Sometimes it takes a bit of time to really adjust to the constantly changing B2B prospects that are buying. People want to learn but they aren’t necessarily ready to hear a pitch. A great way to do this is to give them some consulting. All the while, creating a better B2B sales experience.

You need to understand your buyer if you’re going to make a good sale. This is because people are very different now than they have been throughout history, and it’s important to accommodate the changing personalities of people when you’re making a sales approach.

There are a few tips that you can integrate into your sales approach that will probably help you make the sale that you’re looking for. Hopefully the following information will help you make the sale that you need.

B2B sales vs B2C sales

There are substantial differences between B2B and B2C sales that need to be taken into account when defining a sales process.

Audience

One of the major differences is the audience. In B2B sales, you’ll be trying to sell your product or service to an educated buyer such as a business owner, a purchasing manager, or an executive.

This makes the entire process inherently more complex. 

A B2B sales process will usually have more steps, conditions, and requirements compared to a B2C sales process.

Market size

The potential market that you can sell your offering to will be much narrower in B2B. 

This is easy to understand: it’s obvious that there will be a relatively small number of companies interested in your niche software solution compared to the number of consumers interested in the latest affordable electronic gadget.

With B2C, you might be targeting millions of consumers. A B2B business, on the other hand, might only be targeting 500 or so companies.

Sales cycle length

The B2B sales cycle is almost always longer than an average B2C sales cycle. It usually involves multiple calls, meetings, and presentations.

While B2C customers often make their purchasing decisions in the spur of the moment, B2B buyers could take as much as a year to make a decision to purchase a product or service.

Repeat business vs. one-time sales

In B2B sales, you’ll be looking to generate repeat business. This will involve building ongoing relationships with customers so that you’ll be able to sell to them again and again.

With B2C, on the other hand, you’ll be dealing with consumers who are often fickle and frequently make purchases on a whim. Building an ongoing relationship with consumers will often be difficult, and sometimes even impossible.

It also won’t be as profitable as it is in B2B sales.

1. Measure and track the performance of your sales process

To be able to refine and optimize your sales process, you’ll first need to understand how it’s performing at the moment. To do this, you need a way to measure and track performance.

Measuring and tracking the performance of your sales process will enable you to make informed decisions instead of having to rely on instinct.

Identify your main KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and find a way to automatically collect data on them so that you team doesn’t have to waste time on doing manual tracking and data entry.

2. Analyze your sales process

Before you can refine it, you first need to analyze your current sales process. This will allow you to understand what’s been working so far, as well as what hasn’t, so that you can optimize your sales process effectively.

Look at the deals your team has closed and analyze how much time it took to close each deal, as well as what needed to be done to close it. This will enable you to define specific actions that are crucial for moving prospects through your sales funnel.

3. Map out your customer journey

You’ll also want to map out the customer journey for each of your target personas to understand how prospects see your sales process, as well as what issues they might encounter along their way to making a purchase.

By having a clear idea of the customer journey, you’ll be able to change your sales process in such a away as to assure that your reps have everything they need to help prospects and close more sales.

4. Identify potential bottlenecks

The next step will involve looking at your entire sales process and identifying potential bottlenecks and leaks that might be preventing you from making more sales and generating more revenue.

Once you identify these, address them by either fixing or improving the problematic parts of your sales process.

5. Define exit criteria for every stage in your sales process

After mapping out the customer journey, you’ll want to define all the events that need to occur for prospects to move from one stage of the sales process to the next.

Once you define these, make sure to give your reps everything they need to be able to move prospects through the stages of your sales process, including product information, objection handling advice, and supporting resources and content.

6. Find ways to shorten your sales cycle

If you want to improve your sales process and generate more sales, it’s crucial that you work on shortening your sales cycle.

Try to minimize lag time and back-and-forth between reps and prospects, and look for alternative ways of closing deals faster in order to shorten the sales cycle.

7. Perform extensive research

Research is one of the most important B2B sales skills. It’s also the main thing you need to do before jumping on a lead.

All sorts of things should be researched before you jump into your sales approach. The following are just a few of the (firmographic) basics that you will want to know before you get into your sales approach.

