Sales is sales, right?
No matter what industry or field you’re in, the objective is to close the deal and convert your prospect customer into a paying client. You may have initially have thought that there’s very little difference between B2B and B2C sales – until you inevitably find out otherwise. And if you’re just learning the ropes of running a B2B company, these realizations can easily spell out a lot of wasted effort and accumulated frustration.
Simply put, you can’t approach B2B sales the same way you would B2C. For one thing, you’ll discover early on that the tactics normally practiced in a B2C setting may not really be applicable in your business. Or if they are, you have to tweak these sales strategies to tailor to your specific needs.
Here are some approaches to help you grow the sales of your B2B.
- Put more importance on proper research rather than cold calls.
It can be quite tempting to forego putting in the time to actually do proper research and just go with the classic cold calling in the hopes of nailing down a few good contracts. A word of advice: don’t. This is not to say that you’ll completely disregard the merit of considering cold calling; it’s just that for B2B, it’s more important to do due diligence and conduct your research if you really want to be deliberate in setting targets and following through.
Here’s the thing: cold calling was a popular tactic for B2B before. This was way back when getting information on clients was much harder to do. But now that you have relatively easy access on pertinent details about a lead, there’s no reason why you can’t look up how likely they are to actually be converted to a confirmed sale. This means checking for their profitability and finding out if and how your business can best serve the needs of their industry.
Particularly if you’re a small business owner, remember that your most precious resource is your time – and you haven’t got a lot of it to spare. So it just makes sense to identify tangible reasons for setting an appointment with your prospects and prioritize the clients you meet. This would mean the difference between a thriving business and a fledging sales account.
- Search for ways to qualify your leads.
Once you have your list of sales leads set neatly in place, it’s time to go deeper and engage with your prospect clients – which may entail more detailed research down the line. If you’ve done your initial research well enough, then at this point you already know you can support their business and you’ve confirmed that they have the capacity to pay for your products and services.
Next is to study the potential client’s business close up in order for you to determine how you can help them exactly. This means identifying the specific goals of the business; helping them draft a plan to reach their target milestones; pointing out challenges they may encounter along the way; and working with them on a feasible timeline. Of course, that being said, you should also be able to come up with a workable budget for them; get to know the people who make the purchasing decisions; and propose a viable solution to their problem.
That’s quite a list of things to do, yes, but it’s worth taking note that B2B is a long-term business relationship. You really have to invest a lot of time in it to see results.
- Know the difference between being assertive and being aggressive.
There’s a line that separates doing your best and trying too hard – don’t cross it. According to Accenture research, 71 percent of buyers in a B2B setup conduct their independent research before getting in touch with the sales representative of a company. This means that your potential client already has information about you before they sent you that email, or placed that call. You’re not going to increase your chances of getting the contract by being too pushy about it.
So what you do you instead? Differentiate yourself in the industry. Establish yourself as a reputable and noteworthy expert in your field. And when they get in touch with you, make a compelling value proposition. This is where qualifying your leads comes in.
- Remember that it’s all about relationships.
Just because you’re in B2B doesn’t mean you’re not dealing with people – of course you are. Sure you need to present a workable solution to their problem, but it would likewise go a long way if you do so with personal touches and positive impressions. This can be asking them general questions outside of work and showing genuine interest in their reply. It can be sharing light anecdotes about yourself or maybe making recommendations about new restaurants or trendy coffee shops in town. It may not be much – and won’t definitely involve research – but these little things tend to add up and show your prospect clients that you really care about them and you don’t regard them merely as an account in your company ledger.
If you want to pull off successful deals, you’ve got to be willing to invest in the time and effort it requires to gain the trust of your prospect clients. You may not be able to see success right away, especially in your first few tries, but like most things in business, it takes considerable time to fine tune your strategies. Give yourself the leeway you need so you don’t get easily frustrated, and remember that the best salespeople in B2B get to know their potential customer’s personality as much as they learn about the business. In the end, it definitely pays off in the form of closed deals.
What sales strategies have you implemented for your B2B company? Is there any tactic that you find extremely useful particularly for B2B? Share us your experiences, insights, and challenges in the comments.