6 Tips for B2B Sales

Channel & Enterprise SalesDirect & Retail SalesRelationship SalesTraditional Marketing & Sales
Tips for B2B sales

Why are B2B sales so complex?

B2B sales can be complex and competitive, but armed with the right strategies and skills, success is within reach. This article outlines actionable best practices refined through decades of selling experience across countless industries. By thoroughly researching prospects, crafting relevant messaging, building authentic relationships, providing ongoing value, staying atop market trends, and continually optimizing based on results, salespeople can systematically improve performance despite turbulent conditions. Master these core competencies, embrace the mindsets of service and partnership, and breakthroughs will surely follow. Now let’s explore the tips and frameworks that enable thriving amid the modern B2B sales arena.

Research your prospects

Thoroughly researching your prospects is a crucial first step in the B2B sales process. Before reaching out to a lead, invest time upfront delving into key details about the company, their industry, the roles within the organizations you’ll be selling to, and the particular challenges they face that your product or service can help overcome.

Start by visiting the company’s website, reading recent press releases, and browsing their social media pages to immerse yourself in who they are, what they do, and what their priorities seem to be. Search for news articles about the company, take note of any recent partnerships or initiatives, and try to discern their trajectory – are they growing quickly? Pivoting to new markets? Attempting to modernize systems and processes? This context will allow you to better empathize with their reality when you do connect.

Next, research the prospect’s industry more broadly to spot the macro-level trends, emerging technologies, and prevalent pain points companies in the space grapple with. Follow industry thought leaders, subscribe to relevant publications, and monitor forums or groups where your prospects might engage to truly understand their world. Equipped with this landscape-level comprehension, you can hold informed conversations that demonstrate your grasp of their business environment right from your initial outreach.

Finally, use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify key decision makers within the account and learn more about their specific roles and responsibilities. Understanding the organizational chart and knowing exactly who the economic buyers are that control budget dollars is invaluable intel that helps ensure you’re targeting the right people for meaningful dialogue versus wasting time contacting those without real authority. Similarly, researching the backgrounds, responsibilities, and stated priorities of these economic buyers allows you to tailor messaging and solutions specifically to what matters most to each individual given their particular function and challenges.

Craft a relevant message

The key to successful B2B sales outreach is crafting a relevant message tailored specifically to each prospect. Mass blasts full of product jargon will likely be ignored. Instead, appeal directly to your prospect’s unique situation.

Start by highlighting how your offering can help them achieve their specific business goals, which you uncovered during the research phase. If possible, include statistics or metrics showcasing exactly how companies similar to theirs realized success from leveraging solutions like yours.

For example, lead with a statement like “Hi [Name], I noticed from your recent interview that one of your priorities for this year is expanding into the European market. 85% of our manufacturing clients see a double-digit increase in overseas revenue within 18 months of implementing our global logistics platform.” This level of personalization and specificity is far more compelling.

Further customize your outreach by focusing directly on the prospect’s pain points and challenges, which you again learned about during initial research. Then explain exactly how your product or service solves those issues. Use client case studies and testimonials to strengthen claims with real-world proof points. Sentences like “We helped Company X increase buyer retention 32% by streamlining their post-purchase customer support” make your message resonate.

The goal is crafting resonating, customized messaging for each prospect centered on how you can impact their individual and organizational success. Generic pitches are ineffective. Do your homework, understand their reality, and explain how your solution helps them accomplish initiatives essential to their role. This tailored, insight-driven approach earns attention.

Build relationships

The key to successful B2B sales is not just delivering pitches but having authentic conversations focused on building real relationships and trust with prospects. This means asking thoughtful questions to deeply understand their needs, pain points and challenges instead of barrageing them with product features and claims right away.

Start by researching the prospect and their industry ahead of your initial outreach so you can craft customized questions that show your grasp of their reality while also eliciting insights into areas you might be able to help. For example, ask things like “I saw that you recently expanded into the UK market. How has that process gone? What have been the biggest challenges?” or “I noticed many of your customers are mid-sized retailers. What are some of the issues they come to you with most often that technology could potentially help solve?”

Listen intently to their answers without interrupting. Let them explain their situation fully, then follow up with clarifying questions that dig deeper into relevant topics. The more you let them talk versus pitch, the more they’ll open up with key details that allow you to tailor solutions directly to actual needs.

Make relationship building an ongoing endeavor through consistent, valuable follow up versus sporadic mass outreach attempts. Check in periodically to continue conversations, provide helpful content and recommendations, and nurture the lead without aggressive sales pushes. Things like forwarding an insightful article on supply chain analytics because you know they’re exploring ways to enhance forecasting demonstrates you care about their success beyond just selling to them. This genuine helpfulness and reliability develops authentic connections that pay dividends down the road.

The goal is positioning yourself as a trusted partner invested in their growth versus a transactional vendor. This requires selfless relationship building based on understanding, utility and care – not aggressive product pushing. Patiently earn influence through service first.

