B2B sales, the vital link, which keeps businesses connected.
Imagine you are in a room full of decision-makers from different industries. All of them have unique needs, problems, and goals in their businesses.
And Your goal?
Sell them something that will provide them value.
This is what goes behind the scenes of B2B sales.
By the way, In case you don’t know (which is almost impossible), B2B stands for “Business to Business.” B2B Sales is all about forging connections & creating opportunities between businesses.
To do these things, you need to know the dynamics of B2B Sales to get started.
In this blog article, we’ll discover the meaning of B2B sales, and the challenges faced by sales reps in B2B sales and will also lay down some strategies that help businesses empower their sales pipeline.
Without further delay, let’s get started.
What is B2B Sales?
B2B sales is when businesses sell their products and services to other businesses. Simply put, it’s business-to-business selling.
It’s different from selling to end customers like you & me (also called “B2C Sales”).
B2B sales require building relationships with other businesses, communicating with the stakeholders, and demonstrating the value of a product/service to drive sales. As a result, B2B sales usually take longer, involve many people, and have high prices.
Also, B2B sales need many touchpoints from the buyer’s end to come to a purchase decision.
B2B Sales Examples
Here are the five most common categories in which B2B companies operate. Try to identify the names of these companies.
B2B Sales in the manufacturing industry deal with a wide range of products, from raw materials and components to finished goods, hardware, and machinery.
Selling products to other businesses in the manufacturing industry can be difficult. It often includes big contracts and expensive items.
It is important to build strong relationships with customers. Many manufacturing businesses have long-term contracts with suppliers.
🔸 Software Solutions
The software solutions industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. B2B sales play a critical role in its success.
B2B software solutions can include many types of software, like ERP and CRM systems, and industry-specific software (like SmartReach).
🔸 Professional Services
The professional services industry includes many types of businesses like accounting, consulting, engineering, legal, branding, and digital marketing firms.
Business to business selling in the professional services industry involves selling various professional business services to other businesses.
🔸 Business Coaching
The business training industry is a large and growing industry, with a global market size of over $200 billion.
B2B selling in this industry involves one business helping other businesses train their workforce, In this industry, B2B sales are basically coaching services to other businesses.
🔸 Wholesale Distribution
B2B sales are important in wholesale distribution because they connect manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses.
Wholesale distribution means selling goods in bulk to other businesses instead of selling them to consumers.
They help businesses in the distribution of products efficiently & cost-effectively.
Importance of B2B Sales
The global economy relies on B2B sales. It contributes to GDP and creates many jobs.
From the POV of business, B2B sales are important because they:
📌 Empower business growth and scaling
B2B sales help businesses to reach new customers and markets, and to obtain the products and services they need to operate and grow.
📌 Drive innovation
Through B2B sales businesses create demand for new and innovative products and services, which spurs innovation in the economy.
📌 Build relationships
B2B sales is a relationship-driven business. B2B sales reps work closely with customers to understand their needs and give them the best solutions.
📌 Help expand into new markets
B2B sales can also help companies to expand into new markets. Companies can expand their customer base by selling to businesses in various industries and locations. This helps businesses capture more market share and distribute their products/services to more people.
B2B Sales vs B2C Sales: Where do they differ?
To understand the B2B sales process, you need to know how it’s different from B2C sales.
Here’s the difference between them at a glance.
|B2B Sales||B2C Sales|
|Price Point||Higher prices||Lower prices|
|Addressable Market Size||Few potential customers||Millions of consumers|
|Sales Process||Patience lead nurturing||Quick purchase decisions|
|Decision Makers||Multiple stakeholders||Single individual|
|Customer Service||Focus on customer experience||Varies in emphasis|
|Marketing Channels||Content Marketing, SEO, Affiliates, Ads||Ads, Social Media, SEO|
|Decision-Making Factors||ROI, business needs||Emotion, personal preference|
|Relationship Duration||Longer-term relationships||Shorter interactions|
|Product Customization||Customized solutions||Standardized products|
|Sales Volume||Larger orders/higher contract values||Smaller individual transactions|
|Sales Cycle Length||Longer, multi-stage cycles||Shorter, more immediate decisions|
|Sales Velocity||Slower sales cycles||Quicker sales cycles|
|Payment Terms||Negotiated terms, invoices, etc.||Immediate Payment|
Steps in the B2B Sales Process
B2B sales go through a complex yet structured process. It requires patience and a deep understanding of your client’s unique needs.
A B2B product/service company can adopt an inbound selling process, an outbound selling process, or both at the same time.
For this article, we are only focusing on the B2B Sales process for outbound.
Interested in learning more about sales processes in detail?
