B2B Sales can be tough. On paper, getting leads that turn to sales may seem like an effortless process. But, the reality is often quite different, regardless of whether you are marketing a startup brand or a seasoned organization.
Most times, you will be neck-deep, struggling to get qualified leads for your pipeline to stay healthy. Research has shown that lead generation requires a 117% additional effort than it did in 2007.
These long cycles add to the complexity of B2B sales. On top of it all, you have to keep up with the ever-evolving buyer-seller demands and stay ahead of the game.
Even if you have a fantastic product or service, you need a solid strategy backing it, or you’ll end up frustrated.
What is B2B Sales?
B2B refers to companies that sell products or services to other businesses.
There are two main kinds of sales strategies:
In outbound sales strategies, organizations build their sales strategy on vendor actions.
They depend on manually entered data to analyze the sales pipeline with sales and marketing running independently of each other. This may create a disjointed buyer experience.
On the other hand, inbound sales strategies, which is the more common kind, is founded on buyer actions. Seller and buyer data are automatically captured and used to monitor the sales pipeline. Also, with inbound sales strategies companies align sales and marketing, which creates a seamless buyer experience.
When using inbound sales strategies, sales reps can know when a prospect opens an email and send a perfect follow-up message. Because of an abundance of data, sales reps can close the deals faster when they use an inbound sales strategy.
Here is an infographic showing the difference between the two main types of sales strategies.
B2B Sales Process
B2B buyers are unique because they conduct personal research online before deciding on the best solution.
In fact, about half of B2B brands make up their minds before engaging with a sales rep.
For instance, Google reveals that 90% of business to business researchers seek to find out more about the solutions they need. They usually carry out 12 searches before engaging with their chosen brand.
Based on a Forrester study, 74% of B2B buyers conduct over half of their research on the web before making a purchase offline.
Having that at the back of our mind, let's see the sales process for outbound and inbound sales:
Outbound Sales Process (Initiated by the Brand)
In this stage, the sales rep finds a prospect or potential client. Efficient sales reps ensure that they get the best leads in this stage through qualification methods.
The sales representative reaches out to potential customers via email or calls.
Sales reps can ask customers questions with the goal of understanding their needs and challenges.
Pitching involves the sales rep explaining to the lead how their service/ product can solve problems.
If a lead shows interest in an offer, the sales rep offers a trial, demo, or free consultation to ensure that the client likes the service or product.
Once the customer's mind is made up, the sales rep closes the sale.
Inbound Sales Process (Initiated by Clients)
Let’s have a look at inbound sales process:
The lead becomes conscious of the fact that they have a problem and that they need a solution.
The buyer starts to search for a solution of the problem and explores several options.
The buyer finds the brand’s information relevant to their needs.
The buyer exchanges their email address for quality, in-depth, and authoritative content they find on your website.
The buyer receives emails informing them of the solution. The B2B brand then offers their service or product as and states why they are the best choice.
The buyer then reaches out to the B2B brand for a free trial, consultation, or demo of the service or product.
With the aid of a sales rep, leads make a purchase.
Best B2B Sales Strategies that Drive Growth
The best B2B sales strategies are based on the characteristics of your target audience and should be tailored to their needs.
These are some of the most popular B2B sales strategies:
The Solution Strategy
Social Sale Strategy
Strategic or tactical selling is a sales approach that centers on helping brands get complex deals using a data-driven, scalable approach.
The idea behind this strategy is the identification and acquisition of valuable contacts in the organization you are prospecting. Choosing contacts is based on their level of influence in the company or how their impact would be useful in certain stages of the buying process.
Here is an infographic that highlights the various crucial selling parameters of B2B sales.
For example, if your brand offered management software to another organization, your initial contact would be an HR manager or a team manager.
Once you interact with both the HR manager and a team manager, you will be able to tell who the decision-maker in the company is. You will also know who relays information to the decision-maker with regards to purchasing your product or service.
