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Improve Your Sales Process and Close More Sales

Sales 06:50: min

A B2B sales cycle is a series of steps which helps a sales team convert prospects into leads, and then into clients. If done properly, these instructions are applicable in all cases, for any potential client, whether you’re a:

  • Business that provides services to other businesses
  • A company which develops enterprise software
  • An organization who sells products or raw materials that other businesses need

In essence, B2B sales represents a model of doing business. You’re looking to convince another company to buy what you’re selling. However, unlike B2C, this usually involves high prices, so a more thorough process is needed. 

If you’re looking to scale your business effectively, we’re the agency you need. Looking to outsource sales? Done deal. Want us to train your in-house sales team? Can do. 

We’ve already generated over $100,000,000 in B2B sales for our clients, and are looking forward to helping you too.

What is a B2B Sales Process?

If you want to sell in the B2B world, you’ll need a well-designed and executed strategy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be complex. On the contrary, it should be simple to follow by all team members. However, it must touch on all the important points.

In essence, that’s your sales process. A distinct range of sales techniques that target a variety of buyer personas and selling channels.

The exact number of stages that the process can have varies by company, but we recommend 9:

  1. Finding New Prospects
  2. Understanding Prospects
  3. Qualifying Them as Leads
  4. Building a Genuine Rapport
  5. Promoting What You’re Selling
  6. Managing Refusals
  7. Negotiating the Details
  8. Following-up as Needed
  9. Nurturing New Leads

We’ll get into the specifics of each one in a bit. 

B2C vs. B2B Sales Process

There are key differences between B2C and B2B sales.

The most important one is that B2B involves sales professionals that are actively looking to build a rapport with individual prospects. Traditionally, this meant operating outside of an office and physically meeting people.

Nowadays though, a lot of it is done through email, calls and video conferencing. Since remote work is becoming more and more popular, it’s very likely the trend will continue.

A real sales expert can build a relationship with prospects and leads without ever meeting them face-to-face. There are plenty of CRM (customer relationship management) software on the market, not to mention email and LinkedIn (this is one place where you can get lots of leads). 

However, it can still be valuable to go and shake some hands. It is common for a sale to happen right after a personal meeting with a persuasive salesperson. 

The thing is, it’s still wasted time (going to a location, having the conversation, going back). All those extra steps are padding. That’s time in which you could’ve just had a call, and then lots of other calls.

In contrast, this type of interaction never happens in B2C. You’re speaking to a wide audience and focusing on emotion rather than facts and logic. Remember that in B2B, each client must feel special and be approached individually.

Other Differences

Since the general public is not your focus point here, you must tackle your priorities differently when making your B2B sales cycle. The variables come into play in other ways than for B2C.

  • The price: most of the time, prices are higher for B2B products and services than for ones intended for regular consumers. Don’t be discouraged that you have to ask for what you might see as “a lot”.
  • The market: you’re not going to have thousands of prospects. The number of people you can sell to is simply smaller. In consequence, each prospect is more important, as there’s fewer to choose from, and even fewer leads. 
  • Sale length: it’ll take longer to sell to a single B2B lead than it would take to sell to dozens of B2C leads. The scale is different, so more lead nurturing is needed.
  • Decision makers: B2C leads buy for themselves. B2B leads need the approval of a board, multiple stakeholders, etc.

Why Have a B2B Sales Cycle?

Each salesperson brings their own personality into the mix. However, sales is less about creativity, and more about technique and knowledge.

Knowing how to improvise is great, but your team needs fundamentals based on which they’d be able to improvise.

  • A streamlined process makes onboarding easier. 
  • Sales processes break overall strategies into manageable steps that can be executed.
  • Structuring a sales process helps avoid overlooking important aspects.
  • A B2B sales process gives you a better understanding of your pipeline.

9 Important Stages of a B2B Sales Cycle

Before you start implementing this cycle, we advise you to get in touch with us. We’ll create a bespoke sales strategy for your business.

1. Find New Prospects

The first step is finding new prospects to qualify later in the pipeline. You have to look for businesses which could actually benefit from what you’re selling. Remember, quality over quantity. 

Besides, even if you were to try and reach an overly wide audience, you’d quickly be hit by refusals. Focus on how you can help prospects, not on how much they could be paying you. 

There’s no point in contacting decision makers that would view your business as irrelevant to their industry. 

This is how you’ll build better outreach lists. Through research and commitment.

At the same time, try Uplead. It’s a software specifically designed for generating more leads. You get accurate data and your prospecting time is cut drastically.

2. Understand Prospects

It’s not enough to find prospects. You must understand their pain points, so that you can explain how your product or service will solve them. 

Furthermore, this also means that you must know the ins and outs of what you’re selling to the letter.

This is also called the discovery stage. The prospect is discovering who you are and how you can help, and you find out more information from them than what your initial research showed.

