10 Proven Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy
When compared to B2C sales, B2B sales are way tougher. In the world of B2B sales, you have to deal with high stakes, long sales cycles, and difficult-to-find leads. And when you do get a lead, you’ll have to deal with quite a few decision-makers before you can close a sale. If you manage small business, then you need to build a successful sales strategy and execute that strategy well.
B2B customers can be tougher to deal with than B2C customers because B2B buyers know what product or service they want. In addition, B2B customers will place higher expectations on suppliers since B2B customers are making a business decision and possibly want a long-term business relationship.
The majority of B2B customers know what solution they need for their problem before they even start talking to a salesperson.
What Is a B2B Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy is the plan you follow in order to sell a product or service by communicating to potential customers about your product or service and then convincing them to buy. You will know a sales strategy is good when you constantly keep making sales by following that sales strategy.
Now, sales and marketing can deliver optimal results when they’re working together, but sales strategies and marketing strategies are completely different.
A marketing strategy is about creating awareness about your products or services among your potential customers, for example, doing B2B live streaming to demo a product or running a B2B referral program. A sales strategy is about persuading a specific customer to buy the products or services you’re selling.
By testing and refining your B2B sales strategy, you’ll create an optimal strategy that will enable you to:
- Identify your target audience.
- Deliver the strongest case for why your products or services should be purchased.
- Approach a lead through the most effective sales channel.
- Close the sale with an optimal sales pitch delivery.
Let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.
10 Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy
Now that we know what a B2B sales strategy is, let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.
1. Pick the Right Kind of Strategy for You
A generic sales strategy can deliver results but will be easily outperformed by a sales strategy built just for your situation and business needs. The goals your business is trying to achieve determine the basic structure of your sales strategy. Do you want to generate new leads, convert leads into customers, or generate repeat sales from already existing customers?
By understanding what your business goals are, you can start to build the right sales strategy around those goals.
2. Determine If Your Strategy Is Inbound or Outbound
When using an inbound sales strategy, your business is marketing itself to its target audience in a way that generates interest and draws potential leads in. Inbound sales strategies work best when your target audience is actively looking for the products or services you provide.
When using an outbound sales strategy, your business’s salesperson seeks out potential customers and approaches them directly. Outbound sales strategies can work well when your business is selling something innovative or disruptive. With an outbound approach, you can make the case that you have a solution to a problem potential customers didn’t even know they had.
Choosing an inbound or outbound sales strategy is dependent on your market position as well as the specific challenges your business faces. Some businesses will implement a hybrid of the two strategies, but the optimal method of implementing the following steps depends greatly on which approach your business has prioritized.
3. Make Sure Sales and Marketing Work as a Team
Usually, sales and marketing teams see each other as rivals, but these teams should be working together as one.
Because sales talks with leads all day, they gain a lot of insights into the issues potential customers face and the product features they are looking for. Sales can share this information with marketing. Marketing can identify high-potential leads and pass them on to sales to reach out to as well as give sales-related content to use.
Sales teams need to acquire new customers in order to ensure your business grows, and the marketing team can support them by generating high potential B2B leads. Sales and marketing can use an enterprise communication solution to talk with each other.
Social media is a very marketing-specific activity; however, sales can use social media to identify potential leads and engage with them. The sales team can help the marketing team identify ideal customers and their issues, which can be very useful while creating social media ads and posts. Meanwhile, the marketing team can identify key conversation points and targets on social media and pass that information on to the sales team to reach.
With your sales and marketing teams working in sync, your business is perfectly positioned to use account-based marketing (ABM). ABM treats every customer account as its own market and uses personalized messaging and content for each potential customer. ABM is resource-intensive but delivers a high ROI.
4. Research Your Target Customers
In B2B sales, building rapport with your customers is very important. This is why you should learn everything you can about the businesses you want to sell to. Try to learn their business goals, pain points, competition, day-to-day activities, and who their decision-makers are.
Have your salespeople make use of buyer personas. Buyer personas are buyer profiles you create of imaginary customers. These profiles can be informed by talking with real customers and hearing their stories. You can use this information to put your buyer personas into context and help sales to develop more effective sales pitches.
Researching your target market and existing customers can also help you identify customer profiles you don’t want to target. This can save time and resources that would’ve been spent chasing unlikely leads.
5. Identify, Qualify, and Nurture Your Leads
Researching your customers will help you identify the leads that are most worth pursuing. You can then go after those leads by either marketing campaigns or cold-calling them using cloud based communications. But before you commit to pursuing those leads, you should first qualify them.
You can qualify your leads by scoring them. Factors that can affect a score could be the customer company’s size, how closely it fits your ideal buyer persona, and the length of their purchasing timeline. Once you know your leads’ scores, you can then more easily prioritize them. Another option is to buy a B2B lead list.
B2B sales can have long sales cycles. By determining what stage of the sales funnel a lead is at, you can nurture them with audience-focused content.
6. Determine Key Activities
Here is where your strategy moves into practice. There are three areas of activity you can focus on:
- Social Media: one of the first things buyers will check is your social media presence. Make sure they find high-quality posts, product information, valuable resources, and active engagement.
- Understanding the buyers’ journey: the better you understand your buyers’ decision-making processes, the better you’ll be able to lead them to purchase.
- Building customer relationships: B2B is not about quick, one-time-only purchases. It is important to build relationships with customers to ensure repeat business, satisfaction, and recommendations to others. Use a corporate email signature to stand out.
7. Create Valuable Content
Many B2B customers would rather trust their own research than a sales pitch. To reach these customers, you need to provide valuable, informative content that offers value and addresses their concerns.
Try to provide content that doesn’t “expire,” such as ebooks, whitepapers, and product demos.
8. Have the Essential Software Tools
The right software tools are needed to help your sales reach their full potential. Some essential software tools are:
- A CRM tool: this tool will capture lead information, organize your customer data, and automate sales outreach processes.
- Analytics and reporting programs: these will help you extract insights from your CRM data, enable you to measure your performance, and answer the question, “What is bounce rate?”.
- Social media management software: this will let you monitor your accounts, check for relevant social conversations, and post on a schedule.
- A content personalization tool: this will tell you where your leads are coming from, provide a map of their customer journey, and deliver personalized content.
9. Gather a Team and Make a Plan
A sales strategy is great, but in the end, it’s just a plan on paper. You need a great team of salespeople to turn your plan into actual sales and profit. Your sales team needs to be experts in your products or services, armed with knowledge and insights gained from market research.
To start, define a sales process, which is the specific actions to repeat to execute your strategy. Then create an action plan, delegate tasks, and observe how your B2B sales strategy plays out.
10. Measure and Adjust
You measure your success by your goals. The last step is about monitoring your sales strategy, measuring its performance, and adjusting things where appropriate. If some methods or activities aren’t delivering results, swap them out for a new approach.
A successful B2B sales strategy is one that is custom-built for your business. This strategy is made for your business goals and your customers with a great team to execute it. The ideal strategy is also able to change and adapt when it needs to.
If you follow the 10 steps listed above, then you can build a successful B2B sales strategy for your own business.