B2B Sales 101: Definition, Techniques & More

Last updated on February 04, 2019 by Wart Fransen in Sales
B2B Sales 101: Definition, Techniques & More

We all know that making a sale is the act of exchanging a product or service in return for cash, but there is far more to selling than what meets the eye.

Business-to-business (B2B) sales significantly led business-to-consumer (B2C) sales in 2020  with a 12% market share for B2B alone and a share of 38% for B2B and B2C combined.

This article examines 10 effective business strategies for closing B2B sales. Using the information provided, you’ll be able to determine which selling techniques are best suited for your company and how you can use them to increase B2B sales.

Use the links below to navigate each section:

What Are B2B Sales?

B2B sales occur when one company sells products or services to another company. B2B selling is often a complex process, involving several decision-makers to close a sale.

There are two types of B2B sales:

Example 1: A business selling products to a company that can then use those products to manufacture or sell their own products. One example of this is a food wholesaler selling ingredients to a bakery. In turn, the bakery uses those ingredients to produce their baked goods.

BidFood is an example of a B2B seller that provides food for businesses that take those products and use them to service their customers.

Example 2: A business selling products or services that meet other companies’ needs. For instance, a company selling software services, such as an email or e-commerce platform.

How Are B2B Sales Different from B2C Sales?

In contrast to business-to-business selling, B2C sales refer to business-to-customer sales—when a company sells products or services directly to consumers.

A few examples of B2C selling include:

  • A sales representative selling a gym membership to a person
  • A grocery store selling groceries to the public
  • An online fashion store selling clothing to individuals
  • Retail stores selling a range of goods to consumers

The buyer of the goods or service is the end-user of the product.

A company can offer both B2B and B2C selling—a hotel selling rooms to individual consumers and conference rooms to businesses is one example.

B2C selling strategies can include using marketing campaigns to provoke an emotional response from the buyer, using social media influencers to create a connection with the buyer, and hosting contests.

B2B sales techniques require marketing strategies which are usually directed to a company’s specific requirements.

Let’s delve into 10 B2B strategies you can use to increase your sales.

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10 Effective B2B Sale Strategies

1. Research Your Prospects

Having a thorough understanding of who your prospects are can make or break your sales conversion rate. Research shows that at least 50% of prospects are not a good fit for your product or service.

Gathering the right data from your prospects will help you identify those with the highest likelihood of converting into a successful sale. To obtain this information, you must research your prospects.

Learning what you need to know to understand your prospects’ needs doesn’t have to be time-consuming. By focusing on the questions listed below you can easily educate yourself on where a potential business prospect got its start, its size, and its goals for the future.

Your research should involve finding the answers to core questions such as:

  • What does the business offer?
  • What is the company’s history or background?
  • Does this business have a stated mission and company values? If so, what are they?
  • How large is the company?
  • How many employees do they have?

Search the company website to find answers to these questions.

A Google search for company mentions in publications can offer insight into recent news about the business. You can also gather important information by exploring the prospect company’s social media platforms. Read any blog posts the company has posted to gain an in-depth understanding of the products or services it is currently focusing on.

2. Know the Decision-Makers

Decision-makers in the B2B selling process can include sales representatives, senior executives, the board of directors, the financial department, legal services, researchers, CEOs, and more. In a business with 100-500 employees, on average seven decision-makers are involved in the majority of B2B purchases. With several decision-makers to impress, effective marketing is the difference between getting a no or a yes to your sales proposal.

Reach out directly to key decision-makers to save time in your sales process. You’ll often find key decision-makers listed on your prospect’s website, which may appear in the ‘about us’ or ‘our story’ section.

For example, Eight Hour Day Studio uses  its ‘about us’ page to provide visitors with a personal statement from the company’s two founders:

eight hour day studio personal statement from the founders

Source

The company website contact page may also provide suggestions about whom to reach out to for purchasing decisions. For instance, a contact person listed as the head of the department that would be using your product is often a good place to start.

LinkedIn is a goldmine for finding key players in a company. See if you can find information on who works for the company, their role or title, and how long they have been employed there. Those who have only recently been hired may not have as much influence in decision-making as others.

Once you’ve identified a few promising potential prospects, you can use an email finder to locate the prospect’s email address.

3. Know Your Prospects’ Pain Points

Before you contact a prospect, you’ll need to be aware of how your product or service addresses their organization’s pain points. Ask yourself, what does your prospect require that you can offer a solution to?

Can your business provide a better alternative to any products or services the prospect company is currently using? If so, you should emphasize this fact in your conversation with a key decision-maker.

For example, if your prospect is using social media adverts to drive traffic to their website, you can ask them if this method has been meeting company goals. This presents the opportunity for you to offer an alternative that may be more cost-effective and/or provides improved results.

4. Know Your Prospects’ Competitors

Analyzing your prospect’s competitors allows you to determine what they’re doing better.

While decision-makers don’t enjoy hearing which aspects of their business are not performing as well as their competitors, you can use this information to your advantage by showcasing how your product or service will give them an edge over their rivals.

