Successful B2B sales require a specialized set of skills and strategies. Because small and medium-sized business owners and managers are generally incredibly busy and cost-conscious, a poorly tailored marketing message or ill-informed sales pitch will quickly put them off.
In this article, we will define the business-to-business selling process and show you 6 strong techniques you can use to sell to any business, even the biggest and most innovative companies.
What Are B2B Sales?
Business-to-business selling is both an art and a science. It is the process that one business uses to sell its products or services to another business.
The B2B sales process is very different from B2C sales which involve selling your products directly to consumers.
To be successful in B2B sales you have to take time to learn about your client’s business, build meaningful relationships and connect with decision makers at the company you are selling to.
How To Do B2B Sales
Before we explain our B2B sales techniques there are several other techniques to use when it comes to selling your products or services to another business. As we have mentioned before, these a few things to keep in mind when selling:
- Selling is 60 percent listening and 40 percent talking. When you’re having a conversation with a customer, your main goal is always to figure out how (and whether) you can help that customer. This is impossible when your mouth is open.
- Customers care about their business, not about you. Every sales conversation should take place from the customer’s perspective rather than from your perspective. It’s never “my product is great.” It’s always “here’s how I can help.”
- Selling is all about relationship-building. Contrary to much of the foolishness that gets passed around as “sales wisdom,” customers will only buy from you if they trust you, respect you, and like you. Everything else pales by comparison.
Here are six important B2B sales tips to use:
Show How You Solve A Business Problem For Them
Once you have spent time learning about your client’s business, the next step is to think about the role your product or service can play in that business. This is the essence of building a value proposition around what you sell – seeing how your product or service can help the client achieve their business goals more quickly, cheaply or effectively than they could without it.
This is easier said than done. Use research and your anecdotal experience to identify the issues and products or services that will tend to be relevant to clients.
Know How Decisions Are Made
In order to close a deal, you need to understand how decisions are made. If you don’t understand the process, your sale will be delayed, or worse, you won’t have a sale to delay at all! You can have a single decision-maker (like the CEO of a small company), a single decision maker that requires approval (like the CEO who needs board approval) and multiple decision makers (Even though there may be one person who approves the final decision, this person relies heavily on the decisions made by a team, or in some cases, group consensus.)
Participate in Industry Events
If you serve a particular industry, participating in industry functions such as associations and trade organizations is a great way to learn and meet people within the industry. Your aim is to become an active participant, become a regular contributor, and essentially become a fixture at industry events.
Partner with Non-Competing Vendors
The easiest place to find a warm introduction to a company is via those who already sell to that company. Seek out these relationships and share your solution with them. Vendors who are already inside a company have a keen perspective on the company’s needs.
The best rainmakers usually aren’t looking for a job at the moment, but those are precisely the ones you want. Hire a headhunter, and offer your prospect a better package selling a better product. Remember that top salespeople already make a ton of money, so offering more money isn’t good enough. You’ll need to help support their growth. You need to identify their professional and personal goals and be the one to make it come to life. It could be anything from the need for ownership through stock options or equity buy-in to new responsibilities to a work-life balance.
Acquire or Partner with Competitors
You must network with competitors as well. There are two things you’re looking for: a partnership or an acquisition. For example, let’s say you sell a stand-alone functional software system that services smaller volume customers better, while your competitor, who you’re friendly with, concentrates on mid-tier larger volume clients where integration is required. Bingo! This is a great opportunity to serve one another. In regard to acquisitions, the question is how do you acquire if you don’t have a large amount of cash or credit? Be creative. These opportunities don’t just pop out of the blue. They require that you build relationships with competitors. When the opportunity presents itself, such as when a competitor is struggling financially, they’ll reach out to you for help.
B2B Sales Techniques
When it comes to B2B sales, relationships are everything. You need to be able to solve problems, meet influential people through industry events, and understand how decisions are made within your target businesses.
For a more in-depth explanation of the B2B sales approach, check out our entrepreneur training program