  • Who is the company?
  • How large is the company?
  • What are their needs?
  • How can you answer these needs?

B2B Sales Experience

(Source)

You can start researching a lead even as they call you on the phone. Detective work is key. It’s harder than ever before to reach an actual prospect, but fortunately, it’s a lot easier to actually research one than it’s ever been before.

Research is also the preliminary factor that’s necessary for the next few steps.

8. Ask Questions

Ask questions in B2B sales processSource: unsplash.com

It’s quite simple to see how research is important for this step. The more you know about a prospect, the more information you get, and the more questions you can ask. The more questions that you can ask, the more you’ll be able to help them, and they will set you far and above the rest of the competition.

The goal here is to ask open ended questions that will teach you about the company you are working with. Rather than asking yes or no questions, try some of the following:

  • Who does your company seek to serve?
  • What are your company’s goals?
  • When did your company start?
  • Where is your company located?
  • How can we help you serve your customers better?

The point here is to promote conversation and make the company you are working with feel like you are invested in them rather than just using them for a sale.

Remember: start off general and then get more specific with your questions — build on the responses they give you. Odds are, you’ll get a little more insight than your initial research offered.

9. Listen

Listen to prospectsSource: unsplash.com

While there are many different B2B sales strategies and tactics you can implement into your process, sometimes the best approach is to simply listen to your prospect.

What’s the point in asking a question if you’re not going to listen to the answer? Don’t get impatient and wait to ask your next question — pay honest attention to the answer that you’re being given.

If you don’t, you won’t be able to absorb the information that you’re being given which you could use later to help further your B2B sales process.

What you are really listening for is details about their company that you can use. For example, if they say they provide a certain service to their customers, use that again; say something along the line of “Our company can help you do that by {how your company’s product/service can help}.”

Relate everything you say back to them and make them feel like your sales pitch is for them, not just a practiced script.

The best way to prove that you’ve listened is to repeat what you’ve heard. This will help both you and the buyer know that you’re doing a good job listening.

10. Instruct

Teaching new information is the new kind of sales pitch. While you pay attention to the potential buyer and begin to hear what they’re interested in, you begin to experience opportunities to teach them about things that they’re generally interested in.

This helps your B2B sales leads to know what they want and what they don’t want. This will also help you further flesh out what you can offer them and will help direct the conversation in a good way for both of you.

All in all, you should aim to do only about 30% of the talking — let the company you are selling to drive the conversation; you’ll be surprised at how successful the results can be.

11. Expect Challenges

Even when you’re asking a fairly routine set of questions, sometimes you can get hit with a surprise answer. Be prepared for challenges when you’re speaking to a buyer because you need to make sure that you’re on your feet.

Be prepared for challenges when you’re speaking to a buyer because you need to make sure that you’re on your feet. Click To Tweet

If they throw a curveball, make sure that you maintain interest in them.

12. Be Humble

One thing that people don’t like is having a pitch shoved down their throat. For this reason, it’s important to remember to be humble.

If you act like you care more about the sale you are trying to make than the company you are selling to, you quickly adopt a mindset of “there will always be another buyer.”

However, you should remember that when you do this, you may have the option of finding another buyer but your customer company will also have the option of finding another seller.

13. Plan

Plan B2B callSource: unsplash.com

What do you know about the prospect? What questions can you plan out? When during the conversation should you drop these questions?

Planning ahead is a great way to help you prepare for a conversation and can help you make sure that you’re always in control of the conversation.

14. Stop “Always Closing”

b2b sales experience

The strategy of “always be closing” is getting pretty old and doesn’t really fit in today’s society anymore. People don’t like being pressured, especially not near the beginning of a conversation.

This means that you should always be receptive. Your goal here is to find out what their goal is, and to figure out ways that your product can solve their problems.

You can’t do this if you start trying to close right away, pushing a product’s benefits on someone who may not have any need for the particular benefits you’re describing.

15. Give More

Just like anywhere in life, it’s important to give more than you receive. There are a few ways that this can be applied in business.

