B2B customers are never single customers but a group of professionals interested in buying your products or installing your services in their workplace. When you have to deal with a group of professionals, each having their fair share of doubts, queries and second thoughts about you and your organization, accept this, that it is going to be difficult for you.
Hey, I just said difficult, not impossible.
Sales is an art of persuasion, not many people can master it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be in sales. You just have to channelize and understand the situation and with proper steps, you’ll be able to pull this off.
Let’s divide the aspects of B2B sales into issues you can’t change and elements you can work on –
Issues You Can’t Change –
You Sell To A Group
It is not groceries you are buying; it is the refrigerator you are investing in.
You do not discuss groceries and FMCG products before buying them, but if you’re buying a fridge, you are surely going to discuss it with your friends and family.
Because it is not a general expense, it’s an investment.
The moment you realise how B2B buying is a long term investment and not just a shopping activity you will automatically get accustomed to the process.
B2B products & services are large scales, expensive and life long investments; therefore, it’s evident that company officials discuss it, before making the final buying decision.
We will use the example of the refrigerator further in the blog to understand the situations in a better way.
Let’s explore the point of view of a customer then – what do you think a new customer will do if he decides to buy something, in our case, let’s say a refrigerator?
He will research, and his research may vary from consulting a friend, reading online reviews to visiting stores with offers & sale. Similarly, in B2B businesses, professionals discuss, sometimes schedule meetings to decide whether to invest in a service or not.
When we talk about a group, it often happens that the opinion of one person differs from another and it also happens that the opinion of one person matters the most. In B2B businesses you’ll have to deal with a lot of the company professionals and their queries & doubts before you finally close the deal.
Sales Cycle Is Lengthy
B2B sales cycle are lengthy because to persuade a lot of people for a single buying decision is difficult, people do not trust you very easily and have second thoughts about buying your services. This is a general situation which no B2B service providing company can change, it may happen that you’ll have to wait weeks before you hear from them.
Today’s sales process takes 22 % longer than five years ago. There is a lot of time & effort you have to invest to close the deal.
It briefly follows like –
- First, the company executives perform an initial online search. 89 % of B2B buyers use the internet for their purchase.
- Shortlist the companies, they find appropriate.
- Discuss it among themselves before requesting catalogues and quotations.
- Once they contact you on call, they will be having a dozen of queries which you must answer clearly to make the first impression, it will be better if you will ask for a time and schedule a personal meeting with the decision making authorities of the companies.
- You may be called several times in between to clarify issues and understand the long term benefits of your services, or it may happen that they call you and finalize the deal.
- In some cases, you may be asked to visit them again for a second meeting with their decision making authorities, it’s all part of the process and you should always be ready with it.
Elements You Can Work On –
Having a database and having an accurate database both have a significant difference. Most companies do not append their database and do not think of getting their CRM cleaned.
This can be a major drawback in your sales process, having inaccurate data not only hinders your sales process it basically breaks down the whole sales cycle.
It is recommended to have your CRM database and email appended and cleaned, for that, I would advise you to look for an end to end data solutions company offering services like CRM cleaning, tech append, email scrubbing, and data mining services.
When we speak of data there is a lot of potential we are talking about. Most people aren’t aware of what, how and why of data enhancement and that is why they make common mistakes while conversing with their customers..
You need to research your clients before calling them, before going for a meeting, try to know everything about them, what is their employee size, which technology are they using, who is the key person to talk to, what are their future plans, what the deal in so on and so forth.
This is important and should reflect in your sales pitch when you talk about them and their company in front of them they feel important and noticed, there is no one who doesn’t like attention and being noticed. It feels to them that their hard work really paid off. They listen to you more attentively and respond to you more gracefully rather than replying with reluctant nods.
At the same time, you have researched so well about your client, it’s inevitable that you prepare about your own facts & figures as well. At any point of conversation, your client may ask you about a specific detail or have a query, it is very important for you to know this, you can’t reply to such query with –
- I’ll have to check on that.
- I’ll have to speak with my seniors about it.
- I’ll get back to you with it.
- I don’t think that’s important for you to know, or worse
- I don’t have any idea about it.
Responses like these can be a deal-breaker, it doesn’t leave a positive impression and your client may judge you for not knowing enough about your own organization.
Art of Persuasion
Speak only when your client is finished talking, you are not there to argue but to come to an agreement and for that, you need to be a patient listener and have impeccable communication skills and communication skills not only mean by how good you can speak English but how well can you go along with the communication.
It may happen that they will ask you unnecessary questions, do not lose patience on such moments. Always remember, crafting the right B2B sales process to avoid negotiation mistakes is the key. They will compare you with your competitors, your pricing policies, offers, services, packages everything will be questioned and you must not fail to answer and keep the conversation alive.
Precision is the key. I don’t have to tell you how to sell, I believe you have an excellent sales team for it, just make sure you leave the meeting on a happy note.
A good attitude with the right amount of confidence is just the right recipe for you to sell to your new B2B customers. It is not rocket science, and you don’t have to be a magician to charm your clients, all it takes is the knowledge of industry and skills of persuasion and communication to stand out from the crowd.