B2B sales success: don't be a salesperson - be a teacher!

Abi Abrahams, Thursday 31 May 2018
 

 

b2b sales- be a teacher-339398-edited

This month we’re focusing on sales velocity, and how teams can strategize their processes to improve the quality of the sales they make, and the time it takes to close them. In all our research, we’ve found out something very important…


Your B2B buyers, don’t want you to be a salesperson.

 

It sounds odd to say - so we’ll explain! The days of hard sales pitching with pushy language are no more. Whilst some things stand the test of time, a salesperson’s approach does not - it changes constantly with the mind-set of their sales pipeline. This is especially true of a B2B playing field, where prospects are not buying for themselves but for their businesses - so processes are longer and more decision makers are involved. What your buyers really want today, (in its most basic form) is to learn. So, it’s time to teach them! 

 

Get off on the right foot

 

A recent study shows a serious rift between salespeople and their buyers when it comes to the first sales call. Salespeople believe they’re doing it right, but the prospects say otherwise. For example, 50% of salespeople are sure they avoid being pushy, but prospects feel a staggering 84% of salespeople are pushy on the first call. 37% of B2B sales professionals said getting in touch with the right person was the most difficult part of the sales process. When you’re able to get someone on the phone - make sure you get it right! Look in detail at your buyer persona, and what they want from the first call. To truly improve B2B sales - you need to adhere to their needs - not yours. 

 

On the first call - B2B buyers often want to discuss these things-

 

  • Pricing
  • How your product works
  • Information about others who offer your service

And this is what they don’t want to talk about (even if you do!) -

 

  • Who the ultimate decision maker on the purchase is
  • How long they have to make a decision on the purchase
  • Their budget

Use this information, and reconstruct the process by which you tackle that first call. Of course, not everyone is the same, some buyers may want to talk about other things, but this is a starting point. And remember - don’t be pushy! 

 

Understand their needs first 

 

Added to this disconnect between salespeople and their buyers, a whopping 83% of salespeople are sure they listen to the prospect’s needs, but 62% of prospects say salespeople do not listen to their needs at all! 69% of buyers want their needs addressed on every phone call - so things really need to change. The best thing to do here is research. Get your teeth stuck into the right information, and you can quickly discover your prospect’s needs and address them straight away - here’s how to start.

 

  • LinkedIn - a great place to begin, you can learn about the organization, their industry and who their key decision makers are. Spend time looking in groups relating to their industry and picking up on the discussion points and common concerns.
  • Current events and blogposts - once you know more, search for articles and blogs relating to their industry and clientele. Also look at the content they’re producing. This all points towards what they’re researching and tackling, so what their needs may be.
  • Your client base - your secret weapon. Seek out clients that are in a similar sector to those in your sales pipeline and learn about their needs and how your product helps them through their pain-points. Learn why they purchased your offering and apply this knowledge to your sales pipeline; it makes sense - use your current customers to get more customers!
  • Your colleagues - another internal gem. Someone on your team may have just closed a sale with a business from that industry! What was the clincher and what did they learn? Make them a coffee and pick their brains.
  • Lead Forensics – we can’t help but let you know how we can assist too! Our software identifies your anonymous business website visitors. The information we provide can help you understand their organization and industry (including how to reach key decision makers), along with an in-depth breakdown of their website visit so you can see what pages and content they’ve been looking at. This is a great insight to their pain-points, and what they might need from your business. Book your free demo now!

 

Teach them - don’t bore them 

 

This is where that all important “yearning for learning” features. The desire for a salesperson to understand the buyer’s needs comes from the B2B buyer wanting to learn about why they might be experiencing a problem, and be educated in how it can be solved.


So, don’t be a salesperson, be a teacher! Instead of pitching your product to them, teach them why your product fits their needs. Make them believe you’re not there to just sell them something, you’re there to help them solve a problem by giving them a new answer they haven’t used before. You need to eat, live and breathe that organization (for the time you’re on the phone to them!), their needs become yours, you struggle with them and your desire to help comes from a personal determination to see them succeed in all walks of business.


Don’t get too bogged down in the detail though. The last thing you want is for them to nod off, so make it exciting! If you have the option to show them a demo or trial, then use this similar to using “evidence” when teaching. Propose the theory, explain the method and deliver the results. This means you’ll step away from the call knowing that you’ve given the prospect something of value. You’ve also become buyer-centric, putting the needs and specific requirements of the sales pipeline before your own need to make a sale. This is what makes great salespeople. They’re stepping away from the typical image of “someone selling something” and taking on new personas of problem solvers. 

 

Inspire them - be a thought leader

 

Teachers don’t just impart knowledge, they lead the pack. 96% of B2B buyers crave content from thought leaders in their field, so you need to position yourself as an expert. Thought leaders are not only omniscient in their field, but they’re also paving the way to a better business future. Apply this to your B2B sales - you’re there to lay down a path for the prospect to follow, to their benefit. If it’s not going to help them and improve their business, then why sell it to them?


Engage closely with the content your organization shares. Connect with your marketing department, and keep on top of the blogs and assets you publish. Expand your LinkedIn network, including a broader scope of industries and set time aside each day to actively read current business news. Add this to the research you do to better know your sales pipeline, and you become more than just a salesperson - and at the end of it all, that’s what we’re getting at here. You need to be more than just someone who calls sales leads and closes sales.


I know this sounds like a lot - good sales people are passionate and proud of what they do! But you’re not changing yourself, you’re changing the process you undergo to better your technique and be your best. 60% of salespeople won’t change their process once they’ve found one that works for them, and this is what we need to face head on. This isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come quickly, but welcome the knowledge that change will come and take small steps.

 

Why not learn how Lead Forensics can help? We already work with 50,000 B2B sales and marketing professionals, to help lead generation and boost overall pipeline performance, generating outstanding ROI. Book your free demo today and find out more! 

 

Free guide - Discover how a multi-channel approach can revolutionize your B2B sales strategy. Download Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales for free today!

 

Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales

 

Topics: B2B marketing, Lead generation, Lead Forensics, B2B sales, Open Sales Conversation

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