With such knowledge, you can allocate value to your contacts based on their decision-making capacity. The value allocation will ensure that you focus on connections relevant to your end goal.
The Solution Strategy
The solution strategy focuses on finding the wants, needs, and challenges of your prospect and offering products or services to them based on those needs.
It creates the sales process around the needs of prospects.
This sales strategy is beneficial when you offer custom solutions to your target market. For instance, if your brand provides analytical services, you would first have to find out what kind of data your prospect needs to analyze, and if your services can cover such analysis.
If based on the interaction with your prospect you find that they can benefit from your services, you can recommend your product.
In simple terms, the solution strategy focuses on satisfying the needs of clients.
A recent study by Gartner predicted that 75% of B2B organizations will adopt an account-based strategy as their primary sales tactic.
The account-based strategy is used when you have massive data on your prospective customers that can show what links each of the prospects prospect together. A significant aspect of this strategy involves gathering information on prospects while the other elements deal with offering the solution.
With the account-based sales strategy, you can keep many clients engaged in the sale process without neglecting one or the other. The approach uses buyer personas and value allocation based on the stage of the sale cycle prospects are at.
The buyer personas and value allocation allow you to send clients messages relevant to their current position on the sales cycles. These messages help build quality relationships because prospects know that you understand their prevailing attitude towards your brand.
Social Sale Strategy
Social sales strategy centers on creating brand awareness and building valuable relationships with prospects through social recommendations. You can do this through social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter by sharing relevant content with the aim of engaging prospective buyers or existing clients.
The main aim of the social sales strategy is to gain trust by providing value, and nurture relationships with potential clients that can later result in referrals.
B2B Sales Practices to Avoid
Even though B2B sales are gratifying, a lot of salespeople are unable to get the best out of their sales strategies. A significant reason for this is that their sales practices are highly flawed, and most marketers are unable to identify what is wrong with their sales practice.
It is impossible to offer a solution to your audience for a problem you are oblivious to. This is the situation most salespeople find themselves in. Since their sales strategies are wrong, they often end up losing money and time without achieving anything meaningful.
Let's examine some of the wrong B2B practices that you need to ditch to build a successful sales campaign.
Supplying Single Option Proposals
Giving your prospects a proposal with only one option is disastrous to sales. It robs them of the privilege of making a choice. Single option proposals do not offer context that will enable prospects to look around and decide the actual value of your solution.
Supplying single option proposals is like shoving your option down the throat of your prospects, and this doesn't often end well.
Everyone likes having a choice in whatever decision they are making, and the same applies to your B2B prospects. They want to have different options so that they can decide which one best suits them.
A business should provide proposals that have at least three options - basic, advanced, and premium tiers. When you do this, prospects can go through different tiers and choose which one best meets their needs. This will increase your lead generation rate and increase the sales average volume.
Hastily offering discounts
Have you been wondering why you are not getting leads or sales despite always having exclusive deals and discounts? The answer is, B2B prospects are not impressed by deals and discounts.
Deals and discounts are good for B2C sales campaigns, but not B2B. It's not that you shouldn’t occasionally give discounts or have exclusive deals, but they should be limited.
Don't use discounts and deals to lure prospects. If you do this, you will end up attracting bad prospects that care only about the price instead of the quality of the product or solution.
Most genuine B2B clients care more about value rather than price. So when they see a sales campaign at low prices, they may think that the product or service is substandard.
Instead of offering discounts and deals, channel your energy into drawing the attention of prospects to the value that your brand has to offer. Let them know that you have the premium package they need. Once you do this successfully, you will be able to attract the right kind of customers for both long term and short-term business transactions.
Wooing Only Low-level Buyers
Many B2B sales reps are guilty of making this mistake. It is wrong to aim for only low-level buyers.
Your target should be C-suite prospects. Low-level buyers are more accessible than the big guys, but this shouldn't discourage you.