Then you must read 7 Sales Cycle Stages: Insights into Sales Process & Playbook
The outbound B2B Sales process usually has the following steps:
The B2B sales process starts with identifying the potential customers (also called ‘Prospects’).
This is the test for your research and lead-generation ideas.
In this stage, you find the decision-makers who can buy your product or service and benefit from it. This is often called ‘Lead Qualification’ in the sales.
Use data analytics and market research to find the right customers for your product/service.
Your goals are to find businesses that match what you offer and the decision-makers who may need your products or services.
After you have identified your prospects, it’s time to reach out to them.
Make that first connection through cold calls, emails, social media like LinkedIn or WhatsApp, or networking events.
When making initial contact, remember to deliver a clear and compelling value proposition of your product/service.
Ask yourself these three questions before you make an initial contact with the prospects:
– Do they really need your product/service?
– Why should they consider what you have to offer?
– What benefits do they get from your product/service?
In B2B sales, it’s crucial to understand the needs and challenges of your prospect.
Identifying prospect needs is the foundation of any successful sales process.
It helps you tailor your pitch to the specific needs of each customer, and it increases your chances of closing the deal.
Ask probing questions to identify their pain points and opportunities where your product or service can make a difference.
Don’t know which questions to ask your prospects?
The prospect needs can be something as simple as a need for more convenience, or it can be something more complex, like a need to improve efficiency or reduce costs.
For example, at SmartReach we help businesses improve their sales efficiency. So, we look for customers who are planning an overhaul of their sales outreach processes or looking for an alternative to their existing software.
Now, it’s time to create a customized proposal that addresses the specific needs of your prospect.
Whether you offer them a product/service, highlight the benefits and the value of your product/service in a clear, to-the-point manner. Emphasize how your solution can solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.
Pitch your product/service benefits in 3 metrics:
- It has to be measurable
- It has to be tangible
- It has to solve the prospect’s problem.
💡 Pro Tip: In your presentation don’t forget to include ‘Client Testimonials’.
In almost all B2B scenarios objections/questions will arise. These objections can range from budget concerns to time constraints to a lack of need for your product or service.
By anticipating and handling objections effectively, you can increase your chances of closing B2B sales deals.
It’s important to address these professionally. Provide evidence, share case studies, or offer testimonials to overcome objections.
Building trust is key here.
This is finally your limelight moment in this B2B sales journey.
You are about to sell your product/service to a prospect.
Reach an agreement with your B2B client, complete the terms, and get their commitment. Negotiate pricing and contract terms to ensure both parties are satisfied.
Wondering which sales closing technique to try and close your next prospect?
A B2B sale doesn’t end even after you close the deal.
Continue to engage with your clients post-sale to build a strong business relationship which is the pivot of B2B sales.
Exceptional customer service and support are key to ensuring long-term satisfaction.
Keep the communication active and open and provide ongoing support.
Look for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell related products or services as the relationship deepens.
B2B sales are like a journey. You need to plan, adapt, and understand your clients.
Best B2B Sales Strategies?
In today’s competitive B2B landscape, the success of sales largely depends on what sales strategies you employ.
Most B2B companies fail to employ the right sales strategies and their sales reps struggle to hit the monthly numbers. This directly impacts the top line of any business.
To solve this problem, use the right sales strategy and apply it to all parts of the business.
Below, I have laid out 3 best performing B2B Sales strategies that any B2B offering business can adopt and implement.
Account-Based Selling (ABS)
Account-based selling is a precise method that focuses on individual key accounts. It treats each account as its own market.
The strategy uses multiple touchpoints and multi-outreach to stay connected with stakeholders at the target company.
Sales reps find prospects from their ideal customer profile, study their specific problems, and customize their sales approach.
ABS is very effective because it shows a deep understanding of what the client wants.
According to a report by Alterra Group, 97% of marketers said that ABM (Account-Based Marketing) has a higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.
The reason for ABS is clear. It creates better connections, higher conversion rates, and bigger deals.
How to implement: Start by conducting thorough research and develop an ICP. Leverage data analytics and CRM tools to track customer behavior. Use a sales engagement tool to execute the multi-channel outreach part.
For instance, one of our clients Media Matrix implemented ABS and used SmartReach in their B2B sales outreach campaigns, and saw ~21% spike in their MRR within 3 months.
68% of B2B customers use search engines and social media to find solutions.– Forrester Research (2023 EnvisionB2B Conference & Exhibition, held June 20-22 in Chicago.)
Social selling means using social media to connect with potential customers, build relationships, and make sales.
Sales reps can build rapport with prospects by sharing relevant content on these platforms.
It’s a free lead nurturing system that requires little to no effort.
