Business-to-business sales (B2B sales) describes transactions between two businesses– it occurs when a business sells its products or services to another business rather than to individual customers. B2B sales typically involves a longer sales cycle, multiple touchpoints, and greater complexity. Keeping up with these challenges requires a clear and concise B2B sales strategy.
There are various B2B sales strategy models that businesses can adopt. However, the one that stands out is the Discovery Model by Steve Anderson and Dave Stein. This model focuses on an in-depth understanding of the target buyer's persona by collecting information on the following:
- What are the buyer’s business objectives?
- What are the challenges they are facing?
- Which internal and external drivers are influencing their decisions?
- What is their take on success?
These discovery questions will help you understand your customer and their pain points well, so you can initiate very specific conversations in ways that your competitors can’t due to their insufficient knowledge.
In our blog post How To Be A Successful B2B Sales Representative: A B2B Sales Rep Success Guide, we focused on the B2B sales process, and the traits a successful B2B sales rep should cultivate. In this post, we cover the best tips for building your B2B sales strategy and boosting your conversion.
The 7 Best Tips to Build a B2B Sales Strategy
Here are seven fundamental tips to help you get started with the B2B sales strategy:
1. Practice active listening
A successful B2B sales strategy is customer-centric. It begins with listening to the customers, understanding their pain points thoroughly, and only then taking targeted, customised action. Train your sales reps in active listening and make sure that they encourage the prospects to speak. This will make the prospects feel valued, help build genuine rapport and help the sales reps understand the prospects’ requirements.
2. Results matter
Your B2B sales strategy should be results-focused. Your product may be feature-rich, but the prospects are not always looking for those features. All they care about is how your product can solve their unique set of problems. Hence, be results-oriented and focus on the outcomes you can provide the customers to build their interest.
3. Don’t prioritise price at the outset
Price is important but not the only factor that matters. Focus on relationship-building first, as the price can wait. If you can impress a prospect with your products, B2B professionals may be flexible with the price. So, focus on fulfilling the prospects’ goals first, add value, and know that you can always negotiate on price later.
4. Flexibility is a must
Are your sales reps using the same product deck for all prospects? That’s a red flag for sure!
No two prospects’ requirements and needs will be the same, and the onus is on your sales team to customise the pitch accordingly. B2B sales reps should personalise the decks based on the prospect’s pain points. This will help the deal move forward.
5. Only “selling” is not enough
Your sales team should do more than simply “selling”. They need to research, communicate with customers, focus on relationship building, and craft the perfect sales pitch that is irresistible to potential customers. B2B sales reps are responsible for not just selling but for the entire lifecycle - from research to building lasting relationships.
6. Research thoroughly
Research is the key first step in B2B sales, and research skills are essential for B2B sales reps. Sales reps should be ready with a streamlined research process, even before conducting the discovery call, because otherwise it’s throwing stones in the dark and wasting precious time and resources. Through research, they will understand their target business, its positioning, pain points and key decision-makers. This ensures that they are pitching to the right audience and improves their chances of success.
7. Analyse your competitors’ sales strategy
In B2B sales, it is very important to differentiate your offerings. So, analyse your competitors’ sales strategy, learn how they are positioning their products and services, and finally, project your brand so that the differentiating factor between your brand and the competitor’s brand is crystal clear, as are the advantages of choosing you.
5 B2B Sales Strategies to Boost Conversion
B2B sales strategies should be conversion-focused. A successful B2B sales strategy will ensure lead conversion through seamless relationship-building. Here are five foolproof strategies to get started:
1. Empower the sales reps
Sales managers should keep an eye on the sales team's overall performance but empower their sales reps to make decisions as much as possible. Sales reps already need to make crucial decisions around the target audience, problem-solving and lead generation. Each rep having the freedom and independence to make some decisions on their own will speed up the process, reduce friction and help them stay accountable and ensure a solid grasp of the prospects’ needs.
