'Business to Business' sales refer to the selling of products and services by companies to businesses. Compared to https://crescendoapp.com/essential-content-types-for-sales-enablement/ business to consumer (B2C) sales, business to business (B2B) sales usually are higher in order values, longer sales cycles, and are more complex.
Fuelled by changing buying practices, B2B sales have become harder and harder.
How B2B Sales Work?
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of sales strategies for B2B, let us refresh our minds with how B2B sales work.
In traditional practice, a business intending to purchase a product, or a solution would reach out to a salesperson of a vendor. The salesperson would pitch for the best product or solution. And if the business finds the product or service worth buying, they will make a purchase. It was a pretty straightforward affair. And the role of the marketing department was restricted to generating and supplying leads for the sales department.
However, these kinds of buying practices no longer exist. Businesses nowadays do ample research on the product or service to gain sufficient knowledge of its value before finalizing their buying decision.
Business buyers today make most of their buying decisions without even interacting with a salesperson. As such, the B2B sales methodology has undergone a remarkable shift.
Challenges to B2B Sales
With the changing buying practices, the traditional B2B marketing strategies no longer hold good. Unlike in the past, marketing teams today not only actively coordinate with sales teams but also have taken over many of the sales functions. And the result is: the role of the salespeople has shrunk to the final stages of the selling process. The shift in the selling trend has posed substantial challenges to the B2B sales team.
Knowing the transformation in the buying trend of businesses is the key to understanding B2B sales. The B2B sales process today is governed by the practices of buyers.
More and more business buyers prefer to research products and services online. According to research, 68% of buyers prefer to research independently using the internet, social media, and review websites. After conducting their research, they will identify the companies they intend to take a product demo.
Most buyers prefer to interact with a sales rep who understands their needs and provides them with an appropriate solution rather than the one who pushes for sales.
The availability of diverse information has led the buyer to take more time to arrive at his decision. During the last few years, the B2B sales cycle has increased by 22%.
The power of word-of-mouth in influencing buying decisions is increasing day-by-day with the predominance of social media, forums, and reviews. Buyers tend to trust more and more on such information.
So, the B2B sales process has come under the grip of a slew of challenges as:
- Sales reps do no longer need to educate buyers on product or service information due to the availability over the internet
- Roles in marketing and sales have become confusing as many marketing functions overlap with sales functions
- Buyers tend to trust less on sales messages
- Peers and social media influence buyers more than salespeople
Dealing with Challenges
In such a challenging environment, the pertinent question that arises is: how to get B2B customers to overcome the challenges?
To deal with the challenges, your business plan for B2B sales should consider the following steps:
Implementing Sales Enablement
Empower your sales team to sell more effectively by implementing a sales enablement solution. Through sales enablement tools, you can provide buyers with impactful sales enablement content so that they can make better buying decisions.
The business scenario is always changing as businesses are growing in size and scope. This growth brings about increasing competition among companies. The best way to survive in this kind of competitive environment is to adopt sales enablement technology that can enable sales reps to present content and resources from the company.
The success of the business in some regards depends on the degree of management utilized in the sales process, and sales enablement software such as Crescendo makes this easier. With the help of sales enablement software helps sales reps to make quick sales as well as to prevent any situation that may result in losing their customers.
The first step in the process is the creation of content books using a sales enablement platform that consists of the common questions buyers ask during the purchasing cycle. Ask your sales team to share the content library with the prospects.
Business buyers tend to respond more positively to the sales reps who share with them content, such as case studies, business articles, and white papers.
The effectiveness of such content on the sales team can be understood from the following information obtained in surveys:
- 95% of businesses selected a vendor who provided them with the appropriate information at the right time during the buying process
- 13.7% annual increase in contract value was achieved by companies implementing sales enablement strategies
So, prospects seeing the right content are likely to become customers eventually, and that is what could be achieved by implementing digital sales enablement.
Salespeople Endorsing the Brand
There has been a growing tendency among buyers to avoid salespeople who try to push for sales. But buyers like to interact with the salespeople who better understand the underlying need and provide the relevant information.
So, instruct your sales reps to share with the prospects content of relevance. The content has to be informative and helpful. Ask your salespeople to write blogs and articles related to your products and services on social media.
The content, which they publish, should focus on the challenges the prospects face and recommend the corresponding solutions.
Coordination between Marketing and Sales Teams
Aligning the functions of your marketing and sales teams can help generate more business. Research shows that for companies with marketing and sales teams aligned, there is around 67% higher probability of achieving closure of lead generated by the marketing department.
Using sales enablement platforms, the marketing team can create and share buyer-centric content with the sales team, who can share the content with prospects to educate them on how the products and services can solve their problems.
Strategies to Drive B2B Sales
After sketching the framework of the steps to handle the challenges involved in B2B sales, it is now the time to formulate an effective strategy to drive B2B sales productively.
Without an effective strategy, B2B sales are hard to drive. You need an impactful approach to convince the prospects to convert them into customers.
Here are six powerful strategies to overcome the challenges and drive B2B sales:
1. Strategic Selling
The fundamental premise of the strategic selling concept is identifying the different points of contact in the company you are prospecting that are likely to influence your selling process. After that, determine the support they are likely to provide to their decision-makers to help you close the sale.
This strategy helps sales reps to delve deeper into the hierarchy of the prospecting company to identify and establish a good relationship with resourceful people who can influence the decision-makers.
2. Solution Selling
Targeting the needs of prospects is the essence of the solution selling concept. In the solution selling process, the sales rep firstly identifies the needs of the prospects and the associated challenges. Then, the sales rep suggests products or services for dealing with those challenges.
With the offerings suited to the needs of prospects, the relationship between the sales rep and the prospect strengthens, with the prospect feeling valued, raising the probability of sales closure.
3. Account-Based Selling
It is a popular B2B sales strategy. Account-based selling involves establishing contact with different stakeholders in the prospecting company.
The sequence of steps in implementing the strategy is:
- Listing down your target companies to which you want to sell your products and services
- Conduct research to figure out the challenges the companies face. Also, identify the key decision-makers as well as influencing people in the companies
- Construct your value proposition to address the challenges and suit the goals of the people you target
- Interact with the people you targeted
By providing the right information to the right people, you create a stronger relationship with them. And that helps your products and services get sold.
4. Social Selling
Build relationships first and then sell—is the foundation of social selling. The tactic involved in social selling is establishing your brand image in your target market, mainly through social media, and after that, trying to build relationships with the prospect companies.
To achieve the objective, you need to share relevant content through social media to engage potential buyers and existing customers. In this way, your sales reps are likely to have more profound and meaningful conversations with the prospects to educate them on the values your products and services carry.
5. Mobile Optimization
Smartphones and tablets are heavily used in all businesses. As such, these have become essential channels of communication. Today, if your website is not optimized for mobile, you will lose business.
According to a study, 53% of mobile site visitors abandon the page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Since a significant chunk of your internet traffic comes from mobiles, you are likely to lose out considerable B2B sales if your site is not mobile optimized.
6. Diversified Content
One of the proper ways of attracting and retaining customers is through providing informative content of diverse nature. While the blog is a popular mode of delivering content, your prospects and customers might get tired of seeing the same content format over and over again. So, to sustain their interest and keep them engaged, you should provide diversified informative content in the form of product catalogs, white papers, and eBooks in addition to blogs.
So, the essence of the strategies is the implementation of sales enablement to increase your B2B sales. You can invest in procuring Crescendo, one of the best sales enablement platforms available in the market.