When it comes to achieving sales success, the world of selling to businesses is truly distinct from the world of selling to consumers.
In the B2B space, there are a number of specific nuances that help top performers stand out in a critical way—while those changes would have zero effect on selling to consumers.
I think of these selling nuances as the insider secrets to B2B sales success. These are the tricks of the trade that lead top sales performers to achieve truly impressive sales success in the B2B space
In the B2B selling space, if you don’t know how your entire sales process is going to work ahead of time, then you’re going to be all over the place. It’s like setting yourself up for failure.
The data shows that today’s prospects in the B2B space are far savvier than they were just a few years ago. These folks often have multiple degrees—and they’re getting sold to all the time.
If you don’t have a clearly mapped-out sales process, your approach will be haphazard, your prospects will be incredibly unimpressed, and you’ll ultimately achieve lower results.
That’s why the first insider secret to B2B sales success is simply to map out the entire sale ahead of time. Make sure you have a clear sense of how you’re going to engage prospects, get in front of them, talk to them, and ultimately close and onboard them.
So much of B2B sales success hinges upon where you introduce yourself into a prospect company. While there are only one or two entry points in the consumer sales world (since most families only have one or two consumers in them) there are many different key actors in each business.
Think carefully about which actors you should engage with first—and then plan your strategy around them.
The first step here is to clearly identify your ideal prospect: what’s their title, what challenges do they face, and what industries are they in? Then, attack that entry point.
Get clear about who your ideal entry point is, and focus on that person every single time, at every prospect organization.
Make sure you’re going in at the right entry point—not too low, but also not so high that they’re not relevant to the conversation. You always want to sell at the highest relevant level, so that’s where your entry point should be.
Nowadays, prospects expect salespeople in the B2B space to provide real value in the selling conversation.
It’s not enough just to have a great product or service. And it’s not enough just to ask a couple of good questions. In order to achieve true sales success as a B2B salesperson, you also need to establish authority and expertise.
The best way to provide value upfront is by sharing insight with your prospects. With your experience as a salesperson, you’ve worked with many companies in your prospect’s space. You’ve got this amazing birds-eye-view of the industry. So, share that insight and use it to engage prospects in real conversation.
This is where you start to create an actual dialogue with prospects, which will help you make sure they’re ultimately a fit for what you have to offer.
This may go counter to a lot of what you’ve heard, but you should never try to actively “close” a prospect in the B2B space. These prospects are savvy. They’ve heard it all before. And they’ve probably already talked to a bunch of salespeople that same week.
If you use a cheesy, transparent closing technique, B2B prospects will automatically shut down. High-pressure closing approaches simply don’t work anymore, particularly in the B2B space.
Instead, B2B sales success depends on your ability to first establish your expertise, then engage prospects in a real conversation, and then truly understand the key challenges they’re facing.
B2B buyers expect that you understand them. But you never want to assume that you know everything that’s going on in their world. (That’s silly. Of course, you don’t know everything that’s going on in their world.)
So, in order to really know their challenges, you need to ask some questions to find out what’s most important to them.
You can start by sharing some of the challenges you’re seeing right now in their industry. Then ask, “Which of those issues rings most true to you?”
If you follow this strategy for sales success, prospects will then start to share their challenges—and that’s where you want to dig more deeply to find out what’s really going on. Use a doctor’s mindset to understand the key issues affecting their business, and why.
Then ultimately, when you give your presentation, you’ll be able to present directly to those challenges.
The latest data shows that the typical B2B sale, particularly at the enterprise level, has about seven key decision-makers. Even if you’re selling to the CEO of a company, that person may not be able to just pull the trigger, make the decision, and move on.
It’s not that simple anymore. Even high-level executives are trying to get consensus around the decisions they make these days. They want to get a bunch of important people on board so that when they move forward, they know that things are actually going to happen. And not just through leadership by directive or force. That’s not how business works now.
That’s why you need to know everyone involved in the sale to achieve B2B sales success today. Ask questions to understand the entire decision-making process. Get to know everyone, and seek to understand how this decision will affect their jobs and their worlds.
One of the most critical parts of B2B sales success is always having a clear next step. Never leave an interaction without one.
Now, a clear next step is not when a prospect says: “Hey, you know what? Why don’t you follow up with me in two weeks?” and then you say, “Sure, I’ll follow up with you in two weeks.” And then you get off the phone.
That’s not a clear next step at all. A clear next step is a scheduled call or face-to-face meeting or Zoom meeting, on the books, in the calendar, with an accepted calendar invite.
At the end of every interaction with a prospect, make sure to budget a little time to establish clear next steps. That way, you’ll never have a wishy-washy scenario where you think to yourself, “Well, I think they’re expecting me to call them…or they’re going to call us…or they’re going to shoot us an email when they want to connect.” None of that.
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