With increased attention around B2B salespeople providing a “customer first” experience, this is the perfect time to evolve.
Your B2B buyers now have unparalleled access to product and service information, which has made them more trusting of online information and armed them with more questions for you. What this means is that it is time to revisit your sales strategy, and the best way to do so is by walking in your prospects’ shoes.
Whether you are already working in sales and wish to upskill, or you are new to the game and trying to find your feet, you will want to ensure you have got all your bases covered. Our sales tips, we will help you do just that.
1. Know who you are up against and differentiate yourselfYour first sales tip is, you need to know exactly who you are up against and how your business compares to others. In other words, you need to uncover the businesses that offer similar products or services to yours as they are in a position to encroach on your opportunities.
A competitor analysis is exactly what you need- a lens into your business and your competitors but from your customer’s point of view. This analysis zooms in on each player from their operational strengths, product offerings, market influence, missed opportunities to their differentiators.
When you know what differentiates your business from your competitors you can strategically draw on your unique selling points (USPs) and values. For example, consider your delivery time, product convenience, or customer support and use these traits to convince your competitors’ customers to switch.
If you find that your USPs are few and far between, use your competitor analysis to tailor your processes to better serve your target audience and identify best practices to adopt or isolate.
2. End each meeting with a call to action or agreed next stepsHow you end a meeting, call, or email is often more important than how you start it. In our experience, the ideal way to close any conversation with a potential customer is by defining and agreeing on the next steps.
Our second sales tip is to never assume that your prospect is familiar with the sales process, so while you may receive a nod or reassuring smile, do not take this as your confirmation. A verbal agreement is what you are looking for.
Whether face-to-face, on a zoom call, or sending a cold email, ask your prospect questions about what you are proposing. This way you can subtly learn what concerns your prospect has, resolve them, and ensure alignment at the close of the conversation.
Agreeing on the next steps is also an opportunity for clear commitments and progress, so you can rest assured the conversation will lead to action. Simply make sure these commitments are specific and have deadlines, so you can follow up. Lastly, I recommend adding a moment to reflect on the value that was accomplished. People rarely state the value of a conversation yet it is an easy way to ensure alignment and show acknowledgment.
3. Get to know your prospects using qualified B2B dataOne expectation of salespeople is that they consistently stay on their game. But how can you do that when you are juggling generating leads, keeping prospects engaged, and enriching data for decision making?
One sales tip that will help you stay on top of your game is to use a combination of B2B data– demographic, firmographic, chronograph, psychographics, and intent data. For instance, you can use demographic data such as age, gender, and location to identify and segment your audience and create content that is better suited to their needs and expectations.
What is great about these data types is that they can be used to inform every stage of the customer journey, so you can meet expectations and tailor your sales approach. Intent data, for instance, is the trail of actions potential customers leave behind online. Historical activity, pages searched, how long a page was looked at, the scroll speed. All this information is captured and can be used to track the success of your outreach efforts and verify a prospect’s intent to purchase your product.
At the end of the day, B2B data is your key to knowing your prospect through and through. hubsell’s sales automation solution can help you get a database of qualified B2B data. Not only does hubsell offer support in compiling rich data profiles but also helps you roll out targeted campaigns.
4. Use success stories and storytelling to captivate prospectsB2B buyers may think your solution will help solve their problem but often are not ready to commit to buying because they are not emotionally convinced. As a result, they might reject the offer, postpone or bargain the price.
Our sales tip in this situation is, instead of showering them with figures and facts try triggering their emotions with storytelling and success stories. Stories are a great way to put consultative selling into action. In other words, when prospects ask questions, help them visualise possibilities by using storytelling to teach them something new, give advice or offer useful tips and recommendations.
Also, consider your modern B2B buyer that turns to product reviews and user feedback. By the time your potential customer reaches you, they may have come across a variety of reviews good and bad. Success stories will quickly counter any negative reviews and confirm your ability to meet their needs.
A great story will use a combination of logic and emotion by combining statistics and narrative, but before you get narrating remember to maintain the focus on your audience, instead of you. This way you will resonate with your prospect better. For instance, if you want to explain why your solution solves your prospects’ pain points uniquely, share a similar story about a prospect that switched from a competitor to your solution.
5. Dig deeper and do not underestimate the power of preparationWhether you plan to contact an existing customer, new prospect, or a sales qualified lead (SQL), research and preparation is your key to success. Preparation could be the difference between targeting the right versus the wrong personas or prospecting with fresh versus outdated data.
For starters, you need to understand your potential customers’ intent, expectations, and needs as this will prevent you from wasting time asking blatantly obvious questions that should rather be guiding your conversations.
Once you have all the necessary information on your prospect, the preparation begins. Consider your outbound style. The words you use matter so I recommend preparing an opening statement as this is the best way to get the first 10 seconds of any engagement right.
Also, practice creating curiosity by asking questions, sound more confident by illustrating expertise and embody a genuinely helpful attitude. You could even go as far as preparing responses for brush-offs so you can skillfully reply to requests such as, “send me some information” or “call me next quarter”.
6. Make selling more manageable with sales automation solutionsSales automation software is not a passing trend, rather it continues to make selling more manageable. As the name suggests, sales automation takes the time-consuming administrative tasks salespeople perform and redirects them to an automated system.