First off, try to make sure you give more of your time — spend a lot more time listening than you do talking. This shows that you’re genuinely interested, willing to make sacrifices, and looking out for the buyer.

Spend a lot more time listening than you do talking. Click To Tweet

Not only that, but customers will be much more loyal once they recognize that you are a generous individual. This will help build your brand name and will also improve other areas of your life, such as your personal relationships.

16. Practice

No amount of learning about B2B sales techniques will help you improve if you don’t practice.

While it’s good to be able to think on your feet, it’s even better to have a relatively well-practiced sales script. However, one sales script doesn’t make a B2B sales experience — it’s important to recognize how different people are, and recognize the futility of vomiting a single script at strangers.

However, your script should cover the following points:

  • Greeting
  • Introduction
  • Branding
  • Purpose
  • Gather their contact information
  • Closing

Have several scripts practiced, or several dozen. This way you’ll be prepared for all sorts of situations and ready to answer a wide variety of questions. The more you sell, the more you know what to practice. However, you can start practicing with the basic skeleton of a script that we have provided below:

“Hi, my name is {your name} with {your company}. I would like to speak to the Marketing Manager about {what your company is offering them}.”

From there, you will either be transferred to speak to the person in charge of marketing or you will be told they are unavailable.

Upon getting in contact with the Marketing Manager of the company, you will want to explain what your company is offering them in more detail, using everything that this article has taught you thus far. It’s hard to give an exact script for this as it should be tailored to your specific company.

If they are interested, make sure to get their contact information at the end of the call.

If the Marketing Manager is unavailable, though, you will want to gather their contact information from the person that you are speaking to. The following questions should cover your bases.

  • What is their first and last name?
  • May I have their email address?
  • What is their full job title so I can address them as such?
  • And is your company still located at {their address} (if the answer is no, collect the correct address)

You can close the conversation with something as simple as:

“Thank you for your time and have a nice day!”

B2B sales mistakes you need to avoid

Before we wrap up this guide, it’s important that we discuss a number of sales mistakes you need to avoid if you want to be successful at B2B sales. 

These include failing to control the sales process, not focusing on the needs of your prospects, not trying to build relationships, and failing to follow up.

Failing to control the sales process

You’ll never hear prospects saying they’re ready to purchase without being asked about it.

While it might seem obvious that you need to ask for the sale, there’s plenty of sales reps who fail to do so.

Never assume that the prospects know what the next step should be. You need to guide them through the sales process and into making a purchase.

Additionally, you should strive to be in continuous contact with prospects to reduce the chances of them opting to do business with a competitor.

Not focusing on the needs of your prospects

Sales reps often get so caught up in thinking about their product or making the sale that they don’t put in enough effort to understand prospects’ true needs, challenges, and pain points.

Prospects don’t want to hear about all your product’s features, they want to know how you can help them solve their issues.

Instead of trying to push your product, find out what problem prospects are trying to solve, what expectations they have from a potential solution, the budget and timeline they’re working with, as well as who makes the final decision about making a purchase at their company.

Not trying to build relationships

If you’re in B2B, you’ll be looking to generate repeat business more often than not. This makes it crucial that you work on building relationships with prospects, rather than trying to make a sale at any cost.

Engage your prospects and have meaningful conversations with them, genuinely trying to help them and their company.

Don’t take your prospects or your current customers for granted. Continuously work on developing more meaningful relationships with them so that they keep doing business with you for a long time.

Failing to follow up

Prospects often need time to think your offer through, analyze terms and conditions, as well as compare different offers before they can make a final decision. While you should give them time to think, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow up with them.

In fact, following up with prospects should be a priority. With 80% of sales being made after five follow-ups, it’s crucial that you follow up with prospects if you want to be successful at B2B sales.

If a prospect has expressed interest in what you’re selling, keep following up with them until you close the sale or get a clear “No” from them.

Editors Note:

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Steven Sanders
About Author: Steven Sanders
Steven is a writer, and blogger at Contentblossom. He lives in Los Angeles, California and enjoys spending time with his family and on his motorcycle when not writing. He can be reached at oneroadtorecovery@gmail.com