Add value

The key to successful B2B sales is not just delivering pitches but providing ongoing value that builds goodwill and positions you as a trusted partner versus transactional vendor. This means sharing advice, insights, and helpful content with prospects on an ongoing basis – not just when you want to sell them something.

Start by researching the prospect’s industry challenges so you can craft recommendations tailored to their reality. Share ideas for overcoming issues you know they face without explicitly pitching your product. Provide introductions to specialists when relevant problems arise that you can’t directly help with.

Offer to create custom content like whitepapers, tip sheets, or case studies if you have expertise that could bring them value. Send prospects articles and blog posts containing actionable tactics for accomplishing their goals. Tools like sales sequencing software allow you to easily distribute a pre-planned cadence of valuable touchpoints versus sporadic, self-serving outreaches.

The goal is to build mindshare and become their trusted go-to resource for insights versus someone they only hear from when you want to pitch them. Earn influence by freely sharing your expertise, connections, and content. When you’ve established yourself as a valued partner focused on their success, they’ll be far more receptive to learning about your solution when appropriate.

This advisory positioning demonstrates authentic helpfulness and reliability that develops loyal advocates. As challenges inevitably arise in prospects’ roles, they’ll instinctively look to you for guidance given the assistance you’ve proactively provided in the past. This genuine partner persona and perpetual value system pays dividends as it builds real relationships beyond transactional sales interactions.

Stay on top of trends

Remaining apprised of the latest industry developments, challenges, and innovations is critical for B2B sales-people aiming to craft relevant messaging that resonates with prospects operating in fast-moving environments. This requires proactively investing time to research macro-level trends, monitor new technologies, and build a professional network that provides visibility into changes as they emerge.

Start by subscribing to industry research reports, thought leadership blogs, analyst commentary, and relevant publications to gain insights into challenges peers may be facing and groundbreaking solution areas. For example, manufacturing sales reps should read smart factory journals to learn about IoT and predictive maintenance advances that could impact their customers. Similarly, software company reps need visibility into shifting paradigms like AI-driven personalization that might soon dominate prospect roadmaps.

Regularly attending industry events, seminars, meetups and tradeshows also provides invaluable exposure to the latest innovations and allows networking with prospects tackling new initiatives. Conversations at these gatherings invariably deal with bleeding-edge obstacles and use cases that salespeople should take note of.

The goal is proactively absorbing continuous information from multiple credible sources, not stagnating with fixed assumptions. Then synthesizing these inputs to adjust positioning and messaging accordingly. For example, the pandemic triggered dramatic supply chain instability and labor shortages, requiring pivots to remote-expert and self-service automation narratives.

By continually researching industry evolution and challenges, networking with those on the front lines of change, and tuning pitches to align with emerging realities, salespeople become trusted advisors versus out-of-touch vendors. They earn relevance by showcasing comprehension of what prospects face now and will confront next. This thought leadership builds credibility and relationships far more effectively than recycled, outdated pitches.

Measure results

Consistently tracking quantifiable sales metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) provides invaluable visibility into what strategies, messages, and tactics are resonating most with prospects. This data-driven analysis enables continual optimization of outreach campaigns to improve results over time.

Start by establishing clear benchmarks aligned to business objectives, like new customer acquisition targets, average deal size goals, intended sales cycle length, and projected revenue growth. Instrument all systems and workflows to capture performance against these North Star numbers down to individual rep-level contribution.

Analyze metrics like call connect rates, email open/response rates, meaningful conversation rates, opportunities created, deals closed, customer lifetime value, and revenue realized relative to goals. Identify bright spots where particular reps, campaigns, or customer segments overachieve KPIs for further emphasis and replication.

Conversely, diagnose areas of underperformance to uncover process weaknesses and knowledge gaps. If ConnectRates fall below thresholds, revisit messaging. If CloseRates suffer, reexamine qualification criteria to avoid wasted cycles. If ASPs lag, validate value communication. Review losses to learn why deals stall and implement improvements.

The goal is perpetually monitoring data, spotlighting what succeeds, diagnosing what fails, distilling insights, and quickly applying learnings into optimized go-to-market motions via continual testing. This agile, metrics-driven approach provides the feedback loop for sales teams to systematically improve execution, accelerate pipeline velocity, and boost productivity quarter over quarter.

Breakthrough in the Complex B2B Sales Arena

B2B sales requires ongoing learning and optimizing to thrive in an ever-changing environment. By thoroughly researching prospects, crafting relevant messaging, building authentic relationships, providing ongoing value, staying atop market trends and continually improving approaches based on data, sales professionals can systematically boost performance. Embracing the core tenets outlined here of knowing your customer, communicating relevance, prioritizing partnerships, adding value, remaining future-focused and using metrics positions you for success. Now equipped with these proven tips and frameworks, you’re ready to achieve breakthrough results amidst the complexities of modern B2B sales.

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