B2B or business-to-business marketing refers to a business model in which businesses sell their goods or services directly to other companies rather than customers. B2B sales are usually more complex, involve higher price points, and have longer sales cycles. Examples of B2B sales are as follows:
- Companies that produce raw materials and sell them to other manufacturing companies.
- Service-based companies such as interior designing or market designing offer their consultative services to other businesses.
- Businesses that offer digital services like an ERP system or web designing.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the way B2B companies conduct business. Previously, the sale process was straightforward, more linear, and more predictable. Now, multiple factors are at play, and the success of the process is not dependent on the salesperson only.
What Works In Terms of Improving B2B Sales?
Identify Your Buyers and List Down Their Characteristics
- Whether it is B2B or B2C, the number one rule of improving sales is to first identify and then define who your target audience is. Build the persona of your buyers based on the information available to you. Which companies will be your most profitable customers? What do they need from you?
To answer these questions, define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). ICP will guide you in defining your marketing goals and determining the right direction for your marketing and sales material. By understanding the Ideal Customer Profile, you are better positioned to formulate sales and marketing material that will strike a chord with your customers.
Building the ICP is a gradual process. It involves the following steps:
- Identify your most profitable customers and external stakeholders. Then list down the following demographic information:
- Industry niche
- Size and strength of the company (no. of employees)
- The geographical areas where the company exists
- Supply chain routes
- After listing down the primary parameters, determine more specific information such as:
- Volume of sales per area
- Competition faced by the customer
- Primary stakeholders of the customer
Set Up Your Business on Ecommerce Marketplaces Such as Alibaba
- B2B companies have been slow to adopt online marketplaces for conducting business. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, B2B companies couldn't carry business as usual. They had to look for online marketplaces connecting them to prospective clients.
Many B2B businesses are now adopting digital technologies such as websites, mobile apps, and online marketspaces like Alibaba.com. They are less interested in using traditional methods such as email and in-person trade shows. E-commerce platforms bring endless opportunities for communication and building connections with buyers. If these opportunities are utilized correctly, sales will increase by manifolds.
- Platforms like Alibaba.com serve businesses irrespective of their size and Volume of trade. Alibaba.com serves both customers and sellers. For e.g., Alibaba.com provides a platform for buyers to showcase their products to thousands of buyers through their digital store.
On the other hand, buyers can order large quantities of goods from international sellers. Moreover, Alibaba.com offers hassle-free shipping services even for cross-continental orders. Hence, eCommerce marketplaces offer a unique opportunity for B2B businesses to boost their sales and connect with a large audience of prospective clients.
Use Videos for Better Outreach
- Videos are one of the most popular digital marketing tools. They are entertaining and can explain even the most complicated products to ordinary customers. Most customers prefer watching videos to reading long product descriptions. B2C businesses use videos all the time. B2B companies should utilize their full potential, as well.
Statistics show that incorporating a video on your website or blog increases your chances of making a sale by 1.8 times. Being a B2B company, you can include short videos on your website or send personalized videos to your prospects through email.
Bring Sales and Marketing Teams on The Same Page
- Both sales and marketing teams work towards the common goal of generating more sales. However, in most cases, both teams work in silos and sometimes fail to see eye to eye on how to create more business for the company. To increase your B2B sales, both teams need to be on the same page and work together to meet the goals.
Both teams should agree on what constitutes the Ideal Customer Profile. ICP lies at the core of marketing campaigns and sales outreach. The marketing team reaches out to potential customers, and the sales team persuades them to go through with the purchase.
- If there is a disagreement regarding which customers to target, both teams' efforts will fail. The marketing team will reach out to the wrong customers, and the sales team will not be able to make successful sales.
Both teams should have a consensus on the brand's tone and how to nurture leads. The language for all external communication should be uniform. Both teams should have a similar stance regarding the company's products and services. Uniformity in the company's narrative ensures consistency throughout the sales funnel.
- Marketing and sales teams work towards a common goal, but their targets vary. Both teams should understand the targets and KPIs assigned to the other team. The common goal, i.e., revenue generation, should be a powerful motivator for both teams to work together.
The marketing team works at the top of the funnel, i.e., it attracts potential customers. The marketing team should understand the sales team's targets and offer support by attracting the right audience, which has a higher chance of a conversion.
- The marketing team produces valuable and informative content through blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, etc. The sales team should use this valuable content with prospective clients. Both teams should share helpful information and content rather than work in silos.
