A sale is a transaction between two or more parties, known as buyer and seller, in which money or valuable entities are exchanged for the ownership of a good or service.
Sales occur almost every second worldwide, and there are different types of sales, among which are; the business to business sales and business-to-consumer sales.
What is B2B sales?
Business to business sales (b2b) is a sales transaction in which a business directly sells its goods or services to another business. For example, B2B sales are commonly a kind of transaction in the supply chain in which the producer of raw materials sells its product to the producer of finished goods. It is the sales one company makes to another company or business rather than a consumer.
What are the examples of B2B sales?
- Companies/businesses that produce and distribute raw materials to other companies to produce the finished good, e.g., latex producing companies, will sell to tire producing companies.
- Firms or organizations that provide professional services to companies, e.g., market research, survey, copywriting, etc.
- Businesses that provide software/digital products and services to companies, e.g., AppSheet for windows and BiznessApps for Android/iPhones
- Various stages of services provider for companies
What is B2B sales process?
A b2b sales process is the set of well-structured, defined, personalized, and repeatable series of events or steps that can be taken by a business to conduct and align sales. For example, B2B sales processes are the phases taken by the seller of a particular product/service to attract or gain ideal customers and conclude sales.
The sales process must follow carefully planned, well-thought-out, and successfully implemented sales strategies to achieve maximum success.
The number of b2b sales stages varies across various organizations, but it is usually between 5-8 stages listed below.
Stages of B2B sales process
- Prospecting (generation of sales-qualified leads)
- Preparation (intensive research about the lead generated)
- Presentation (hitting on the key areas beneficial, relevant, and of value to the prospective buyers
- Sales pitch (product demo)
- Handling objectives (repositioning offers that will convince prospects to purchase the product/services)
- Closing deals ( the stage where you have been able to convince the prospect that your offer fits their needs perfectly)
- Follow-up (providing additional helpful information and building rapport with the companies or business after the successful sales transaction in other to have a high probability of future sales transactions and a good customer experience for the buyer
Benefits of an effective B2B sales process
- Customer needs can be easily identified.
- It becomes easy to establish and build long-lasting relationships with customers.
- The cost of customer relationship management reduces over time within the sales cycle.
- An effective b2b sales process enables the prospect to have a better buying journey.
- It improves customer retention and customer referral.
- Sales and revenue forecasting have become more accurate.
What is a B2B Sales Representative
B2B sales representatives are professionals who build and maintain relationships with corporate decision-makers to sell a product/service directly
Sales professionals use well-schemed strategies and specialized selling processes/methods to convince corporate buyers and multiple decision-makers to purchase a product/service.
B2B sales reps are responsible for lead generation, making and answering sales calls, and cold calling. They also set up and manage cold emails, follow-up emails, and sales calls requesting clients for meetings. In addition, sales reps make presentations to varieties of potential customers regarding their sales.
Attributes of a competent B2B sales representative
These are the character, attitudes, and skills required to become a competent sales representative or hire a talented sales rep.
Sales professionals working in b2b sales must be able to work with different departments and multiple stakeholders.
- Sales reps must have a Passionate working habit.
- Attention to detailed
- Good communication skills
- problem-solving abilities
- commitment and persistency
- social selling and social media marketing skills
What is B2B Sales Funnel?
IN CONTRAST TO the B2B sales funnel, the b2b sales process focus on the buyer’s journey. It systematically visualizes the potential clients’ or buyers’ likelihood of purchasing a particular product/service by noting the buyer’s emotional phases in the buying process.
The b2b sales funnel primarily concerned with lead nurturing and creating the right touchpoints to guide potential customers through their purchasing journey. The goal is to ensure that the sales funnel converts potential customers into paying customers.
The various steps involved before prospective buyers finally make a purchase are grouped into four listed below.
4-Steps B2b Sales Funnel (AIDA)
This is the first stage in a b2b sales where your product or services catch a consumer’s attention. When a consumer becomes aware of the value and benefit of your product/services, this might be through google search, social media ads, eCommerce store, etc.
At times, if the pain points are successfully solved or provided, the product or services might be purchased immediately.
Methods of Creating Awareness
- Video marketing
- Social media post
- Paid advertisement
- Brand credibility building
- Documented content marketing Strategy
- Bulk SMS marketing
This is the phase of a b2b sales funnel where the company or business begins to research more about your product to compare it with other available options. This happens to be the best moment a sales rep can build trust and come up with content ideas or mouth-watering benefits that will help the consumer make a favorable decision. This can be done by; developing relatable brand credibility, cold calling, and cold emails.
This is when the buyer is ready to purchase but can still have up to three options for consideration. Again, the goal at this stage is to pitch your best offer and irresistible advantages such as bonus, free shipping, discount, etc.
The purchase or action phase is when the customer has successfully made a purchase and completed the transaction. Then, the customer automatically enters your business’s ecosystem.
This is not the end of a sales funnel because you will want to turn a customer into a returning customer who might refer your product or services to their friends and family.
Your sales teams continue to engage with the customer to ensure that they get the most out of your product and help them solve any issue they might encounter while using your product.
It is a time when your marketing teams can upsell and cross-sell by; highlighting features of upgraded packages, showing how your product works together with other products and communicating new improvements you’ve made to your previous products.
How To Build a B2B sales funnel
- Research and understand your targeted audience
- Set your goals and objective with competent sales professionals
- Organize your sales and marketing teams
- Capture your audience’s attention with a highly beneficially product or service
- Keep track of your progress
Importance of B2B sales funnel
An effective B2B sales will help your business organization maximize the efficiency of marketing tools to automate some parts of the sales process; It will also help coordinate and access the effort of the marketing teams.
