The B2B market demands quite a different approach than the B2C one. Your customers are not individuals, but they are various companies with different needs. Here, the sales funnel may seem a little different because your buyers have different expectations and they are mostly not the end-users.
You as a company should provide the best B2B marketing strategies to stand out. Moreover, a sales strategy is necessary as well in order to meet your target requirements. Easier said than done. What can a company do to meet a B2B client’s needs? We have few ideas thanks to which your B2B sales cycle can be improved more than ever. Grab a pen and make some notes!
What is a sales strategy?
By definition, it is a plan aimed at determining the market position of your products or services and, as a result, selling them. It should also clearly define what differs your company from the competition, helping you to find qualified buyers. A good strategy defines the goals and determines how to achieve them. It usually contains such indicators as revenue and growth, buyer personas, sales methods, and positioning, etc. It is a guide for your teams that indicates what and when they should achieve.
There are various types of strategies, e.g., marketing ones designing by marketing teams. It helps them to create communication and marketing efforts to meet the target audience’s needs. A sales strategy also indicates the steps and goals of the buying process, hence it guides your sales team.
In this article, you will find some tips on how to master your B2B sales strategy and win your potential customers’ hearts. We will cover such topics as:
- buyer personas
- referrals and events
- and more.
Tips for creating an effective sales B2B sales strategy
The B2B sales process is advanced and complicated in many ways. First of all, since B2B buyers are usually the most demanding customers, convincing them that your company has the best offer is not the easiest thing to do. In that case, what should you do to reach your potential customers? Keep reading.
#1 Qualify leads
Qualified leads are people that meet your set criteria and have provided identifying information at the very beginning. By meeting your requirements, they could turn out to be potential customers. Thanks to acquiring such businesses, you will be able to close the deal sooner and make them more profitable.
This will also allow you to make faster transactions. Thanks to the acquisition of qualified leads, you will save time and money spent on ineffective negotiations or meetings. You will be able to recognize which company really wants to cooperate and is ready to undertake obligations resulting from the contract. Choosing qualified businesses doesn’t mean you’re picky, it makes you a professional who respects the times of both parties.
#2 Let them refer
Referral marketing is a good choice not only in the B2C market because it helps with customer acquisition. You want to reach new customers after all, which in this case are B2B companies. Creating a referral program would be a great idea to grab the interest of B2B leads. It is necessary to choose reliable options on this market, and that is what referral marketing is about.
To make your own referral program, you will need referral software like EarlyParrot. With this tool, you can design your own program in a flash. How do referral programs work? To ensure that it is effective, you need to set:
- type of program
- communication channels
Then you should invite your current customers and let them spread the word about your business. They can share their links across social media platforms or other channels. Once a lead clicks on a referral link and registers to your website or makes a purchase, either both or one side of the referral can earn rewards.
Creating a program with EarlyParrot is a piece of cake. You can implement it on your website without any IT support and start your referral journey immediately. It works with the most common platforms like Magento, Joomla, WooCommerce, and WordPress, but also headless CMS. This solution is a great way to expand your mailing list too.
You may be wondering whether or not such programs work for B2B companies. Well they do, and can help you earn a lot of profit – almost 80% of B2B marketing managers admitted that referral programs generate high-quality leads. When it comes to business-to-business relationships, they are made less frequently but with more money involved, so it is better to choose verified providers who have been referred by industry friends. Referral marketing can be an excellent choice to boost your content marketing strategy and acquire new customers at low cost.
#3 Create a buyer persona
It may seem odd to talk about personas in the case of the business market but it makes a lot of sense! What is a buyer persona? It is a customer profile based on research into a specific industry. In general, it describes your ideal customers.
Very often you will have several personas, especially on the B2B market where the sales funnel seems slightly different from the B2C one. You sell your product to various businesses and they may have different types of target audiences, i.e. their personas differ. Thus these companies’ requirements may vary too.
To make the most of this process, you need to organize a sales team meeting and brainstorm in-depth questions about your perfect client. This way, your products or services will be aimed at businesses that appreciate them, allowing you to keep the user experience high, as well as your revenue and other growth KPIs. Having created buyer personas, you can tailor communication more effectively and choose deals better suited to success.
#4 Don’t be too strict
Pricing is an essential factor in the buying processes. For B2B buyers, it is even more crucial because, as we mentioned above, greater amounts of money are involved. The last thing anyone wants is to throw their money down the drain.
What you should do first is put your pricing in a visible place on your website. All customers have a right to know what amounts are on the table. During sales meetings, set your price boundaries clearly but do not be relentless. Perhaps a customer will want something additional or a more tailored offer following a meeting like this. Such situations require flexibility or you risk losing the client.
Remember that negotiations are an essential part of business meetings, and it is usually pricing that arouses the greatest emotions during this part. Come up with a price bracket list and keep it handy, but give yourself some wiggle room. To reach a compromise, both sides need to let it go a little bit.
However, customization of the plan is a great idea. You’ll avoid quitting at a moment of uncertainty when neither program seems like the right fit. Thanks to custom pricing, everyone will find something for themselves. Here’s a tip: Be crystal clear about how much your client will have to pay and for what.
#5 Keep your agents up to date
For B2B businesses, the customer experience is even more crucial. Each of your sales professionals must be up to date with your offer and what is happening on the market. It is your duty to take care of this. You should train them and provide valuable content, e-books, and white papers, etc. Moreover, you are responsible for materials that are presented by sales representatives. They must be of good quality, both visually and in terms of content. Provide sales agents with the tools they need to do their jobs well, expediting and simplifying their work.
An effective sales strategy requires some commitment. In this case, we are talking about industry events. Be part of them!
To prepare for such an occasion, you need to focus on your marketing strategy and get in touch with your marketing department. After all, they are responsible for your promotional materials and marketing efforts. All pieces of content you want to distribute during an event should be (as always) high quality and define you as a company. Your B2B customers want to get to know you better. Although these events do not usually result in purchase decisions, they can lead to the idea of cooperation. It is a good starting point for the B2B sales cycle.
If your company participates in an online event, first make yourself sure that the target audience matches your buyer personas. You can prepare some sort of souvenirs like discounts or free ebooks. Without person-to-person contact, it is harder to convince companies to cooperate but it is not impossible. You should be professional and be open to discussions. The audience should ask you as many questions as you are able to handle. This will be proof that you know the industry inside out.
#7 Use synergy
No matter how excellent your sales strategy is, it cannot succeed if it is incoherent with other strategies. To make the most of it, your sales strategy should go hand in hand with your B2B marketing strategy, logistics plan, and pricing, etc. These should all be connected and form a cohesive overall plan.
Talk with your marketing team, establish when the latest marketing campaign will be released and what it promises. Your B2B customers have expectations based on the marketing message, so you need to meet them at least partially. Marketing may also be a tool supporting sales efforts. For example, thanks to an email marketing strategy, your company can have access to email addresses that can be used to start a sales pipeline. Of course, your customer must consent to it.
The same applies to pricing, logistics, and many other B2B strategies that may be necessary to establish. Link all the actions and use their full power.
Ready to plan?
Providing a good B2B sales strategy needs time and commitment but it is definitely worthwhile. After all, this is what makes your business successful.
You should plan your strategy well to gain the maximum level of trust of your B2B buyers and create bonds with them. Relationships between companies are crucial in the business-to-business market because such cooperations may last for years and strengthen both parties’ market positions. They may be to be or not be for some enterprises.