Accomplishing a successful B2B sales strategy has always been challenging, even before the days when salespeople controlled the purchasing process significantly. But today, it has become more difficult. Purchasers no longer rely on salespeople for primary information about an organization’s product or services. Now, technology has made it easy for purchasers to evade interaction with the sales representatives.
How do salespeople adjust to this present dynamic? What does it take to break through continuous noise that prospective clients are bombarded with each day in the form of ads, emails, and social media posts?
Today, the biggest part of a successful B2B sales strategy is to spend less time trying to sell to the leads, and more time learning about them and their problems. In order to monitor all the information you collect, it helps to have a robust CRM solution in place.
The B2B Purchaser’s Journey
For instance, let’s think that an employee has been given the responsibility to purchase a new accounting system for the organization. Hence, how will the purchaser journey look like?
- a) Google search for accounting software.
- b) Visit multiple suppliers.
- c) Go through product reviews on social media, blogs, and review sites.
- d) Identify a few contenders based on internal criteria.
- e) Recommend the top contenders to the management.
- f) Select some suppliers and reach out to them for demos and pricing.
- g) Select the solution and complete the purchase.
In this case, whatever happens to the salesperson before selecting vendors and reaching out to them for demos and pricing is invisible. Top contenders that were selected, they only must compete with one or two other suppliers. For all suppliers that were already dismissed by the employee during the search, they never get the scope to compete for the business.
Adapting B2B Sales Strategy
With 65 to 75 percent of the decision-making process taking place before a client speaks with a sales representative, how do B2B salespeople adapt?
Here we present three things that businesses must consider to get a firm grip on their customers’ purchasing process.
- Make dynamic and rich content to engage purchasers.
- Extend salespeople into brand advocates and educators.
- Align marketing and sales closely.
Create Good and Engaging Content
All organizations must have the ultimate authority on their products or services. But, many organizations fail to offer materials such as case studies, video tutorials, white papers, and more than purchasers are searching for while trying to make a decision.
Creating engaging content and making it available encourages prospective purchasers to communicate with your brand earlier in the process, instead of relying entirely on the third-party information which may or may not be entirely accurate. Sales outreach, which includes good content, is much more likely to extract positive response than outreach with no content.
Changing the Role of Salespeople
Sales representatives need to sell, and that must be their primary focus. But, empowering them to become brand educators and advocates provides them the chance to communicate with their customers and build a strong relationship before the final decision is made.
Marketing technology can inform salespeople when a prospect has engaged with company content. It enables a sales representative the opportunity to participate by answering questions, offering additional content, or connecting prospects with already existing customers if appropriate.
Aligning Marketing and Sales
It is because purchasers are doing so much online research before contacting a sales representative, website properties like blogs, social media channels, and company website are often the first point of contact that purchasers have with an organization.
Instead of silo marketing, it has become increasingly significant for both the sales as well as the marketing departments to get involved at every stage of the funnel.
How CRM Solutions Help B2B Sales
During the initial days of CRM and sales, keeping basic contact information on leads and prospects in the database was enough. Whereas today, a lead may have multiple interactions with an organization before any official sales call is conducted.
Such interactions must be monitored, examined, and logged for the best chance of success. Various marketing automation platforms monitor and generate detailed data about visitor interaction with an organization across its complete range of marketing efforts.
Contemporary CRM solutions have adapted to the new reality and provide a range of features that empower salespeople and managers to implement a modern B2B sales strategy. For instance, many CRM platforms can keep track of a prospect’s multiple social media accounts. It enables both marketing and sales employees to interact and engage with prospects on their preferred channels. Marketing automation platforms often integrate with customer relationship management solution directly, passing significant data on to the CRM, which can show users the complete history of a lead, starting from their first visit.
Moreover, the addition of artificial intelligence to CRM software has made it easier for the users to process, examine, and act on the mountains of data being gathered.
The Bottom Line
With the balance of power shifting massively to purchasers, sales representatives can no further expect to receive multiple turns with every prospect. Rather at times, they may get only one. Hence, for this reason, it is crucial that businesses B2B sales strategy is tuned finely and always firing on all cylinders. Sales representatives should take every advantage so they can compete in an increasingly crowded landscape. It is only possible if they have the right tools like a CRM system.