How to make a business to business sales
- Produce case studies to showcase your successful business collaboration with other businesses
- Share valid content with your audience
- Organize referral contest
- Build a responsive b2b sales strategies and techniques
- Measure and improve performances
- Follow up on old leads/old lead nurturing
- Use customer relationship management tools
- Be timely in your response to customer issues and complains
B2B sales techniques and strategies
In a world of evolving sales strategies, making a b2b sales involves a lot of planning and forecasting. As a result, there are overwhelming numbers of b2b sales techniques, sales tactics, and methodologies; while they all claim to be effective, none apply to your business.
Hence your business organization must choose the best method for your business niche. Below are two of the most popular b2b sales techniques.
1. Social selling
thanks to the advancement of technologies and the internet, how prospective buyers discover products/services and communicate with businesses has moved into social media. For example, 55% of b2b buyers now use social media to research vendors.
For this purpose, it seems integrating social media into your b2b sales strategy is a must!
Social selling uses social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to identify the new prospective buyers and nurture them through the buyer’s journey without depending entirely on emails and calls. This offers a more convenient point of contact with the critical decision-maker and allows your sales teams to work more effectively and productively.
2. Value selling
Your prospective buyers are busy people with a low attention span to things that don’t matter to them. If you want to gain and retain their attention, you need to be straightforward with your offer to solve their problem or pain point because they’re looking at your product/services because they have a problem that needs to be solved. Presenting to them the solution to their problem by explaining how your product or service will fulfill their needs in a simple yet organized manner will help you capture their attention long enough to close the sales deal.
Common B2B sales KPIs
- Revenue tracking
- Average follow-up attempt
- Cost per lead
- Marketing ROI
- Customer retention
- Lead quality
Differences Between B2B and B2C Sales
B2B sales are entirely related to selling products/services from one business to another business or companies. B2B sales relationships continually develop and evolve and usually have a longer lifespan. The processes involved in closing a sale deal are lengthier and require great dedication and planning. B2B sales cycle includes a decision-making process involving more than one individual.
Business to consumer sales is related to selling products/services to one or more individual consumers. A typical example of B2C selling is retail sales, as the product or services have been sold directly to a targeted consumer or one person. Generally, the b2c sales cycle is shorter, as most consumers are persuaded to purchase the product on the spot. In addition, b2c sales do not usually include more than one individual in the decision-making process.
Similarities between B2B sales and B2C sales
- Both sales require well structured and organized sales process regardless of their length
- Customer services and relation is significant in generating sales in both
- Buyers and sellers are at the center of both sales
- Problem-solving is at the center of both B2B sales and B2C sales
- In both cases, the potential prospect is willing to pay for a product or solution offered by the other businesses
B2B Sales challenges and its solution
As with any other form of sales, b2b sales has their ups and downs. Identifying the top and most frequent challenges will help your business improve upon your sales approaches, overcome the challenges, and maintain higher sales performances. Challenges in b2b sales are not dead-end; they are opportunities to check and re-strategize your business sales approaches and come out better and stronger. Check out the B2B sales cycle stages.
1. Longer Sales Cycles
Time is golden, so if your business sales cycles are longer than they need to be, time will be wasted on irrelevant and unproductive things and activities, thereby leaving activities that matter unattended. You don’t want an extravagant amount of time and resources to be spent focused on one single lead.
Sales process cycles are often prolonged due to the inability of sales reps to round up each step or stage within the sales process, which might sometimes result in unproductive results.
Prepare a well-documented sales and marketing strategy, organize your sales teams, set up your business sales processes, and have everything on your end prepared to move the lead right along and then turn the prospective buyer into a paying customer.
Although it is good to narrow down your sales processes to keep your sales cycle more concise, rushing your prospective buyer is not a good idea, as it can be a significant turn-off for many businesses. Hence the goal is to optimize the processes rather than condense them.
2. Inability to connect with key Decision-makers
Many businesses organization have intermediaries between sales reps and the key decision-makers. This is designed to avoid wasting executives’ time. Still, if a business is trying to close deals, it might be more beneficial to have direct access to key decision-makers, the executives, in most cases.
The inability to connect with decision-makers can make the whole sales process slower and sometimes futile, decreasing the sales closing rate.
There are a couple of ways to get direct access to key decision-makers. The first way is by building great relationships with the buyer’s business intermediaries so that they can trust your business enough to connect you directly with their higher-ups.
The second method is by doing intensive research to know who your business needs to connect with, then find ways to get their direct contact, email, or find them on LinkedIn and create an online relationship with them.
3. Inability to retain customers
This challenge could be caused by many reasons, including short-lived demand for a product/service shut down of customer’s business and lack of proper post-purchase relationship with buyers.
These listed instances have very little to do with the buyer and everything to do with the seller. Many b2b businesses struggle to retain customers even when they have more control over the situation.
Customers may take their business elsewhere if they feel like your business is not providing them with the best buying experience they expected.
This could have to do with your business sales prices, products, sales processes, or simply how you treat your buyers before and after closing sales deals.
To improve your business’s customer retention rates, you must prioritize good customer service at every point within your sales cycle. You must treat your customers so well that they won’t wonder if there is a better supplier elsewhere by building a good quality relationship.
Aside from treating them with respect, providing timely delivery, and good customer care services, it also means being honest with your price rates.