When it comes to B2B sales it can be a very frustrating situation when you are not getting the expected results. After spending so much effort, energy, and doing the right things if prospects are not buying from you then you need to start analyzing your data and re-look on your sales & marketing activities to acquire new customers.
B2B sales are different from B2C where you have a lot of walk-in and inquiries and they are easily converted into sales within a short period. So the sales & marketing strategy should be different when it comes to B2B. Below are some of the points to consider or to make the correction on your activities to acquire new customers in B2B Sales.
What are your prospects buying?
Firstly, you must figure out who is your target audience. This can be done by visualizing who could need your product/services and what is the typical solution you can solve to make your prospects’ life easier. So the first step is to find what pain or problem your prospects are experiencing, what causes them to wake up at night cold sweat, what they are not satisfied with.
What your prospect buy is a solution to their problem! You can find out by simply asking “What is the challenge you are facing right now?”, “What would you change or do differently in the current product?” “If I could give you the ideal product, what features it will have?”, “What you don`t want to see in your ideal product/service?”
Start Creating Relationship:
In Sales, there is a saying ” you don’t close a sale you open a relationship” you have to build a relationship with people. People buy from people they usually like, trust, and believe they can help them.
Below are some things to make a note while building a relationship with your prospects.
Speak about what they want and not what you want.
Make them feel important-all people deserve to feel this way.
Don’t argue with your prospects. No winners in an argument.
Be honest and no one likes liars.
Listen to your prospects. It is a rare commodity today.
Build your value:
What your prospects expect out of your product/services is value. Selling is a process of exchanging value for money, and the bigger your value the more you will get paid. The bigger problem a prospect has and the more it is urgent the value of solving it goes up. If we have a desire or a need goes up the value of the solution or getting that desire also will go up. So CREATE VALUE!
If you have already set up your website and company’s domain email address, now it’s the time to build a Marketing Infrastructure for your small business. The first mistake most of the startup or small businesses make once they are in the market is, they focus more on branding their business instead of sales. They put so much effort into marketing, putting the name out in the market, spends a lot in advertising, and expect that result will flow in soon. It’s like you spray a beautiful essence of perfume and you expect people to walk into your business by that aroma.
Let us understand first What is Marketing Infrastructure? and Why it is necessary to start building Marketing Infrastructure for your small business?
As I mentioned earlier most of the startup & small businesses do random acts of marketing to attract customers. The reason is they are not building a Marketing Infrastructure – a system where a cold lead enters one end and turns into a raving fan customer on the other end.
You need to have that marketing infrastructure built so that which will constantly bring in new leads, follow them up, nurture, and convert them into a raving fan customer. For a small business or startup if you lay the foundation of Marketing Infrastructure, I am sure you reap a lot of benefits in the long run.
To build the system, you need to think through from start to end. You will need to understand how it works and what resources will need to run it. Below are some of the assets you can start building for your Marketing Infrastructure.
Inquires or Lead Capture Websites.
Whitepaper of your product/services that you offer
All of these have a place and a purpose, the ads that you run can be design to plug cold leads into the system and convert them into a raving fan customer. Just like it takes time to build networks or roads, it does take time to build a Marketing Infrastructure, and after that its just the maintenance.
Let me know in the comment section below if you are also building one of these, I would love to hear that and happy to help to cover any of the topics above.
When I communicated with a lot of MBA’s the first thing that I ask is “Why MBA?” some of them remain clueless to give any answers, while other wanted to complete an MBA to maintain their status quo but few of them were clear on their career path and how an MBA degree would add credibility in the long run. I have always suggested a young professional or a fresher out of college that before thinking of enrolling yourself for an MBA, get some hands-on experience in any noble profession that will or not give you a path to pursuit with your career.
Being in corporate for 8+ years, I still ask myself that do I need an MBA to progress ahead with my career or shall I keep learning without pursuing an MBA further. I have also realized that no matter you have a degree or not, the learning process never stops. To progress in your life & career, be a life long student. The world moving ahead with the advancement in technologies, AI, automation & machine learning being the buzz word we need to have that paradigm shift in our thoughts to achieve faster & better results towards our work.
Getting an MBA degree or graduating from one of the ivy colleges has no longer been the main criteria to get a job in one of the MNC’s or high profile jobs in this 21st century. If you see companies from the likes of Google, Microsoft, or Tesla no longer need an MBA or a 4-year college degree to land a job there.