How to implement: Sales reps should establish and manage a professional online presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. Then, engage with prospects through relevant content and personalized messaging.
For example, Oracle’s social selling initiative increased its social reach by 7x and engagement by 2x within a year.
Sales automation tools can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of B2B sales.
These tools make sales easier by saving time and letting reps focus on important tasks like finding leads and following up.
According to a study by InsideSales.com, automation can lead to a 10% or greater increase in revenue within 6-9 months.
Automation minimizes administrative tasks, allowing sales teams to spend more time on selling.
It ensures that no lead falls through the cracks and that follow-ups are timely and consistent.
How to implement: Automation tools, such as CRM systems and email outreach platforms, provide data-driven insights. Sales teams use these insights to make informed decisions.
SmartReach is one of the most preferred sales engagement platforms for business to business selling. It lets you automate every stage of your outreach process across multiple channels like email, LinkedIn, Calling, WhatsApp, and text. SmartReach automates all aspects of your campaigns, from sending messages to tracking performance.
So that you can focus on what’s important- selling!
Try free for 14 days to see if it works for you. (You don’t need a credit card for free trial)
How to overcome B2B Sales Challenges?
Long sales cycles
The average B2B sales cycle is 102 days, according to HubSpot.
B2B sales often involve many stakeholders, complex decision-making processes, and high-value purchases.
To be successful, it’s important to move buyers through the stages without seeming too aggressive.
- Identify and target key decision-makers early on. This will help you to tailor your messaging and get the right people involved in the sales process sooner.
- Provide value to your prospects at every stage of the sales cycle. This could include things like educational content, demos, and case studies. Create a feeling of a thoroughly personalized experience.
- Use a Sales Engagement Platform to track your progress and identify any bottlenecks. This will help you to keep your deals moving forward. You will be able to see what’s working and what’s not and set your strategies accordingly.
Lack of buyer insights
It can be difficult to understand the needs and pain points of your target buyers, especially if you’re selling to a complex market.
- Conduct regular market research. This could involve surveys, interviews, ICP updates, and industry research. You do this to observe the market trend for your offered product/service. Also, you’ll be able to sync up with the changing tastes & preferences of your target buyers.
- Use social listening tools. In B2B Sales it’s almost a norm to monitor what your prospects are talking about online. This can give you valuable insights into their needs and challenges. You may use a tool such as Oktopost for social listening.
- Analyze your own sales data. This can help you to identify trends and patterns that can inform your buyer personas.
Finding quality prospect data
According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 61% of B2B marketers send leads to sales teams, but only 27% of those leads are qualified.
This means that the majority of sales reps are spending their time on prospects who are unlikely to buy.
It may happen due to two reasons.
Reason 1) Sales & marketing teams qualify prospects based on wrong parameters.
Reason 2) Some companies buy lead lists instead of investing in data-driven sales, which is a huge mistake.
Lead lists are often wrong and old. They might not have the info of interested people. This can waste your time and money.
- Implement a data-driven sales strategy. This involves creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) and using data to identify and target prospects who meet that profile. This will help you to ensure that you are spending your time with the right people, and increase your chances of success.
- Use lead verification Tool. To verify prospect information such as email addresses, use a lead verification tool. Use a tool such as ProspectDaddy to verify prospect email addresses with ease.
B2B sales is a competitive landscape. New players enter this landscape and old players expand their offerings.
Imagine a lead comes to you with a list of features that they need in a product. Your product doesn’t have all of those features, but your competitor’s product does.
What do you do?
This is a common scenario in the global B2B market.
Leads are often aware of what your competitors offer, and they’re not afraid to ask you about the features that your product doesn’t have.
But how do you deal with such increased competition?
- Promote your UVP. Identify your unique value proposition (UVP) and communicate it clearly to your prospects. It helps you stand out from the competition and establish your brand differentiation.
- Focus on building relationships with your prospects and becoming a trusted advisor.
- Offer excellent customer service and support.
To Sum it up
Are you busy & only interested to see the key takeaways from this article?
Here’s a quick recap for you:
- B2B sales, or business to business selling, drive growth for many businesses.
- It’s not just about transactions. It’s also about building relationships, providing value, and solving complex business problems.
- B2C differs from B2B in terms of the target market. B2B sales caters to business needs. B2C sales for individual needs.
- To succeed in business to business selling, you need to use effective strategies like Account-Based Selling, Social Selling, and Sales Automation.
- B2B sales can be challenging due to extended sales cycles, many decision-makers, and strong competition.
However, if you approach these challenges with a positive attitude, determination, and a focus on finding solutions instead of dwelling on problems, you can overcome them like an expert.
What other strategies do you use in your B2B Sales process?
Let us know in the comments below.