Dealing with only low-level buyers will restrict your growth, and eventually, it could even cause you to lose out big. Most times, they do not have the available finances to match up with your offer. They will simply say no to you, even if they say yes, their budgets may be screaming "no."
Don't restrict yourself to the low-level buyers; instead, put everything you can into making sure that you also reach the high-level decision-makers. They are the ones that can afford what you have to offer. It may be hard to reach them, but it is worth the try.
Vague Value Proposition
B2B prospects are more interested in the value of what you offer than in any other aspect of your sale.
It is, therefore, important that your value proposition is clear. When a prospect asks what you have to offer, your answer should be as clear as daylight. You shouldn’t give vague responses, because the prospect will assume that you have little or nothing to offer.
Remember, B2B prospects do not have the time to figure out what exactly you mean. If it doesn't make sense to them at first glance, they won't give you a second chance.
Having a clear value proposition will increase the number of leads you generate and will also boost the sales that you make.
Focusing on the Features and Benefits of your Product
Let prospects hear more about how your brand can solve their problems. B2B prospects will only do business with a brand that understands their needs and solves their problems.
Focus on the solution of your product, and include testimonials of your current clients in your sales campaigns.
Banking on Phones and the Internet in Every Situation
Without a doubt, phones and the Internet play a crucial part in B2B sales, but you should not bank solely on them. If you want your business to satisfy specific clients fully, you will have to put your phone aside sometimes and meet them face to face.
As a B2B company, you may not get serious commitments from your prospects without going the extra mile to meet them.
B2B Sales Strategies for Startups
Understand Your Target Market Demands
Four out of five startups fail every year due to the lack of demand for services or products they offer, which makes it necessary to find out what kind of demand exists for your product.
An idea can seem brilliant and successful on paper, but won't work out in the real world. So, before pitching prospective brands about your product or service, make sure to:
Analyze the market to find if there is a demand for such a product.
Talk to industry leaders in your niche
Analyze your target audience.
Ask about the solutions they lack in their industry
Find out what problems they cannot solve.
Include your potential customers in product development. If possible, let them be a part of a beta version and take their comments into account when improving on a product.
Find Your Prospects and Create Personas
Who is going to buy your solution?
You need to find your target audience and verify that your offer is a practical answer to their questions.
Finding your prospects involves focusing on specific groups. Do not try to offer your product to everyone since the outcome would be that it fits no one. One way you can achieve focus on specific groups is through buyer personas. Buyer personas help you create a profile of an ideal customer.
Your personas do not have to be individually about singular brands, but one persona can represent numerous businesses with similarities.
Map Out Your Customers Purchase Journey
Just like buyer personas, understanding the purchase journey of each customer is extremely important. It will help you understand where you should put in more effort, and where you need to implement various tactics.
You need to know when a prospect has become a qualified lead. Knowing when a potential client is ready for the sales pitch is also crucial. If you pitch to people who aren't ready to make a purchase, you will be wasting both time and resources.
You can also use a CRM solution to manage the customer journey, and with such solutions marketing can easily pass qualified leads to sales.
Close the Deal
Closing a deal is particularly important and you can close deals in four primary ways:
Financial Close: A financial close shows prospects that your product is worth the investment. Once your potential clients see the monetary value of your offer, you can close the deal.
Sympathy Close: Sympathy close plays on the buyer's emotions. The goal is to offer a free trial or have a great refund policy to make prospects feel emotional about working with your brand.
Timeline Close: The timeline close is an excellent choice for prospects whose projects have deadlines. You need to show that your product will help your prospects complete the project before the deadline.
Thermometer Close: This is when your sales reps ask potential clients how interested they are in your product on a scale of 1 to 10. Based on the reply, the deal closes, or you move on to further prospect nurturing.
After you have sealed the agreement, walk the client through the product or service, and make sure they are fully satisfied with what they have purchased.
If you guide the client through the entire process and do not leave them stranded after making a purchase, you'll build trust and credibility. Later on, this can result in customer loyalty.