You need to be an expert in your profession and as I mentioned earlier the learning process should never stop.
Your five years of life & career will entirely depend on the kind of books that you read and the people you are around it.
When I come across a lot of MBA’s graduate, they do not want to start their career with Sales. They are always on the lookout to get into Business Management or Marketing, Business Operations, etc. They always have a fear of dealing with the pressure, rejections in Sales.
The point is if you want to understand how any business functions, get into Sales. If you want to know how the revenue of a company is flowing, get into Sales. No company or organization can function without Sales and every company requires a Sales Men to get the money flowing.
Below are some of the points to keep in mind when starting with your Sales Career.
The first and only rule is to be very self-disciplined with your job.
You will face a lot of rejections while reaching out to prospects and it should not be taken personally.
Always know your audience whom you are targeting.
Follow your instinct and be a solution provider, not a salesman with your prospects.
Be very passionate about your job and always keep learning to improve yourself.
The more time you will spend on this career the more skills you will acquire and the more time you will face with your customers/prospects the better you will familiarize yourself with the products/services that you sell.
You will also have very good control over spoken & written communications as you will be interacting with your prospects/customers every time.
There is also a lot of commission that Salespeople earn with their job apart from their Salary. Once you start receiving this commission you will certainly have financial freedom.
The more you will sell, the more commission you will earn.
Targeting the right prospect for your B2B sales can be very challenging. You should know everything about your target prospects from their demographics and interest to their buying behaviors.
The better you understand your prospects and their pain points and motivations, the easier it will be for you to target and convert your leads into sales.
Below are some of the elements to target the right prospects:
The Account Development Framework: Account Development is a phone-based team focused exclusively on identifying, connecting with, and qualifying leads to generate an early-stage pipeline for the sales organization.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): A Sales executive should primarily focus that fits the ideal customer profile. The Ideal Customer Profile defines the type of accounts that the organization believes are most likely to close.
Buyer Persona: The target Buyer Persona describes the attributes of the individual prospects within an account that are ideal contacts in a sales process. Personas help you articulate the prospect’s pain point in their language.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive to follow up. The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive follow up. The MQL definition tells you who to reach out to next.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a lead that meets the organization’s definition of qualification and is ready for a conversation with sales. The SQL definition is the minimum threshold a prospect must meet to be accepted as sales qualified. You must have an answer to each of these requirements for SQL to be ready to convert to sales.
People who work in sales have the ability to speak well and to convey their ideas and their solutions. Great salespeople always find their way to improve their communication skills of listening first.
Why is it Important to Improve your Communications in Sales?
To be a success in sales, you need to have the ability to gather and provide information in a way that makes your prospect want to do business with you. The way how you convey your value proposition, your pricing, even your product’s features. You should be able to get your prospects to talk to you and listen to what you have to say.
You have to be an exceptional listener, the first step to communicate well is to know that listening well is more important. Listening to your prospects without your thoughts wandering or planning your responses, is an act of caring. It builds the rapport and connection that speaking does not.
Write, rehearse, and use your scripts while communicating with your prospects. Prospects will have questions for a needs-analysis, handling problem that occurs. You should be able to communicate with your elevator pitch, objections handling skills. This will demonstrate your competency and capabilities.
Prospects and clients use words that they have attached a certain meaning. The words your prospects use brings to their mind a certain picture and certain emotions. Listen carefully for the language that your prospects and clients use and capture their word choices. Use their word choices in your communications and presentations.
The greatest ways to improve your communications in sales is to practice speaking well in front of groups and taking their feedback and suggestions in a very positive attitude and always on the lookout to improve.
Lastly, practice the art of listening by first controlling your desires to speak.
Finding the right prospects for your business and then nurturing them into leads are the building blocks of a sales cycle. First of all, we need to understand.
What is a prospect?
Prospect is someone who has an interest in your business and your products. Prospect is someone who has a need, interest in what you have to offer.
We need to first understand who are our target audience before even start prospecting. What is that our solutions provide that add values to the prospect. We should be very convinced of our solutions or products that will benefit the prospect.
There are various ways of finding the right prospects for your business.
Referrals from your existing customer: Salespeople use this tactic to get the maximum sale. Existing customers will most likely refer you to others who are also in need of your product or services.
Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter offer a great way to connect and network with your prospect. It is also a great platform to start creating and nurturing relationships through engaging in conversations, sharing relevant content, and generally getting to know the people who are keen followers of your brand.
Networking Events and trade Shows: When participating in trade shows & networking events, Mingle! Engage with people face-to-face, tell them about yourself, your business, and your product and ask about them. Exchange contact details, add them to your database, and keep in touch.
Cold Calling & Email: This is one of the old school and the most effective way to find new prospects for your business. Be consistent on these two approaches, you may get a lot of rejection with these methods however I can promise that it will give you the best result if you are consistent.
Prospecting is the art of opening new relationships.
It’s not necessary that every prospect we met was ready to buy. Most of the sales cycle takes a longer time than we would like. This requires salespeople to have patience, be persistent, however most importantly to stay in the mind of potential buyers. If you are wondering how to stay in touch with your prospect without harassing them, here is what I recommend.
Ways to keep in touch without harassing your prospect:
Clients are like plants, you have to keep watering if you want them to grow. This means you need to have a good relationship based on strong communications. Getting a bit personal with your client is no harm, you can throw in a little ‘intelligence’ about each client, i.e. listing what they like and something about their personal life.
Send them regular newsletters, informing about your work, press releases, a blog post which they may find interesting, latest updates on the industry there are into. It’s also a great way to keep communication.
Make use of Social Media such as LinkedIn, Twitter to stay connected with your prospect. Once you have made the initial connection with your prospect, search them whether they are active on these Social Media channels. Invite or follow them to connect with you and you will a fair idea on what kind of articles, blogs & content they consume which is also useful to build strong communications.
Nothing beats having voice communication with your prospect, make it a practice to call your prospect on their special occasions like to wish them or on Christmas & New Years Holidays.
Believe your instincts or gut feeling, for example, If you haven’t spoken to a client for some time and you get that gut feeling they might be thinking about you, pick up the phone and call them.
The one common topic that most of the successful salespeople talk about is how much they owe their achievement to their mentors. Whether it’s a closing technique, following up with a potential prospect, or that little push they attribute their accomplishment, to having a guru to guide them.
Not every successful salesperson is a perfect guru for you, though. You need to find someone whom you admire who is successful, a good listener, and positive. Below are some of the tips to help you find the right Sales Guru:
What is that you want in a guru: Find someone who will guide you, help you overcome a particularly difficult challenge you are facing. Think about what is that you are hoping to gain from the relationship with your guru. What personal or business challenges are you hoping to overcome? Maybe you see yourself following a similar career path as your Sales Guru and want to know how s/he got there.
Look for someone who is successful & a good listener: Look for a guru who listens to understand and not to give a reply. S/he should understand you and offer a sounding board for the sales & career issues you are facing. Look for a guru with proven sales success, experience overcoming challenges, and achieving goals that are similar to your own.
A Sales Guru can catapult your success and once you start looking, you’ll notice potential candidates all around you. Set an appointment to talk over coffee. You might be surprised at how open they are to help, and just how much you’ll gain from the experience!
If you land in a new town in some state you are not familiar with without GPS and a map, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to find your way to destination. Why? Because you would not have a plan a map or direction.
The achievement of our goals is like setting the destination on your GPS system. The GPS system needs only two coordinates to give direction to your goals.
Where are you.
Where are you going.
Below are some of the steps which you can follow to activate your GPS system:
Pin your destination in your GPS system: What does that mean? Let’s say for an example you need to loose weight, look fit & fine. The first step is picture yourself in the position which you want to see and then identify why you want to achieve it. Is it because you want to live a healthy live? Is it because you want to enhance your self esteem? The most power technique to achieve your goal is to identify the reason behind achieving it to begin with.
Be fully committed to your Goals: Always be honest to yourself, are you willing to sacrifice other things in order to achieve your goals? Are you willing to work on your goals no matter any situation come across you? So be fully committed to your goals because that’s necessary in order to achieve them.
Clearly articulate your Goals: Take time to clearly articulate your goals and exactly what is you want to achieve. Be as specific as possible when you are writing down your goals. Don’t write down a goal “to be successful” — no one knows what that means including yourself. Instead write down, “I want to be making hundred thousand dollars a year within 12 months from now.”