5. Focus on Building Relationships

Because the B2B sales process typically takes longer to complete in comparison to B2C selling, developing a close relationship with your prospects is often highly beneficial. Building and maintaining these business relationships is vital, as the majority of B2B sellers lose 45 to 50% of their clients over five years.

In comparison to B2C businesses, which tend to have one-off payments or small subscription dues, B2B sales are generally of higher value than B2C sales, representing thousands of dollars in revenue. Losing just one customer can create a huge dent in revenue. So, it’s essential to place your customers at the heart of your business.

Social distancing, lockdowns, and other global restrictions have changed how marketers operate in both B2B and B2C spaces. Webinars, online communities, and forums are valuable tools you can use to enhance your reach to key decision-makers.

In fact, 73% of B2B marketers agree that webinars were the best lead generation tool in 2020. Surveys show that a full 91% of webinar attendees look forward to the post-presentation Q and A session. This makes the Q and A forum at the end of each webinar the perfect place to boost your B2B loyalty.

The average webinar yields a whopping 55% conversion rate.

Focus on developing valuable relationships with your customers to fuel your marketing efforts. Customer satisfaction prevents your customers from leaving and helps you hook new prospects.

Having a valued relationship with your customer also encourages them to talk about your product or service. Word-of-mouth endorsement is the most powerful aspect influencing a purchasing decision.

With the B2B sales cycle taking between four to seven months to complete due to the number of individuals who have a say in purchasing decisions, building a good working relationship with your prospects is extremely valuable.

How can you build meaningful relationships with your prospects?

  • Create a lead nurturing strategy. In other words, help your prospects to get to know your business. According to Forrester Research, businesses with an effective lead nurturing strategy generate 50% more sales.
  • Educate and inform via your marketing strategies. This can include content marketing.
  • Build trust by acknowledging your prospects concerns. We’ll go into detail on this topic shortly.

When it comes to building customer relationships, think about the long-term focus of your B2B company. Focus not only on closing the sale but also on prioritizing customer satisfaction.

6. Build an Effective Website

Statistics from 2020 show that 73% of Millennial workers are key decision-makers in what products or services the companies they work for purchase. Research also shows that these Millennial B2B buyers rely on Internet search and visiting the websites of prospective vendors to inform their purchasing decisions.

It’s clear that having a dedicated website for your B2B company is vital to ensuring potential prospects have a clear understanding of your business and all that you have to offer. A well-designed website can help you stand out from your competition by allowing you to present your company’s mission and values in addition to the range of products or services you supply.

7. Establish a Social Media Presence

Social media has been one of the most powerful platforms to increase B2B outreach. The pandemic caused much of the world to rapidly shift to working online. Marketers are seizing the opportunity to innovate and increase their audience engagement.

Social media use is also on the rise with business leaders. More than 84% of VP-level or C-suite executives cite social media as a driving force that influences their marketing decisions. For instance, more than 97% of B2B marketers and decision-makers have relied on LinkedIn to determine where to purchase goods and services.

8. Social Selling

Social selling is another option to consider. Companies incorporating social selling into their B2B sales strategies perform 15% better than those without a social selling strategy.

Social selling helps you find and target key decision-makers, focus on real people, and establish warm leads. In contrast, traditional selling involves cold leads and finding random contacts, making the selling process more difficult.

However, you should not rely on online marketing and sales entirely. Research shows that up to 57% of C-suite executives and 51% of directors still prefer to take calls over other means of communication.

executive response to sales outreach by content type

Source

9. Create Content to Aid Your Prospect

Creating engaging content continues to be one of the biggest challenges businesses face. Blog posts are playing a major role in current online marketing plans. In 2020, 89% of content marketers incorporated blog posts into their overall content creation strategy.

Thought leadership is one of the best ways to build your organization’s reputation and resonate with the top decision-makers in your B2B audience. Recent research shows that thought leadership has a massive 89% impact on how prospects view your company and a staggering 49% impact on your sales rate. Yet, only 17% of B2B marketers use it correctly.

Your content marketing strategy should include resolving any foreseeable queries your prospect might have. A sound and consistent content marketing strategy can establish your brand as a leader and authority within your market.

Create a content library to guide prospects through the buyer’s journey and provide knowledge to help them make a buying decision. Your content library should include content which answers your prospects’ queries. Research has demonstrated that decision-makers are more responsive to salespeople who include articles, case studies, and/or white papers in their outreach.

10. Utilize Email Marketing

According to a 2019 report, email marketing delivers the biggest return on investment in comparison to other marketing tactics. Email marketing has been shown to have a 4200% return for every dollar spent.

Email marketing is a crucial part of your B2B sales strategy, assisting in turning prospects into buyers. Once a prospect has given their consent for you to email them, you can use a variety of email marketing content to nurture the relationship.

Lead Generation Software for B2B Sales

Lead generation platforms like LeadBoxer provide real-time data analytics about visitors to your website. LeadBoxer offers the capability to integrate all lead and customer profile behavioral data so your sales teams can take advantage of lead scoring, which makes it possible to identify and segment quality leads with the highest likelihood of successfully converting into a sale.

Take advantage of LeadBoxer’s free trial to learn how automated lead generation can increase your sales.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Lead Identification and Lead intelligence through website & email tracking

Watch Video or Book Demo