For business owners of B2B products or services, one of the most challenging aspects in running their business is to define sales strategies that actually work. This means not just getting potential leads, but actually converting them to paying customers. While there are tons of B2B sales strategies that can be found online, not all of them are proven to work.
B2B sales strategies have different approaches. What works well for some may not work well for others. However, there are frameworks or guidelines that you can follow that work for every business model. Here, we will discuss 8 proven B2B sales strategies to win more customers.
1. Creating a customer-centric focus
Providing a world-class experience for customers is what every business or organization should aim for. When a business creates a customer-centric focus, you are likely to gain the following:
- Win repeat customers
- Grow loyal clients
- Increase customer base
In fact, a study found that companies with a customer-centric focus are 60% more profitable. But this is easier said than done, right? How do you create a customer-centric focus in your business?
To build a customer-centric organization, you must:
- Establish a strong customer success department: Operating with a dedicated customer success team makes your customer service become focused and efficient. Customer success managers will ensure that users get maximum value from your product and meet their initial expectations.
- Orient all your employees to be customer-focused: Aside from the customer service teams, all your other employees — no matter what their designated departments are — should have customer satisfaction as their target goal. For example, if you are a software B2B, your developers should have the objective of creating software that provides a good user interface and user experience, content team should create content that resonates with and help customers, etc.
- Build relationships with customers: Building relationships with your clients is not just a one-time action. A relationship should last a long time. By building a connection with them in multiple ways, you’ll get honest feedback about your product, receive valuable recommendations, increase word of mouth, and increase repeat sales.
- Create business goals that focus on customers: Every business has goals or objectives to reach its target growth or profit. These objectives should always correlate to giving good customer experience by the end. It’s possible to achieve this by constantly adjusting your product-market fit to create a product that someone really needs.
2. Tailoring your sales approach
When you are tailoring your sales approach, you are sending the message to your customers that you value them. This is because a tailored sales approach is something personalized to them. And with that, you are likely to gain respect from your customers. Moreover, it will set you apart from your competitors who use generic and same-level sales methods.
Coming up with personalized sales strategies, however, is not easy. You need to come up with a systematic process in order to achieve this. Here are some tips in creating a tailored sales strategy:
- Do your research: When you are targeting a specific group of customers, it is crucial that you know them well. You should know their business, company background, key people, and other relevant information that would enable you to create a specific sales campaign for them.
- Open a two-way dialogue: When you are conversing with your potential customers or pitching your products and services, it should be a two-way communication channel. You should answer their questions and respond to their feedback. You should also be open to negotiations, especially if these will be beneficial to both parties.
- Focus on your customers' needs: While it is a good idea to showcase what you can offer, it is also a good idea to make your sales pitch all about them: how you can help make their business grow.
- Give them time: Pressing your potential customers is always a bad idea and could actually drive them away. When you are done delivering your sales pitch, give them a reasonable time to get back to you.
3. Building strong relationships
Building a strong relationship with your customers may seem easy at first, but in reality, it actually takes a lot of effort and time to build one. It doesn't happen overnight; you have to work on it continuously. Here are some tips on how to do so:
- Offer quality over quantity: Cliché, as it may sound, offering quality products or services rather than quantity, will help impress your customers, which in turn can help build a strong relationship. Instead of showing off how much you’re willing to lower your pricing, highlight how you can help their business grow instead.
- Do not rush things: As mentioned earlier, building customer relationships takes time. In fact, it can be likened to a dating relationship, which has four stages - the courtship, the attraction, the enlightenment, and finally, the commitment. Thus, you should invest effort and time in order to gain your customers' trust.
- Be transparent: Show your customers who you are as an organization. Build your brand with a good personality and let everyone in your company contribute to establishing this good image. Some practices of transparency include publishing publicly your company values, giving full disclosure on customer data collection, and providing pricing breakdown.
- Put personal touch: When dealing with customers, add a touch of a personalized approach. For example, you should be able to know by heart the names and background of the key stakeholders you are always dealing with, and call them by their first names, unless otherwise told not to. Another example is by giving customized packages and incentives that are exclusive to them. Your customers are, first and foremost, human beings too, and getting in personal touch with them actually helps build lasting relationships.
4. Solution selling
Your customer would want a vendor who can help them solve all their business challenges. Rather than providing mere products and services, offering actual solutions to their problems can help gain their trust. Also, through the continuous offering of these solutions, customers slowly build their confidence in your business, which can help build a strong relationship with them.
How do you perform solution-selling? The best technique here is to keep on uncovering the challenges your customers are facing. Cliche as it may sound, research and development is always the way to gain a deep understanding of their problems.
Keep in mind, do not sell features, rather, sell the outcomes of using your product and the results your customers can achieve from them.
5. Account-based selling
The account-based sales model is a type of sales strategy that identifies companies—referred to as "accounts"—and treats them as one. This model, which seemingly contradicts the "building strong relationships" strategy, is actually quite the opposite. Account-based selling can help you identify high-value markets, that is, those customers who are very likely to purchase from you. Here are suggested steps in implementing account-based selling:
- Align your sales and marketing strategies.
- Identify target accounts.
- Research on these accounts, including their internal pain points, challenges, and workflows.
- Determine the key people or stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions.
6. Using sales/buyer enablement
Sales enablement and buyer enablement should go hand-in-hand. As a supplier, you should procure all relevant information, training, guidance, and other necessary tools so your sales team can sell more efficiently. And for the buyer, they should be supplied with all of these before they can make a purchase.
Some of the best practices of sales enablement include:
- Creation of contents for every sales cycle stage
- Open and strong communication between sales and marketing teams
- Regular update of sales process based on customers' needs
- Results-driven activities
- Designating a proactive leader to guide the team
7. Consistency across various channels
In various channels where your business is present, like email, website, physical store, etc., it is important to show consistency. By doing so, you are establishing yourself a reputation of a credible supplier or vendor. Even if they don’t buy from the first visit to your website, consistency of your branding on other channels, like advertising, social media will make them remember your brand. Once the time to buy comes, your brand will be the one that pops in the mind of potential customers.
While it’s difficult to handle numerous customer contact channels, you should ensure that you and your team provide consistent service in key areas such as:
- Products or services features
- Customer information
- User interface
- User experience
- Customer service
8. Following up after the sale
Last but not the least, you should always check in with your customers after they purchase from you. This kind gesture shows that it is not just about the money, but that as a business, you actually care about their business too. Here are some tips for following up after a sale:
- Send a thank-you message: Whether through email or personal meeting, it is basic to always say ‘thank you’ to your customers.
- Ask how they find your products or services: After one to two weeks, it is always a good idea to give them a scheduled call or visit to ask for their feedback on how they are doing, how they find your products or services, and if there is anything you can do to help.
- Ask for reviews: If you have already established a good relationship with your customers, it won't hurt to ask them to leave public reviews.
- Open communication lines: Ensure your existing customers can always reach you at the channels they prefer to use. If ever there are changes in these contact points, they should know right away.
- Offer other solutions: While it may seem off, offering other products and services is actually a good idea and may just get you another sale.
- Ask for referrals: If your relationship with your customers is strong, asking them for leads or potential customers they know will not hurt. If they are pleased with you, giving you referrals will not be a problem for them.
Winner solutions in winning customers
Your utmost objective is to win more customers, make them repeat ones, and show loyalty both ways. There is no one-stop solution to do this—but using some of the best sales tools in 2022 will help ensure you do the job. And by following the steps suggested above, you have a high chance to achieve this.
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