Below is a quick summary of the strategies you can use as a startup.
Find your prospects and create personas
Know who you are selling too.
Personas and audience information will enable you to reach out to clients based on what they find relevant.
Build a relationship with your client.
Builds trust in your product and brand.
Map Out the Customer Journey
Know the stage of each customer in their sales journey.
Separate qualified leads from regular leads and allocate resources appropriately.
Close the Deal
Ensure your customers see the value of your product to their specific needs, then make the sales pitch.
Sales are made.
B2B Sales Strategies that Generate Leads
Despite this difficulty, you can equip yourself with the knowledge of the right strategy that can eliminate it. To get quality leads, you need to improve on your quality as well. In this section, we will be examining some B2B sales strategies that will help you generate high-quality leads.
Communication is the key to developing a strong B2B relationship.
To generate quality leads, you need to have a one-on-one conversation with your prospects as often as possible.
If the prospects ask you a question, instead of offering them a link where the answers to the questions are, you can chat with them and answer all the issues directly. When the prospects see how committed you are in trying to answer their questions and solve their problems, they will feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Having real conversations with your prospects allows you to convince them to do business with you. This doesn't just increase the leads you get. It also increases the possibility of you making a sale.
Equip Your Website with a Chatbot
Recent studies have revealed that about 42% of customers love to use live chats to ask questions. The implication of this is that if you do not have a live chat on your website, you will be losing out on a considerable percentage of profitable deals. Ensure that you set a live chat on your website, you can use a live chat tool like Anyleads Chatbot.
Make Warm Calls
Warm call entails calling a prospect that is aware of your brand, while a cold call is calling a prospect that has had no contact with your brand in the past.
Making a warm call to your prospects increases the number of leads you generate. To be able to make warm calls, you will need to have the contact information of the prospects that visit your site.
Increase Website Traffic With SEO
If you want to increase the number of leads you generate, you will have to increase the traffic that your website gets. To increase traffic, your website must be visible to online users and to increase visibility, you need to rank high in search engines. This is possible through search engine optimization.
Make sure your website is fully optimized with common keywords that your target audience uses when typing in their query online.
Insist on publishing high-quality content. If you post high-quality content, you will rank high. You will also need to build up your backlinks. Adhering to all the SEO practices can generate a massive inflow of traffic, and an increase in traffic will boost the number of leads you generate.
Try Different Content Formats
Gone are the days when bloggers and marketers had to rely on writing as the only content format.
Currently, different content formats are very powerful in generating leads. You can create videos and post them on YouTube for your target audience to see, as some will prefer watching a video over reading.
You can also translate your content into different languages if your product can come in a variety of languages as well.
Increase Traffic With Paid Ads
You can make use of paid ads to increase your website traffic. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter give you the option of placing lead generation ads. You can also make use of Google Ads.
Even though some paid ads may be quite expensive, it is a very potent way of increasing leads. If you target sales leads by looking at the intent of users and keyword search volume, you will definitely boost your leads.
Be Active on Social Media
Even as a B2B sales rep, you need to pay attention to social media. Don't fall for the lie that social media is not beneficial to B2B, because many B2B salespeople are generating massive leads from social media.
There are billions of people active on social media, and your target audience makes up a percentage of these users. The chart below shows the statistics of social media users. Being active on social networks will enable you to take advantage of the large volume of active users to the benefit of your company.
Join social platforms like LinkedIn and try to stay active. You can also publish posts on Facebook and engage your target audience in the comment section. You can ask them interesting questions and answer theirs. When you do this, you will experience a boost in the number of leads generated.
List Your Company on Online Directories
Listing your company on directories is crucial for any B2B company. Regardless of the product or service you provide, you can seize this great opportunity. When you list your company on online software directories, you can attract more leads because your company will be visible to all who search for any product or service related to what you offer.
Have a Well-Optimized Landing Page
Make sure that your landing page has the solution or answer to the question of your website visitors.
