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Common questions we hear in our sales process include, “How will this work for my B2B business?” and “How do you prove ROI for B2B as opposed to B2C businesses?” It’s true, B2B sales poses its own set of challenges, such as: resistance to change, multiple influencers and decision makers, and longer buying cycles.
Yet, B2B sales are still flourishing, and more and more service businesses are popping up every day; they must be doing something right.
However, most audiences are correct in thinking that you have to approach B2B sales differently than you would B2C sales. With the right tactics, success can be achieved for B2B companies. Below are 8 strategies to help increase B2B sales in 2018.
Utilize Inbound Sales Strategies with your Inbound Marketing Strategies
You have a blog. Your social feeds are buzzing. You’ve made dozens of offers and tools for your prospects... but you're still not closing the deal. This is common for companies that go "all in" with inbound marketing strategies. The real question is, are you using inbound sales strategies, as well?
Your sales team should have a well built process, content library, email sequences/templates and a CRM set up to track progress with each and every prospect.
This way, marketing and sales can work together to find the gaps throughout the entire process, gain valuable information that is exchanged during sales emails and calls, and then improve where necessary.
Invest in the Power of Video
When multiple decision-makers are part of the equation, sharing information becomes difficult to make sure outside opinions don’t sway someone in the wrong direction. For example, video has been used for various parts of the B2B sales cycle:
- Demo or explainer videos: these videos should accurately show how your service works and why it is beneficial in their business goals.
- Client testimonial videos: show a more personal approach to your business.
- Buyer Persona specific videos: cater to the decision-makers specific job title. Each decision maker will have a different set of pain points and priorities. While the CEO may care about the ROI it will provide, an IT Manager may be worried about specific use-cases and how it works with their existing setup.
Research, Research, Research
While you may think you know who your ideal customer is, have you actually done the research to prove this is true? Conducting interviews with existing clients to understand how they found your company, what challenges they were facing and why they chose to do business with you is incredibly powerful for lead generation.
Listen to the buzzwords they use when answering questions and turning their comments and challenges into content enables you to now know what will be useful, because you heard it from one of your customers.
Strategize Using Several Different Traffic Generating Channels
B2B sales typically rely on multiple people signing off on a decision, therefore, it is important to find out where each of these individuals spend their time. While social media may bring visitors to your site, email marketing may result in increased engagement with offer downloads.
You shouldn’t just focus on digital channels, either. Tradeshows, industry events, networking events, and outbound initiatives can all be contributing factors to your success. It is important to track these initiatives in your marketing automation software, as well to make sure you're capitalizing on bringing in leads from different areas.
Understand Your Real Sales Cycle Timeline
B2B sales cycles are typically much longer than B2C cycles, so, you need to take this in to account in your marketing and sales planning. If you have 80% of your leads about to close, but nothing is in the middle of your pipeline, you're going to have a prosperous Month 1 and then go on to Month 3 or 4 with almost nothing, because you weren’t building your pipeline.
Make sure to strategize based on your sales cycle, so that your entire sales funnel is being nurtured at all times.
Educate Your Prospects—Not Everyone is Created Equal
Most companies have clients that fit into various personas—each with a different need. There is no “one size fits all” method for sales today. Modern sales is about focusing on educating each prospect with specific content targeted to their needs.
Think about their company and what their needs are; then, you can focus on helping them solve their problems, not just pitching your services.
Give Them Options for How to Contact You
Not only are your prospects at different stages of the buyers journey, but prospects are also going to want to communicate in different ways. Do they prefer email, a quick phone call, scheduling a meeting time or using a Chat Bot, such as Facebook Messenger, to communicate?
Businesses have already started to use Facebook Messenger Bots as a way to provide customer service to their prospects and clients—and this is only going to get bigger throughout 2018. Find how your prospects like to communicate and converse with them there.
Make it Easy
Everyone knows time is limited. Everyone is glued to their smartphones with no time to even look up. To get your message across, you need to find your target market on the channels they live and search in, provide them valuable content, and then provide value for a very specific need.
This is where your content library is key. Creating resources that fit each one of your personas' challenges provides you with articles, offers, reports, videos, etc. for visitors to make their lives (and decisions to buy) easy.
While B2B sales brings its own set of challenges, there are also just as many opportunities for success. While the above are just the tip of the iceberg, you can also find 15 more B2B sales articles on how to win business here.
It is a hot topic in the industry and, I think, we as marketers, are going to see a lot of new trends throughout 2018. How are you going to increase your B2B sales this year? Comment below!
Published on February 7, 2018