When you need to make a consistent B2B sales goal, no matter what industry you’re in, you must follow some basic strategic plans to close any business deal. For instance, creating an outstanding sales process will help you follow a consistent business method while ensuring that all your target leads turn into sales. And, an excellent first impression plays a big role.
In this article, we will be taking a look at the basic Business to Business (B2B) sales strategic plans to make a good first impression on your overall business. According to the Gartner team, Business To Business (B2B) Sales are transactions between two businesses. Rather than between a business and an individual consumer for the consumer’s personal use.
Essentially, B2B Sales are characterized by larger transaction amounts, more educated buyers, and a multistakeholder approval process — thus a longer sales cycle. Personally, I’ve witnessed significant changes in the B2B sales process so far. Research-driven buyers, an array of vendors, and multiple paths to purchase are just a few of the main evolutions so far.
So, has this made the B2B leads harder to reach? Of course, to some extent, yes! But, this is actually good news all the same.
What Business-to-Business (B2B) Is All About
Business-to-Business (B2B) falls under various Ecommerce Business Models, it’s good to note that there are approximately 110,000 eCommerce websites generating revenue of meaningful scale on the internet. Whereby, more than 12% of the 100,000 highest-traffic websites are ecommerce based. Not to mention, the density clearly declines to about 10% for the long tail.
An eCommerce Website is the most important online tool that your business needs. In fact, it’s your Online Shop! For instance, research has it that buyers are shifting to online shopping. Given the huge number of people who have access to smartphones and computers. As such, you’d want to learn how to handle inventory management and sourcing products.
e-Commerce, also known as e-Business, or electronic business, is simply the sale and purchase of services and goods over an electronic medium, like the Internet. It also involves electronically transferring data and funds between two or more parties. Simply put, it is online shopping as we commonly know it. And, this is where Business-to-Business (B2B) fills in.
Business-to-Business (B2B) sales refer to companies or salespeople who sell products and services directly to other businesses. This is parallel to Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales, where products and services are sold directly to the consumer. But then again, depending on the business model/product, B2B sales come in various different types (learn more).
How The Modern B2B Sales Process Anatomy Is Like
For now, if you want to not only meet but also exceed sales quotas, understanding the dynamics of the modern B2B sales process and honoring sales tactics that work is a must. For your information, there are three different types of B2B sales. They include Supply Sales, Wholesale/Distribution Sales, and Service/Software Sales as well.
The B2B sales process was simpler in the past. Searching for a solution, a buyer would identify a vendor, talk with a salesperson about their needs, and then consult decision-makers. If they were happy, they’d shake hands on a deal. For vendors, marketing would bring in the leads, and sales would reach out directly and close them. It was a linear buyer journey.
But, like most industries, the internet has imploded the complexity of the B2B sales process. Marketing and sales are becoming increasingly entwined. Now, both play a synchronized role in lead generation and closing deals.
The buyer’s path to purchase looks like this:
- They map out all potential solutions and options.
- If they need a vendor, buyers ask their network for professional peer recommendations.
- They will also check out review sites, forums, and social media.
- Based on all the information gathered beforehand, they’ll make a buying decision.
- If they haven’t been approached, they might reach out to a vendor
- Or rather, follow up with one that has been recommended to or interacted with them.
Ultimately, the modern B2B sales process gives buyers unprecedented levels of control. They can enter and drop in and out of the funnel, backtrack from the brink of purchase, and shift between stages at will. This means, that the B2B sales process has gone from a linear funnel to a wide, multi-platform process that includes a number of zig-zagging touchpoints with buyers.
Strategies In B2B Sales To Make Great First Business Impressions
The problem with B2B sales isn’t a shortage of strategies and tactics; it’s that there’s too much. Should you create videos? Create extensive research whitepapers? Run PPC ads? Always remember, that the best tactics are buyer-centric. They’re designed with the modern B2B sales process and savvy buyers in mind.
In 2018, Forrester valued the total size of the US B2B e-commerce sales market at $9 trillion. At the same time, US B2C e-commerce sales stood at $601.75 billion in 2019. B2C sales are made directly from a business or salesperson to the consumer. Unlike B2B sales, they are usually smaller in scale and involve only the consumer’s decision.
Common B2C examples include:
- A sales rep at a car dealership.
- An online ecommerce store that sells clothes.
- A supermarket that sells a variety of consumables.
By all means, the B2B sales process isn’t a linear line anymore… It’s an overlapping Venn diagram populated with multiple touchpoints and value-oriented buyers. Should this change inspire despair in B2B organizations and sales reps? As a wise woman once said: “Oh, hell no!” On the contrary, it’s a reason to be excited.
A complicated process equals a higher barrier to entry. This is a good thing… It will reward buyer-centric B2B companies with more sales, and keep outdated dinosaur companies that fail to adapt, out. It’s a new age, and I say bring on the challenge!
Compared to B2C, the B2B sales market is a bigger pool with bigger fish, and of course, bigger budgets. That said, below are the essential B2B sales strategies/techniques (or Tactics) that will work for your overall business.
1. Be Resourceful
By being resourceful I mean that you make your presence known, especially, where your buyers are looking for you. For one thing, we all know that customers start their shopping from Google search. If you want to make a good first impression, then you need to have a persuasive presence on the internet.
Suffice to say, in order to do so, you can create a website for your company, adding listings in B2B search verticals, online display ads, social media, distributing press releases in online magazines and journals, etc. Also, note that the days of siloed sales and marketing departments are gone.
The line that marks the difference between bringing users into the funnel, and keeping them in the funnel is no longer a line. It’s more of a Venn diagram — roles and responsibilities remain interconnected and often cross paths. But, marketing and sales don’t always agree, and this misalignment damages the B2B salespeople’s general productivity.