For instance, you could automate a workflow that will begin when a prospect converts on an offer on your website. A drip-feed email campaign can kick in, with a series of emails being sent out at set intervals, until another action or trigger occurs that removes your prospect out of that specific workflow.
To take full advantage of your automation software and all it offers, it is best to choose a system that can be fully integrated with an existing CRM. hubsell’s sales automation solution, for instance, automates outbound prospecting and can be used with all major CRM solutions. Our solution helps you uncover new opportunities and offers a multi-channel outbound sales facility.
Ultimately, sales automation can help you get all the information you need to close an account faster while without it, you make covering other bases more difficult, time-consuming, and open to inaccuracies.
7. Navigate pricing complexity and negotiate better in B2B salesSalespeople encounter various price-related queries and negotiations such as “I will purchase your product provided you give me a 20-30% discount”. Why is this the case? Today’s buyer is faced with too many choices and most of them will make a purchase decision based on the price.
I would even go as far as to say that today’s modern buyer ends up considering too many vendors with products that lack differentiation. It is therefore up to you to stand out. Our sales tip is to find out what factors your buyer considers when making pricing decisions because, with this information, you can negotiate better and plan your pricing strategy.
Another sales tip is to pay more attention to your product differentiation. Perhaps the kind of customer service you provide demands a higher price. Even look at your competitors’ products and understand where and how you score better.
Also, you may be aware of your product differentiators, but how much difference are we talking about? You should clearly articulate this and help buyers see that doing business with you is safer, profitable, and less risky. In other words, communicate the tangible and intangible value your product offers before the price. For example, discuss your solution’s value versus its return on investment (ROI). With these sales tips in mind, be ready to negotiate with your buyers and work towards a win-win.
8. Tailor your approach when selling to B2B millennial buyersKeep millennials in mind when engaging prospects as they now make up 73% of B2B decision-makers. What this means is that taking a wholly traditional sales approach will not deliver the streamlined customer journey you desire.
Engagement and convenience are key with B2B millennial buyers, so ensure you are taking a customer-centric approach. For example, nothing is more interactive and convenient than watching a video. 6 out of 10 people now prefer watching online videos to reading long-form content or calling you, so our sales tip is to share product demos, case studies, new product features, and even webinars this way.
Take advantage of your online presence on your website, social networks, and other digital mediums. Your credibility and integrity are highly influenced by your ability to offer customers a social process on multiple channels via email, messenger, phone call, and LinkedIn.
Also, as mentioned earlier B2B millennial buyers do a lot of research online before contacting you, so use intent data along with other B2B data to understand your customers better and reach out at the optimal moment.
9. Have excellent timing with your responses and product rolloutIn B2B sales, if you do not respond to queries from prospects or follow up timeously you are essentially giving your potential customer time to go in search of other options.
You should aim to connect with potential customers early in their research stage and before they start considering different vendors. The challenge with being first, however, is that you need to proactively notice when prospects signal their interest or desire.
With inbound leads, our sales tip is to consider your response time. In our experience responding within an hour increases your chances of converting your prospect. There are even times of the day, week, and year that should be noted as high response times for outbound leads. For instance, you will find that traffic is highest in the first half of the day and around lunchtime.
Lastly, the new year brings a new sense of urgency and a new budget so take advantage of the beginning of the year and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of cold outreach in summer.
10. Pay attention to digital body language in remote sellingWhen we connect with prospects from behind a screen, we often do not take note of their digital body language that is usually easier to read in face-to-face meetings. For example, the furrowed brow, the lean in, the direct eye contact. These are signals that allow us to respond with curiosity, to engage or change the topic of conversation if required.
In virtual environments, there are incredible differences in how the buyer’s brain is reacting to our selling. Especially since they could be reading into signals that you may be sending that you don’t intend to.
Some nonverbal signals to pay attention to include fidgeting hands or eyes looking off-camera, as they could be signs that someone is skeptical or surprised. The crossing of the arms could suggest annoyance or defensiveness, however, if coupled with a smile this means something different. Instead of anger, it suggests focus or deep listening.
The great news is that if you know what to look for and how to respond, you can speed up trust and connection during sales conversations in the virtual world.
11. Make customer service a sticking point from the get-goYou may not need a five-star rating for customer service to win deals, but when there are gaps in the expected level of service, you risk losing prospects or worse making a trend of bad reviews.
Poor customer service could include anything from service being too slow or too fast, too complicated, or even too detached. A common problem with B2B businesses’ customer service is that there is often a weak link in the chain. Keep in mind that the responsibility of delivering outstanding customer service does not occur during onboarding. Rather it starts with salespeople because sales is a service.
It is no longer enough to know your product, keep your word, respond to queries quickly and personalise your service for each customer. Customers want to see that you are dedicated to solving their problems before they become a serious issue.
To improve your ability to offer stellar support, our sales tip is to start actively listening to your prospects’ concerns and be more empathetic and creative in your problem-solving. Also, keep your new B2B millennial buyer in mind. We prefer to feel like we are solving issues on our own as opposed to having someone to do it for us. So try incorporating self-service tools such as online demo sign-ups, chatbots, or even live chat on your website.