Sales Strategy, and Why Do You Need One?
A sales strategy is a company’s plan to generate income by informing potential consumers about its products and then enticing them to buy. A good strategy is replicable in the sense that if you stick to it, you should continue to make sales to new clients. When sales and marketing work together, they produce the best results, but sales techniques and marketing strategies are extremely different. Marketing is all about increasing potential purchasers' awareness of what you're selling. A sales plan will assist you in convincing a specific buyer to buy the goods you've brought to market.
You'll be able to:
Identify your target demographic.
Make the strongest possible case for your unique selling points using a B2B sales approach that's been tried and developed to yield optimal results.
The ten actions below will assist you in achieving that aim.
Profitable B2B Sales Strategies in 10 Easy Steps
It is critical to examine your B2B sales strategies regularly to grow B2B revenues. This is especially important in light of the recent change to a customer-centric sales approach. As information about products and services becomes more accessible to B2B buyers, they trust internet information and product reviews and less trust in a self-interested sales rep. Instead of focusing on closing agreements, B2B sales representatives must build customer trust.
Generating repeat purchases from current customers
Once you've determined your objectives, you may begin developing the appropriate techniques to achieve them.
2. Decide whether Your Strategy is Inbound or Outbound
Consider a high-end nightclub and a door-to-door salesperson. They're both carrying out sales plans, yet they couldn't be more dissimilar.
The nightclub uses an inbound sales strategy. They're selling themselves in a way that piques their target audience's curiosity and attracts them in. The salesperson has chosen an outbound sales strategy by seeking out new clients and approaching them personally.
Choosing whether to go inbound or outward is determined by your market position and specific business difficulties. When your target audience is actively looking for the answers you're offering, inbound techniques work well. When selling something novel or disruptive, an outbound approach might help you make the case that you have the solution to an issue that your prospects weren't even aware they had.
Some firms will opt for a hybrid strategy, but the best implementations of the subsequent steps will vary substantially depending on which method you emphasize.
Simply put, friendly rivalry between sales and marketing should be avoided – these departments should be all over each other's business. Sales spend the entire day talking to leads about the problems they're having and the product features they'd want to see. They can then share their findings with marketing. Marketing may qualify high-potential prospects for B2B sales to contact and supply them with appropriate content to use.
You are ready to engage in account-based marketing when your company's sales and marketing teams are firmly linked (ABM). This method treats each client account as a separate market. ABM-based B2B sales strategies necessitate individualized messaging and content for each potential customer. It's a time-consuming process, but more than 80% of marketers believe it yields a higher ROI than any other method.
4. Conduct Market Research on Your Potential Customers
It's critical in B2B sales to learn everything you can about the firms you want to sell to, including their business objectives, pain areas, competition, day-to-day activities, and decision-makers. Create a buyer persona based on the information you have available for your salespeople to use. Interviewing existing customers and hearing their stories can assist your B2B sales team in contextualizing buyer personas and develop more effective sales pitches. Researching your market and clients can also assist you in identifying the customers you should avoid targeting. It can save you time and money by not wasting resources and salespeople on leads that are unlikely to convert into buyers.
5. Identify, Qualify, and Nurture Your Leads
Customer research will assist you in identifying the leads worth pursuing, whether through smart marketing campaigns or having your sales force cold-call them. However, before you invest those resources, you must qualify your leads. You can grade them based on a variety of variables. These characteristics could include the organization’s size, how closely they match your desired customer persona, and their purchasing timeline length. It's simple to prioritize your leads once you know how they stack up. Because B2B sales cycles are long, some prospects will have a lot of promise even if they aren't ready to buy right away. You can maintain your leads' attention by knowing where they are in your sales funnel and nurturing them with relevant content.
6. Identify Key Activities
This is the point at which your approach leaves the domain of theory and enters the sphere of practice. Three areas of activity should be prioritized:
Social Media - Buyers will conduct research on you before making a purchase, and one of the first things they will look at is your social media presence. Assure them that they will discover high-quality media, useful resources, in-depth product information, and prompt responses to any interactions they may initiate.
Understanding the Buyer's Journey — Business-to-business purchase choices take time. The questions your buyers will have when narrowing down prospective solutions will differ from their queries when trying to make a final decision. The better you understand their decision-making process, the better you'll be able to move them along the B2B sales funnel by giving relevant information at the right moment.
Developing Customer Relationships - B2B is rarely about making quick sales to people you'll never hear from again. Taking the time to create relationships ensures that the clients you attract are a good fit, will be satisfied with your products, and will refer you to others. Even if leads do not purchase, the efforts you make to establish trust and authority can help to improve your overall reputation.
Many B2B buyers would rather conduct their own research than listen to a sales pitch. To reach these buyers, give substantial, helpful material that addresses their needs and adds actual value. It's usually a good idea to provide evergreen content such as ebooks, whitepapers, and product demos. However, with thorough customer data and insights into their buyer's journey, you can produce personalized content that delivers exactly what they were looking for - and enhances conversions.
8. Obtain the Appropriate Tools for the Job
Without the correct software tools, your sales will not reach their full potential in a digital world. Here are a few of the necessities:
A CRM solution for capturing leads, organizing customer data, and automating sales outreach procedures.
Analytics and reporting systems that extract insights from CRM data and allow you to track sales performance.
Social media management software that allows you to monitor your accounts, listen in on key social conversations, and schedule postings.
A content customization solution based on attribution that tells you where your leads are coming from maps out their customer path and offers customized content. The more these products integrate and enable automation, the easier your job will be.
9. Form a B2B Sales Team and Make a Plan
A sales strategy is required, but it is merely a collection of ideas on paper. It takes a great sales staff to turn those ideas into actual sales and money. Your sales personnel should be product specialists. They must also be equipped with the knowledge and insights gleaned from market research. You must create a B2B sales process to get things started - the particular, repeatable steps your B2B sales team will take to carry out your strategy. Then, make an action plan, assign responsibilities, and monitor how your B2B sales approach works.
10. Take Measurements and Make Adjustments
The measures that characterize your success are determined by your aims. The final step in designing a successful B2B sales strategy is regularly monitoring it, measuring its performance, and making improvements as needed. If some of your approaches or activities aren't producing the desired outcomes, try an alternative strategy.
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A thorough grasp of your market, your clients, and your goals will allow you to develop a successful B2B sales plan that converts. To maximize your approach, you must continually refine it through trial and error, hard-won insights, and the use of the greatest software tools. Closing B2B sales can feel like an uphill battle, but it doesn't have to be. A great sales plan allows you to meet your customers where they are and provide them with the information they require to feel secure in purchasing from you.