A salesman can sometimes feel like he’s in a constant uphill struggle, and B2B sales is certainly one of the steeper inclines in the sales industry. Whereas in B2C selling there is typically one customer making a straightforward purchasing decision, the B2B sales cycle is lengthier and more complicated. A B2B relationship is continuously developing, often even after the sale is made, and there can be a dozen people involved in signing off on the deal.
To make things more complicated, the B2B relationship nowadays tends to begin online where businesses seek to learn about each other and perhaps start cultivating a relationship long before engaging in any direct negotiations. This process is called social selling — not to be confused with social marketing! — and it’s a crucial approach for any B2B salesman who wants to reach the summit of his potential.
There’s no such thing as too much research
Every buyer knows this. That’s why B2B buyers are out there scouring the web for more information about your product and your competitors. Well-informed buyers use anything from Google, forums, and social media to free trials or recommendations made by professionals in their network. Before a business gets in touch with you, they’ve thoroughly researched your product, company, and competitors.
A B2B salesperson needs to be just as diligent in their own research. Find out companies’ needs and how your product can fill them by subscribing to newsletters and reading the material they put out into the world. Discover what gripes they have and, in comparison, what they value.
Don’t forget about your competitors! It’s just as important to research rival products, observe what is and isn’t working in their sales process, and see what key influencers in the industry have to say. This will also help you differentiate your product from the competition. The more data the better! Researching thoroughly in advance is a great B2B salesman technique because it enables you to make a more direct pitch when you and your prospect finally make contact.
Social media is your best friend
Okay, so we’ve acknowledged that B2B buyers place a lot of importance on the research stage, but how can we apply this information to our social selling technique? It turns out that 89% of B2B buyers use the internet during their research process. To qualify this further, millenials are occupying more and more decision-maker roles. Raised in the age of technology, millennials have come to expect a particular degree of intimacy and immediacy in their interactions.
Gen Z is also starting to enter the workforce, making this point more valid than ever before: Social media is an invaluable tool for B2B sales. And while social selling existed before the internet showed up, social media has revolutionized the ways in which businesses connect. Here are just a few ways you can engage social media in your B2B sales technique:
- Social listening : This is pretty much what it looks like. “Listen” to online conversations about your industry, product, or client. Set up Google alerts when either one of them is mentioned, monitor relevant hashtags, and incorporate a social media management tool.
- Sharing relevant content : Insert your product or company directly into social media dialogue by sharing articles, using trending hashtags, and making a name for your product online.
- Interacting with potential buyers : Cold calls and cold emails aren’t the only way to get in touch with prospects! You can start to build that B2B relationship with simple actions such as joining groups, commenting, sharing, or liking posts.
Wind up that pitch and aim it well
Houston, we’ve made contact! Okay, okay, your first communication with a lead may not be that historically monumental, but it’s still important. If you’ve been participating actively in social selling, you may not even have to resort to that first awkward cold call or cold email. Chances are that if you’re practicing this crucial B2B sales technique, you’ve already had some indirect contact — in fact, your prospect might even have come to you!
You and your B2B lead have spent a lot of time researching each other by this point. At this stage, use your knowledge of the lead to the chase with an informed pitch telling them exactly what they need to hear.
Customize the close
So, you’ve made it to the final stretch of your B2B sales process. B2B sales closing techniques vary depending on a number of factors and it’s up to you to use your best judgement to discern which style you land on. Fortunately, you’ve been engaged in social selling with your customer all along, so now you’re in an optimal position to negotiate.
While you’re negotiating the close, revisit their goals and worries. Address any objections or cons they might bring up. Refer back to data cultivated while you engaged in social selling with the B2B buyer. You’ve spent all this time putting yourself in their shoes; now, visualize how they might use your product and paint that picture for them. The advantage of social selling in B2B sales closing technique is the amount of time you both have invested to learn about each other in detail.
Don’t overlook customer experience
Sure, it may be customer service’s duty to provide front line support once your lead becomes a client, but it’s not a bad idea to check in on businesses after you’ve won that B2B deal. You built that relationship with the customer long before closing the sale. Following up for feedback from your B2B customer not only demonstrates to them that you care but also helps you double check that their needs are being met and reconfirms your dedication to the meaningful relationship you built throughout the social selling process.
After all, happy customers are more likely to be return customers. The probability of closing a sale with a new lead is 5 to 20%, but selling to an existing customer raises your odds to 60 – 70%. Nice odds! Not to mention a satisfied client is more likely to refer you to other businesses, letting you put to use these B2B sales techniques all over again.
Social selling and building a dialogue are essential in B2B sales
What sets social selling apart is its use of modern tools and techniques to personalize your relationship with potential customers. It’s a crucial part of B2B salesman techniques to keep interacting throughout the sales process. Hardly anyone likes generic email blasts and that’s what makes social selling so helpful; as long as leads see your product popping up on posts, hashtags, and websites, they’ll be reminded that it’s an available option to meet their business needs.
Revenue Grid’s engagement platform Revenue Engage helps you stay in contact with prospects via social media, email, calls, and texts with variably automated sequences that maintain the intimate vibe you’ve been cultivating. You can mix and match platforms, add media, and provide a personalized touch to each interaction. Using it in combination with Revenue Grid’s other products, Revenue Inbox and Revenue Guide, will simplify your B2B sales process further and allow you more time to tend to those lasting relationships.