Moreover, each sales rep has their skills and way of operating. For example, someone may be good at written communication, while another may be good at persuasion. Empowering the reps will ensure that they can capitalise on their individual competencies and close more sales deals smoothly.
2. Align your sales and marketing teams
Nobody can stop your growth when your sales and marketing strategies are aligned. In the B2B scenario, sales and marketing teams play complementary roles. For example, marketing teams are responsible for creating content to attract prospects organically, while sales teams are responsible for acquiring and retaining more customers to grow business success.
A tried and tested way to improve collaboration between sales and marketing teams is to align goals but also clearly define roles. For instance, your marketing team’s goal can be generating new leads, while the sales team’s goal can be to convert the same leads. Clear roles, common goals, transparent communication, and consistent exchange of knowledge can help these teams coordinate efficiently.
3. Create a targeted buyer persona
Before you start with your sales efforts, create the ideal buyer persona. A buyer persona is a profile of the targeted buyers that include the customer’s demographics, professional description, needs and so on. The more detailed your buyer persona is, the easier it will be for sales reps to reach out to new prospects.
Here are a few easy steps to build your buyer persona:
- Start with in-depth research. Look into websites, social media platforms and review portals to find out who your target buyers are, and their challenges.
- Then, segment your buyer persona. For example, if you are targeting both B2B product managers and CEOs, it is possible that the demographics and requirements won’t match. Hence, you need to consolidate all the data acquired from research and segregate it into two separate segments: the Product Manager buyer persona and the CEO buyer persona.
- It is now time to go more in-depth. For each segment of your buyer persona, try to add their goals and challenges. For example, a product manager’s goal is to build an appropriate product roadmap and the challenge they might face is to collect customer insights that play a critical role in this process. By breaking down goals and challenges, sales reps can easily figure out what the buyer (and here, the buyer persona) is looking for.
- Finally, use these buyer personas to develop your B2B sales strategy from scratch. Your sales pitch, ad campaigns, content and everything else should be targeted towards a common goal. The goal is to resolve challenges faced by buyers and support them in fulfilling their goals.
4. Leverage social selling
Social selling is all about building your brand on social media through creating awareness and nurturing relationships with your potential customers. Contrary to popular belief, social selling is not all about launching ads, initiating discussions in DMs and promoting your products. B2B social selling focuses on building relationships with prospects and building a strong social community.
Here are a few ways to make the most of social selling as your B2B sales strategy:
- Create thoughtful and thought-provoking content on social platforms which are aligned with your business goals and reflects the challenges your target buyers are facing.
- When reaching out to a potential buyer, be as personal as possible. Instead of sending a generic message, try highlighting the problems they may be facing and offer a solution that they can’t resist.
- Using the right social media platform makes a lot of difference. For B2B, LinkedIn can be a great place to start, as 40 million LinkedIn users are B2B decision-makers.
5. Make the most of sales enablement
Sales enablement is a detailed, strategic framework for sales teams to develop an effective B2B sales process that includes better resource allocation and improved lead conversion. Sales enablement is a modern-day approach to empowering your sales reps.
Here are a few golden rules of B2B sales enablement:
- Develop a process map that defines all the business processes specifically.
- Use a sales enablement technology like Salesken that helps sales reps identify customers’ needs and concerns and assists in building a strategy accordingly.
- Use sales automation to accelerate the manual steps and make sure that the sales reps are involved more in more valuable activities.
- Invest in customer success as much as possible.
Your customer needs evolve based on ever-changing marketing trends. Brands are always looking for ways to find new sales opportunities to accelerate their lead generation process. To develop a strong edge over your competitors and stand out in this landscape, you will need a stellar B2B sales strategy. B2B sales strategies help sales reps to develop in-depth knowledge about customers and their needs. As a result, it simplifies the lead generation process and lets you close more sales deals.
Salesken’s powerful AI software can scientifically assist your reps in real-time to adopt successful sales behaviour. It uses analytics to identify gaps in sales reps' performance and provides personalised coaching that can help your business close sales faster and easier than ever before. To explore further, book a demo!