Selling to businesses is a completely different beast than selling to the general public. Businesses are professional outfits that are more likely to purchase with ROI in mind. If a company is looking to order from you, it’s probably because they want to improve workflow, reduce errors, provide a better service, and increase output and revenue.
Orders from companies are often much bigger and the value proposition is entirely different. So, it follows that there would be some major differences in the way you approach your sales cycle and marketing tactics.
In reality, there are actually more similarities than differences. At the end of the day, whether you are selling to an individual or a business, you are still selling to people. And this is why a customer-centric approach is just as important for B2B as it is for B2C.
Treat businesses like individuals
The first thing to recognize is that every business is an ‘individual’ of sorts, and should be treated as such. The way that you approach a small, family-owned company is going to be very different from the way that you approach a Fortune 500 company. A one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work.
This is where account-based management can become instrumental. Instead of have a single approach to marketing your products or services, you’re instead going to tailor multiple accounts and campaigns to ensure the right prospect receives the right message.
Likewise, you can also benefit from using the right CRM sales tool. This lets your sales team organize leads and keep track of the retail buyers they’re speaking to. You’ll know who your contact is with any given business and can keep track of important information that might be crucial to securing a sale.
You should never underestimate the value of developing an honest rapport with your customers. People like being asked about their family and their holidays before you ‘get down to business’ and using CRM software can help you to manage those relationships.
Impress face-to-face with technology
When selling face-to-face, it’s important that you make the right impression. You need to inspire trust in your customers and clients by showing them that you have a highly capable workforce and that you’re leveraging the latest technology and tools.
Don’t make the mistake of having a sophisticated e-commerce portal, only to drop the ball by not equipping your sales reps with technology to accelerate their face-to-face sales in the field. Use mobile tablets and EPOS software to impress with a slick, mobile sales ordering and payment process.
Take an educated approach to selling
This also impacts the broader approach to selling. Business News Daily recommends discarding the term ‘sales call’ and thinking instead in terms of ‘business interviews.’ Your job is to find business partners, to demonstrate your suitability for working with them and to build that relationship. Cold calls serve no purpose in B2B selling any more and if you are obviously pitching to your leads then you’ll probably get hung up on!
This means that you should think twice about outsourcing your sales offshore. The best salesmen will be those that have a full and complete understanding of the product and its role in your clients’ businesses. Make sure your sales reps are knowledgeable about the products and services they are selling and consider setting up a training program to keep everyone up to speed. This is all the more important during the busy holiday season when calls are likely to be coming in thick and fast.
Tell a story
Always remember to push your value proposition and consider the maxim: “people don’t buy hats, they buy warm heads.”
So, what is the value proposition of your business from the perspective of your customers and clients? Monetary ROI. And more than that, it’s the feeling of success that comes from growing a business with your own two hands and seeing it become a success. Sell that dream using the right narrative and you’ll be far more persuasive – especially when speaking to key decisions makers.
While it is tempting to think that modern tools and software might make the B2B sales process less personal, the reverse is in fact true. Think of these modern tools as an opportunity to collect even more personal data about your customers, to create even more channels and to give more time to developing each individual relationship.