You can do this by including a call to action, which could require the visitor to leave a name and contact email address.
Design your emails to include links to social media profiles. When you do this, your prospects will have easy access to your social media.
Including links to your social media profiles in the email can also help you to promote your content. A percentage of the people will click on the links, and this allows prospects to know more about your products.
Below is a graph showing the open rate of personalized content in email marketing across various industries.
Create a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet refers to a free valuable piece of content that your customers want. It usually entails making immensely valuable and sought-after information available to your customers at no cost.
Lead magnets are usually information that is not at everyone’s disposal.
When you create valuable content and make it free, your audience will reward you with loyalty and this automatically means an increase in leads.
Try Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another wonderful method of lead generation. You can collaborate with bloggers in your niche who have some level of authority or a large number of followers. Based on your agreement with them, your content will be posted on their blogs and made available to their audience.
Retargeting and Remarketing as a B2B Sales Strategy
Retargeting, is also known as remarketing, is a method used to spread brand awareness. It helps you re-engage visitors that visited your site without making a purchase.
When a visitor visits the website, they receive a retargeting cookie which strategically places ads on other websites that they visit. When the visitor clicks on the ad, he is automatically redirected back to your website for them to complete the sale they started.
The image below simplifies how retargeting works.
Retargeting is particularly important in B2B sales strategies. It increases conversion and click-through rate. Retargeting also gives you a cost-effective way of engaging with your prospects and bringing them back to your website if they leave without completing a sale process.
Another benefit of retargeting is that it increases and sustains the awareness of your brand. It reminds your target audience that your brand is still active.
Let's examine some retargeting ideas that you can make use of to convert your prospects.
Video Retargeting Through YouTube
The use of videos in marketing has proven to be a remarkably effective channel of content marketing. Videos are more compelling than written content and retargeting using promotional and educative videos is a wonderful way to bring back interested leads to your website.
You can use Google Ads for your video remarketing campaigns. The video ads are aimed at people who have once engaged with your brand videos on YouTube or another video platform.
When you do this, you can easily recapture the attention of prospects and your return on investment (ROI) can increase.
It is, however, important to note that the success rate of your video retargeting campaigns depends on the content quality. It must have information that interests your target audience. If it doesn't, your retargeting attempts will fail.
Smart Content Retargeting
Smart content retargeting tailors your website and content to suit the needs of returning visitors. For instance, if the content was educational and informative, you can change it to be more sales-oriented for returning visitors.
A valuable tool that will help you achieve this is HubSpot COS. It helps in easy remarketing of website copy; all you need to do is to use the Smart Content tool to update your website content to suit the rules you have set for your remarketing lists.
Retargeting with Google Ads Search Network
A great percentage of your leads are constantly on search engines, searching and exploring to find answers to their questions. You can take advantage of this with display ads and bring them back to your website.
Research has shown that visitors who are retargeted using display ads are 70% more likely to convert.
All you need to do is to install the Google Retargeting global tag on different pages of your website. When you do this, it will create a list of individuals who have previously visited your site, and you can run retargeted campaigns at them.
The ads will pop up whenever the person visits a website like yours or searches for content that is related to what you have to offer.
An exceptionally good way to know the effectiveness of display ads is to make sure that the content of the ads revolves around the areas of interest of the target audience. This will catch their attention more and make them click on the ads.
One on One Outreach
Providing personalized outreach to leads who revisit your website is a great way to retarget. To do this you need to have the necessary information about prospects, you need to know the pages they visited, and what kind of content they previously engaged with.
The outreach needs to be as relevant as possible to get the attention of your audience.
When running retargeting ads, you shouldn't just bank on your web visitors, you need to make use of other audiences such as the Facebook Custom Audience, which enables you to run ads to specific users based on their email address.
If you have the email addresses of your target audience, you will be able to target them based on the different funnel stages easily. You can send custom messages to take them to the next stage of the sale.
Whatever remarketing strategy you use, make sure that the content of the ad and your website are valuable to the lead.
