Sales drive business, after all, without sales there would be no cash flow. Whether you’re in a B2C or B2B business, the underlying work is still the same- sell something to someone. We all know the old upselling test: “sell me this pen,” but sales have evolved far beyond being able to upsell a product or service.
Sales strategies and teams need to be savvier than ever in order to close the deal. Management should consistently brief sales teams on long and short-term goals as well as brand narrative. Employees need to have a clear understanding of the characteristics of your company before they have any customer contact. Internal marketing is crucial to ensure customers have a seamless experience through ever touchpoint- especially in B2B where the sales process is often longer and more complicated.
Additionally, sales teams should continuously provide feedback to management and marketing regarding customer profiles and which demographic they are having the most success with. Marketing collateral should deliver the same message to customers as the sales team. Marketing to the B2B customer should be personalized and should not ignore the value of content (Gibson, 2015). Essentially sales and marketing should be fully integrated and feed off of each other, which requires both departments to work collaboratively. Marketing’s efforts to bring in leads should be fully integrated with sales’ contacting system. In other words, businesses should implement Hubspot’s idea of “smarketing” - the alignment of sales and marketing through direct and regular communication (Kusinitz, S., n.d.).
Leads should be contacted almost instantaneously. A prospect’s time must be considered a scarce resource and lead response delays cause frustration and can result in lost sales. Salespeople should focus on building trust, being transparent, and selling themselves- especially for B2B and high-risk purchases. Sales reps must position themselves as experts in their field and be knowledgeable not only about the company’s product but about how it can help the customer.
Collaboration is key. Sales teams are teams for a reason. Team members should not be afraid to collaborate, even if it means sharing a commission, in order to close a deal or build a valuable long-term relationship. Also, sales reps should be willing to collaborate with their prospect- listen to what the client really needs from you and find out how you can personalize the sales process to best suit their needs.
It’s important for B2B sales reps to tread the line of persistence and annoyance very lightly. Companies should train reps on how to recognize a lead that is convincible and when to back away. Give prospects enough time to contemplate your offer and follow up a few times. If your calls go unanswered or your emails unread by the third or fourth attempt, recognize it’s time to back away.
Selling, especially business products, really is an art. Marketing and sales strategies should add AND over deliver on value. Managing customer expectations is crucial to this. You never want to disappoint a customer or leave them with post-purchase regret. Managing added value and over delivering on promises will almost always result in customer satisfaction. Managing added value is all about careful hyperbole, and sales reps should be informed on the specifics of what the company can and is willing to offer clients.
Ultimately B2B buyers are concerned with how you can help their business. This means anything you sell to a B2B client should have one consistent theme- results. Sell results. Sell them on why and how your product or service can help their results. Offer them unique selling points- something only you are capable of giving them, something that distinguishes you from your competitor. Present ways in which buying from you will improve their key performance indicators.
Finally, B2B sales teams should ALWAYS focus on negotiating win-win deals. Both parties should walk away feeling like they gained something from the transaction.
Do you have any B2B sales tactics that work for your team? Share them with us by commenting below!
Gibson, M. (2015, November 06). Marketing to the Modern B2B Buyer. Retrieved July 2, 2018, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/marketing-modern-b2b-buyer-michael-gibson/
Kusinitz, S. (n.d.). The Definition of Smarketing [In Under 100 Words]. Retrieved July 2, 2018, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/definition-smarketing-under-100-words