5 key B2B sales tips to a successful 2017
Selling B2B has evolved and to some businesses, the pinch is creating the need for some critical decisions. Economic and political uncertainty doesn't help...we need a good 2017!!
So with all that in mind, we thought we would reiterate some of the key 'anchors' that should hold down your B2B sales strategy and help deliver consistent (and successful) sales behaviour across your team.
These are proven tips and techniques which we integrate within our clients' business development teams so be confident to use them, as they work!
1. Differentiate your product/service
Our strap line is 'Stand out from the crowd'. And for good reason. As hard as it might be, it is crucial that you define what makes your business different from the competition and communicate that through content and branding.
Intangibles such as 'we provide a better service/we offer a more personalised approach' aren't worth the paper they are written on....the buyer needs evidence. If the above is your differentiating factor, great, prove it through client testimonials that communicate the point tangibly for example.
2. Research your competition
Everyone it seems nowadays is getting pretty good at using online resources and social media to gain information but it's amazing how few of the companies we meet, are putting aside time each month to use those same resources, to evaluate their competition.
This isn't about copying them but it's certainly all about understanding what is working well for them and what isn't. For example, if you're trying to build engaging content into your website, blog, social media etc then select 4 or 5 of the key influencers or biggest competitors within your industry and study the results of their Linkedin updates, Tweets, Google+ and Blog posts....the numbers of people engaging with them and HOW they are engaging, are all there to see....this data can help you build a clear picture of what's working and what's not.
3. Research your prospect
Linked to Point/Tip number 1 above, one of the things that will benefit your engagement levels with a new prospect and differentiate you from your competitors, is knowing much more than them about the company, person and problem that you are contacting. The problem to this is the time it takes of course, so you want to agree a consistent process and time limit for researching each prospect (5 minutes for example, searching their Linkedin/Twitter profiles, company pages, website and google search...gathering the notes...CONTACT).
The power of this approach if undertaken consistently and time-effectively is immense. For example, we recently supported a large insurer broker client in this area, developing a consistent research approach prior to prospecting target prospect. When the phone call went into the prospect, the insurance broker was armed with a crucial piece of information (that the prospect had recently launched a new product in the Marine industry, a sector our insurance client specialised in) that no other competitor broker either seemed aware of or discussed.....time and again this was leveraged throughout negotiations until finally the deal was won. Small point, big outcome!
4. Cut to the chase: What's your solution?
Probably the most annoying and frustrating part of being sold to, is the sales person who spends far too much time 'buttering' the prospect up....trying to develop the relationship too quickly. Relationships, as in real life, develop over time. Whilst you need to show a degree of politeness and evaluate each person on an individual basis as to how best to interact, it is a MUST that you are clear as to the reason for the call within 60 seconds, or by the second paragraph if it's an email. Outlining what you believe to be the prospect's 'problem' and what your solution to it is, needs to discussed quickly to retain interest from the prospect.
All that said, 99.9% of B2B sales need to involve a face to face meeting and as such, you do not want to be outlining in intricate detail what your solution is during the early exchanges. The reason or benefit for the meeting to the Buyer, needs to be learning more about what your solution is.
5. Manage your pipeline well
Believe it or not, as a team of people who provide sales and marketing advice, support and services to businesses of all sizes, Franklin Wall can officially announce that if you learn a way that suits you and your team to follow up your prospects when you said you would (i.e. managing your pipeline), then you are already differentiating yourself against the other 50% of competitors that don't!
Timing and relevance are everything with B2B sales and your pipeline usually gives you something that your cold prospecting rarely does. Information previously gathered from the decision maker. So use it! Another tip for this section is to try and help manage when the next follow-up is going to be...i.e. when is it going to be more relevant? If the prospect has indicated that they are likely to purchase product/service 'x' in May and you know that the sales cycle is normally two months, say to them that you'll re-contact them at the end of Feb/start of March, rather than wait for them to tell you to 'get in touch next year' which will be instantly forgotten by them as it's a fob off.
One of the most important facts about successful B2B selling that is always present, is consistency. You may do some or all of the above some of the time. We'd recommend you do all of them, all of the time. You'll sell more.
Franklin Wall Solutions help with these and numerous other sales and marketing challenges you may be facing.
If you get chance, send us an email HERE with your questions as to how we would support you or call us anytime on 0161 820 2340 and we'd be delighted to talk through how we help countless business get heard and stand out from the crowd.