Tools to Improve B2B Sales Strategies
Without a doubt, the life of a B2B sales rep or marketer is a busy one. It is almost impossible to do all the work manually. This is why sales reps and B2B marketers always search for great tools that can make the work easier and faster.
Here are some of these tools:
Anyleads Prospecting tool allows you to find and verify email addresses, as well as send personalized and optimized emails. You can also automate your drip campaigns with this tool to generate sales.
All you need to do is set your pre-written personalized messages to be sent automatically to your prospects. Anyleads ensures that communication with your customers is effortless.
Apart from the Prospecting tool, Anyleads offers:
Social Proof Widget
AI Personal Content Writer
This is a cloud-based, intuitive interface that can increase the performance of B2B sales and manage existing relationships. The tool provides a visual sales funnel, crucial for smooth business management.
Base is a user-friendly tool that will help you maximize your sales potential. It has reporting features and can integrate other necessary tools.
Gong.io is a conversation intelligence tool designed to help you communicate appropriately with your leads. In B2B, it is often necessary for you to have a voice conversation with a prospect before you sign a deal. This tool will guide your conversation and show the areas where corrections need to be made.
Artificial intelligence is used to analyze the conversation history, identify the keywords, trends, and any vital information that will help in identifying the patterns.
When you know what to say and the right way to say it, you will experience a tremendous increase in the volume of leads you get.
This is a calendar management tool that will help you coordinate your schedule and end the problem of conflicting agendas.
Considering the huge workload that B2B salespersons must deal with, using this tool will allow them to manage their calendars. It will also create a link that your prospects can use to book appointments.
The Calendly link can be included in the email signature, so when you send emails to your prospects, they can easily book a meeting.
Zapier enables you to automate your business workflow. With Zapier you can eliminate redundant tasks and connect all your apps. It also boosts your productivity as you can automate things like social media posts, and automatically include emails in the newsletters.
The GetResponse tool lets you create emails and high-quality landing pages in a short time. The tool helps boost your email marketing campaigns and increase the effectiveness of email marketing.
The emails created using this tool are perfect for any kind of device. This is great for B2B marketers because their target audience uses different devices.
There is a vast collection of already designed email templates that marketers can use to send emails to their customers. This tool is perfect for the implementation of sales strategies and campaigns.
Other Important Nuances Of Working With B2B
To work with B2B is not enough just to understand what it is and what strategies can be used. It is also important to consider a number of other nuances that significantly affect the work and the final product.
Finding an experienced worker
In addition to different strategies, it is also necessary to consider the fact that a successful B2B operation also needs highly skilled employees who will understand how to implement a particular strategy. This includes, for example, an information systems consultant who will not only be able to implement the technical part of the project, but also predict the possible difficulties that may arise during the implementation of the idea. The expert will soberly assess the capabilities and resources of the company and help to plan a suitable strategy for a particular firm.
Choosing Your Target Audience
The strategy may differ depending on what the company's focus is. If, for example, it is engaged in drone annotation, it would be appropriate to choose agriculture, military or transportation and logistics as its target audience. If the target audience is not chosen correctly, then, accordingly, the product will not be able to pay off properly. You should choose your target audience in advance, not in the process of creating the product and not at the end of working on it. Choosing the right target audience will ensure you understand what features and services need to be added to the product.
Using Tools For Easier Work
Regardless of the project, it will always be appropriate to use those tools that will make the job easier. This saves not only time but also money and is generally quite financially efficient. For example, such tools include text tagging, which allows the artificial intelligence to distinguish what type of information comes to it - text, audio, video, etc. Other tools may also be used, depending on the needs of the project.
B2B sales are complex, but with the right strategies, you can get maximum ROI and build or maintain brand authority. Strategies such as email personalization, website SEO, social media involvement, and others listed in this article all work together to ultimately bring in sales.
The use of the right tools will also bring the best out of your chosen strategies.
What b2b sales strategy works best for your brand?