Use Marketing Automation Tools To Save Time and Effort
- Time is a precious resource for all businesses. However, redundant marketing tasks such as email marketing, making posts on social media, and ad campaign scheduling consume a lot of precious time and the efforts of human resources. To save time and divert the efforts of your employees towards more productive tasks, businesses should adopt marketing automation.
There are many different types of marketing automation software available. This type of software automates repetitive marketing tasks, freeing up your employee's valuable time. Marketing automation streamlines the marketing process and improves efficiency.
- These tools can add a personal touch to marketing tasks and can tailor the marketing content to make it more relatable for the customers. This improves the efficiency of lead nurturing, making the conversion process more smooth and more streamlined.
Marketing automation helps businesses in the following ways:
- These tools can make relevant suggestions based on real-time data. For example, when a prospective lead browses a web page, the software analyzes the content they are interested in. At the same time, it delivers relevant content through email or on-screen prompts. This increases the prospect's interest in the business's products and keeps them positively engaged. Once the prospect's interest has been ignited, it smoothens the lead conversion process.
- Automation tools consolidate the business processes to provide a consistent customer experience throughout the customer journey. Marketing automation tools store the data in a central location, which can be accessed by different functional teams such as sales, marketing, and customer success. This way, all team members stay updated regarding the current progress.
Use Email Marketing To Your Advantage
Email marketing is a critical tool to increase your B2B sales. In B2B marketing, your prospects are limited in number, which is why targeted email marketing works for them. Email marketing serves multiple purposes and can be used to nurture, engage and influence leads to purchase your product. Email marketing can help you in the following ways:
- By sharing newsletters through emails. Newsletters are a great way to keep your prospects updated and engaged. Be sure to include the latest updates, informational content, such as blog content, external resources, and a few personal words from the CEO.
- You can use email marketing to introduce your new or updated products. Your product update emails should contain valuable information worth the reader's time. Talk about your product's new and updated features and the value it can offer customers.
- Share eBooks and whitepapers to high-intent leads via email.
- Share webinars or other event invitations via email. Events are planned for a specific set of customers, and the best way to convey your invitation is by sending it via email. To spark your leads' interest, create a compelling and detailed invitation. To increase the educational value of your content, you can send links to informational blog posts or eBooks along with your e-invite.
Share Success Stories and Case Studies With Prospects
- If you want to increase B2B sales, you have to give concrete reasons why any company should engage with you. The best way to showcase your capabilities and the value your services offer is by sharing success stories and case studies with prospective clients. These documents are a testament to your company's ability to handle projects and provide satisfactory services to clients.
If you have previously worked with reputable companies, highlight how you have successfully conducted business with them, and how your services offered value to the client. This will enhance your prospect's confidence, and convince them about the quality of your services or products.
- To maximize the impact of these documents, it is important to share relevant case studies and success stories with leads. For example, if different industries use your product, identify the case study most relevant to the prospective lead.
Be A Consultant to Your Prospects Rather Than A Pushy Salesperson
Every time you interact with your prospects, offer them valuable information rather than coaxing them into buying your product. Pushy sales tactics don't bring the best or quickest results. You should have ample knowledge regarding the product or service that you offer. This way, you will be a consultant to your prospects who has answers to all their questions, and can offer them valuable advice.
By offering valuable information, you can help your prospects in the following ways:
- Identify opportunities for improving business performance.
- Streamline their work and everyday processes.
- Understand how they can gain or retain their competitive edge.
- Add value to their products or services.
- Improve their reputation and credibility.
Consultative selling strengthens your relationship with your prospect and boosts their confidence in your ability to provide them with the best solution. Remain steadfast in your approach to be a valuable consultant to your prospect, someone they can rely on.
- Keep learning about your prospect's market, and how your product can add value to their business. Offering the right information at the right time will make you indispensable for your prospect, and foster a solid professional relationship.
Train Your Sales Team Well
Some team members will be natural salespeople, and others will require some degree of training to do their job well. If you train your sales team well, you will see a rapid increase in the sales volume that your company makes. When your employees are well-trained, your efforts will be steered in the right direction, and you will get positive results.
Equip your sales team with all the necessary tools that they require to convince prospective buyers. Provide them with the following supporting materials:
- Well-written scripts that include product details. Before writing the script, analyze the ICP. This will help you formulate a relevant script that will appeal to your customers.
- Teach your team how to handle complex and reluctant customers.
- Provide different strategies, tools, and tips on how to improve the quality of existing leads.
Overall, in this market, you cannot lean on just one strategy to help increase your B2B sales. Assume all 9 strategies listed here and you will see an increase in new leads and revenue.