2. Be Vibrant
In this case, I mean that you add a personality to your online presence. Keep in mind, that your overall online presence should display more than your company information and name. Customers also want to know who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique.
Different studies show that prospects make buying decisions based on the information available on the specific product that they are looking to buy. That’s why it’s important to include all the information containing videos, and case studies about your product. Start by focusing on target accounts, and any other account-based sales (ABS) to flip the typical funnel on its head.
It’ll also encourage sales and marketing teams to collaborate. Just like the beginning of the B2B buyer journey, an ABS approach starts with a solution that the buyer is searching for. As well as one thing that the company knows it can solve. This means sales and marketing teams must agree on who the decision-makers are.
3. Engage Customers
Knowing your customers is the next thing on your bucket list. Bearing in mind, that it’s one thing to be present where your customers are. And it’s another thing to learn about them and understand their needs. For all the sales calls, pitches, and presentations you make to close the deal, you need to know about the people who you’re making it for.
You can start your research from Google, check out their company website, social media presence, competitors, and any other relevant information you should know before making the call. Linkedin is a good place to check out your prospects – who they are and what they do. Learn how to present a personalized solution to the problem buyers are looking to solve.
Like most companies, DocuSign noticed that users were not completing the B2B sales process. With bounce rates rising and pageviews plummeting, leads were dropping out of the funnel. Henceforth, they implemented ABS campaigns to fix the issue.
4. Follow Up
Always make sure to you do a follow-up on your potential customers and prospective buyers. When the first sales call or meeting is done, it’s important to send a follow-up note with any necessary information. Many sales reps forget to follow up and it often leads to falling flat the lead. That’s why make sure to send a follow-up note to your prospects.
In your follow-up note, you can include any relevant presentation, slide decks, case studies, next steps, or a simple thank you note. Taking this step shows that you know your game, you make your prospects a priority instead of just completing your job. And it also creates a good second impression, if in case the first time didn’t go as expected.
Relying on conference lists to find new leads, New Horizons found that ROI was starting to dwindle. Sales were dropping because leads were close to a buying decision by the time reps reached them. To rescue declining sales, they needed to get on buyers’ radars at an earlier stage.
5. Create Connections
The next strategy is for you to make solid connections with potential customers and prospective buyers. While you do your research learning about your prospects, also make sure to get to know them as a person rather than just as a client. When you’re meeting with them for the first time, try to pay attention to what they say and set up a connection with them.
Building up a connection outside the professional field is a great way to build a rapport. Though, make sure that you don’t come across as too pushy or creepy. Don’t make any comments on their appearance and stick to making connections on things that you both have in common.
After launching six digital account-based campaigns, marketing teams can easily refine their messaging and send higher-quality leads to sales. As an example, this is something that grew DocuSigns sales pipeline by 22 percent. In addition, it tripled its click-through rates on critical calls-to-action, and more than halved its bounce rate.
6. Be Genuine
Whenever we meet someone for the first time, we try to show them a different side of ourselves that is usually not there. People do it to create a good impression. But when people learn about this, it can rub them the wrong way. That’s why you should stick to what you know, don’t fake it, and be your true self.
But make sure not to showcase your weakness too much. Don’t hide your weak areas but also don’t overemphasize them. Just be honest and focus on the good stuff. Social Selling is the modern way for B2B sales reps to build not only relationships but also close deals before competitors have a clue what’s going on.
Perse, social selling on LinkedIn became their winning solution. In the end, sales reps gained 1.7M worth of opportunities in 6 months, a 57% close rate, and $1M in revenue. It was so effective at generating leads that the COO created a “social hour,” reps now spend an hour of their day researching and connecting with leads on LinkedIn.
7. Come Prepared
Nothing is worse than an unproductive meeting. To make a good first impression, come prepared and respect everyone’s time. Whether you’re meeting with them in person or remotely, make plans accordingly. Making a proper time management schedule shows that you respect the other party’s time. And it’s also a key to creating an engaged group of people.
On the same note, do you want to know what businesses are visiting your website? Well, Leadfeeder is a great application platform that will tell you (Try It For Free) everything that you need to know. Basically, it will show you who visited your website and which pages they visited. Note: 69% of successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
And when you consider that B2B buyers consume an average of 13 content pieces before buying, it’s easy to see why. Content bridges the gap between buyer and seller. It tilts the purchase decision in favor of the vendor. But, effective content isn’t just about sharing a company’s office pet news. It’s about solving problems, and building connections, trust, and credibility.
According to the Leadfeeder weblog, B2B eCommerce Sales are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. For reference, that’s three times the $600 billion that B2C e-commerce sales are expected to hit by 2024. But, choosing the best eCommerce platform is not an easy task. The market is wide and there are many factors to consider with a lot of business impacts.
So, it’s always good to give it enough thought before you even sign up to start selling online. Important to realize, that trading, be it barter exchange or buying and selling of goods and services has been prevalent for centuries. Of course, no one can be self-sufficient. This brings out the need for demand and supply of goods and services.
In reality, product marketing is a critical part of any business marketing strategy. And without it, your product won’t achieve its maximum potential among its lead target audience. And now, you’ve got the best business strategies to master your B2B Sales in advance. Last but not least, it’s time to experience Gartner Conferences for even more useful tips for all business types.
More Related Web Resources:
- How Product Marketing Is Done | A Marketers Plan
- C2B Marketing | A Lead Consumer-to-Business Guideline
- B2C Marketing | 5 Business Models To Utilize In Campaigns
- B2B Marketing | 3 Key Strategies & 5 Benefits To Web Marketers
- Why Is Social Media Such An Important Online Marketing Tool?
- How Viral Marketing Works | What Marketers Should Know
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