6 min read time
For a beginner, business to business sales can be quite an experience! Whether you’re coming into the industry afresh, moving over from B2C, or your organization is expanding to include B2B, this blog will cover the essentials. You may be no expert, but you can be a well informed and prepared beginner, ready to take the bull by the horns and generate some revenue! We’ll start off with the basics and discuss how business to business sales processes differ from business to consumer, and look to some helpful hints so you get started on the road to becoming a top B2B salesperson.
B2B vs B2C
We are all consumers, so it’s easy to know how business to consumer sales work, as we’re involved in them all the time! Whether we buy something from a shop, on the internet or over the phone, we broadly know the buyer journey for a business to consumer transaction. So how does business to business differ?
The process takes longer
Over the last few years alone, the B2B sales process had become 5x longer, and it’s something all beginners need to be prepared for. In the world of B2C, transactions are over almost as soon as they begin; we choose what we want, perhaps negotiate pricing or continue browsing, but ultimately - decisions are made quickly. In a business to business sale, it’s quite the opposite. Depending on the product or solution in question, sales processes can take weeks, sometimes months. Remember - this doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job. It’s easy to come in for your first week, not close a sale and think you’re getting it all wrong; trust us - this is normal! Don’t let it get you down, the B2B sales pipeline is all about the waiting game - keeping sales leads interested for a long period of time, and engaging them over and over again. You need to push the sale of course, but don’t feel down when it takes a little longer than you’re used to.
There are more people involved
Part of the reason B2B sales take so long is due to the amount of people they involve. An average of seven decision makers are required to make a business purchase, so you’re selling to far more than just the one person on the end of a call! You need to sell to a room of people - all with different needs and opinions. No one said B2B sales was easy, and this is where you have your work cut out, but use your natural charisma, and do some research along the way - you’ll soon find a technique that works for you. Don’t see every new person introduced as another nut to crack, see it as another opportunity to show off your product and excite them - the more excited they are about your offering, the better introduction you’ll get to the next decision maker.
It’s not their money
It’s easy to forget, especially when you’re desperate to close a sale, but the money in question doesn’t belong to the decision maker! It belongs to their business, and if they don’t use it properly, there could be serious implications for them - so they need to be 100% sure. Some of the figures involved in B2B transactions are big numbers - would you invest a whole month’s worth of wages in something if you weren’t 110% sure? Probably not. If you want to make business decision makers part with their budgeted money, you have to show them what return they’ll get back from that investment. Businesses need to make money the same as you, they can’t just spend it on something they might need later, or that they just “like”. This is yet another reason that the process is getting lengthier.
Being a B2B salesperson
Now we know how the world of B2B stands apart from that of B2C, we can look to what you need to do as a B2B salesperson. Here are some helpful tips so you can get off to a strong start...
Know the buyer journey
In detail, buyer journeys differ for every business; some have demos, or trials, others just go straight into a quote and negotiation. Though you’ll need to be familiar with what journey you’ll take your prospective customer on, you also need to understand AIDA - so you know what your prospect has already been through. Here’s what we mean by AIDA:
Awareness - The prospect became aware of your brand and your offering.
Interest - The prospect became interested in the benefits of your service and they started researching further.
Desire – The prospect moved from “liking it” to “wanting it”.
Action - The prospect reached out to get in contact with the sales team (you!).
Now you know where your prospect stands on the sales pipeline, you can pick out points of the process and discuss it with them, to gain insight on why they’re keen to speak to you, and what knowledge they already have about the product. Knowing this ultimately helps that first call (which is always the hardest) - you’ll find it easier to get a grip on what your sales leads really want, so you can cater to the benefits they desire.
Focus on their business needs
In B2B sales, the needs of the prospect always come first. What problem/s are currently being faced by their business? Are they aware of the problem/s? Now ask - how can I help them through this specific problem? A prepared script won’t cut if you want to be great at B2B sales. You must mold your product to whatever the prospect needs - it’s as simple as that! If you forget this, or can’t be bothered to do it properly, you’ll lose sales you could have easily have closed with a little try.
Make the right connections
You need to make a business connection - like we mentioned above, based on their business goals and needs, but you also need to strike the right balance and make a personal connection. The best salespeople are memorable, not because they’re pushy, but because the prospect feels a fond emotion towards them. Achieve this by being relatable, and finding some sort of hook - a topic in common. Ask them about their recently passed weekend, or what their plans are for next weekend. From this, you’ll decipher what hobbies they have, if they have a family, and all sorts of other great info! Find something to latch on to, and roll with it, and don’t forget to be honest, be a real person. This will make you memorable, but also help on future calls, giving you a great starting point for conversations to boost that personal connection.
Know your tools
Your team will have some essential tools for sales, making all the processes easier and quicker. You’ll likely have some form of CRM, but do some research, and know what other tools are out there... Get yourself on LinkedIn - an account is free, so maximize your profile for B2B sales. Share content your organization produces, and be active on groups relevant to your buyers. You can also use it for research; discover your prospects before the first call and learn about their business and industry - you’ll find it even easier to make that personal connection!
Why not look into Lead Forensics? Our B2B lead generation tool identifies your anonymous business website visitors, and provides contact details, so you can follow up key decision makers who have already expressed an interest in what you’re offering. And by knowing what journey they took across your site, you can tailor your call to perfectly fit their business needs. Book your free demo today, and see how we can change the way you discover new business opportunities and fuel your sales pipeline!
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!