A few B2B sales process tips:

  • Check their website. What are they most proud of? How could your product/service improve what they’re already doing? What are they blogging about? Do you see a way of pitching your sale in a way that relates to their areas of interest? Make a few notes of their accomplishments and company values. Highlight how your own business would be a great cultural fit to theirs.
  • Connect on LinkedIn. What’s their recent activity? What are they commenting, sharing or endorsing? Do they publish their own articles or insights? Try to get into the psyche of your prospects and determine the best approach that fits their personality and interest.
  • Study their industry. You’re trying to convince the prospect that what you’re selling is directly relevant for their niche. So, you have to be able to show that you understand what their niche is all about. Otherwise, how could you possibly help them?

3. Qualify Them as Leads

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What’s the Best Way to Qualify a Lead?

Sales 06:58: min

Great, you know who to contact. Now it’s time to see if that prospect is really suitable for your organization.

You should focus on 3 aspects:

  • Their needs
  • Their budget
  • Decision making power

You’ve already done your research, so focus on how you can fulfill their needs. It’s also great if you can give examples of past results you’ve had. If they’re in the same industry, even better.

After you start a conversation, be very open about your pricing. Discuss what you’re charging versus how much they’re gaining from new clients, and the average lifetime value of their clients. Underline how your solution is going to make them more money down the line.

And finally, figure out if you’re actually talking to the right person. They need to have the authority to make a decision, or at least to pass you along to someone that does. Don’t waste your time.

4. Build a Genuine Rapport

People are more inclined to buy from sources they see as trustworthy. You must show that your business has a soul and that it isn’t only out for profit. Try to have a real interest in your lead’s company and to connect with them as a person.

This will help you stand out from other general pitches that they get daily. The more faith leads have in you, the faster the B2B sales cycle.

5. Promote What You’re Selling

You should understand by now what your lead cares about, and what they want to solve/improve. This is where creativity interconnects with a B2B sales process.

Take the facts about what you’re selling, and tailor a sales pitch to the precise needs of your lead. There’s no way around it, you need charisma as a sales representative. 

One great way of showing you know what you’re talking about is keeping it short. Aim to present all key strong points in less than 1 minute:

  • Reference prior discussion points and how your product/service solves problems the lead mentioned.
  • Have an exact price or a good ballpark estimate ready to go.
  • Leave room for questions. This avoids boring your lead with lengthy presentations and creates curiosity.

6. Manage Refusals

Leads will rarely agree to sign immediately, even after the greatest of presentations. Be open and patient to questions, follow-ups and the inclusion of other stakeholders in the discussion. 

This is a crucial time to remember the saying: the customer is always right.

If you simply disagree with what they’re saying, you’ll lose them. Hear them out and rephrase or reposition depending on context. Turn their negatives into your positives, and offer additional information that backs up your claims.

The more objections you’ll hear, the more you’ll notice they tend to be the same. In time, you’ll have replies ready for a number of situations. The trick is to have reasonable and reassuring answers right there and then.

7. Negotiate the Details

Now that the lead is convinced of your product/service’s value and they have no more objections, it’s time to close the deal. Whenever they try to lower the price, focus on the fact that this is an investment on their part. 

Everything they spend on you is going to come back as substantial ROI for them. If possible, toss in some free value to the deal if you’re noticing they’re getting rigid.

Make it a priority to ask about all stakeholders that need to sign off. You don’t want surprising delays to pop up along the way.

8. Follow-up as Needed

Leave a lasting good impression with an email that summarizes the key points you’ve discussed (ideally, with an audio/video recording of the meeting attached). Keep it short, professional, and highlight the next steps. 

End on a positive note such as being eager to help them scale their business and get more clients. This will leave an open window for upselling in the future.

9. Nurture Your New Clients

Great, you’ve got a new client! Now you must reinforce their decision from time to time. Check in with reports, ask for feedback or testimonials; or simply ask them how their business is doing now that they’re using your solution.

If they’re a really happy client, then attempt upselling. Sign them up for new services as well! Never let a contract run its course without pitching a client other ways in which you can help them.

Similarly, ask for a referral! Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most bulletproof types. When reaching out to a referral, they’re automatically a lead, shortening your B2B sales cycle.

In case a complaint or question arises, make it a priority to offer an answer with the utmost urgency. If you can’t answer it right at that moment, then send an email to inform them when you’ll be able to get in touch with an answer.

As a B2B sales rep., you’re also the face of your company and how leads and clients value your customer support.

Improve Your B2B Sales Process

As a B2B company, you’ve most likely encountered several common sales problems. 

For example:

  • Misalignment of sales & marketing.
  • Competing for a small pool of prospects.
  • Outdated sales techniques that are nevertheless still used.
  • Resistance to change in prospects.
  • Skill deficiencies/lack of training in your sales team.
  • Prospects avoid signing because of fear it won’t pay out.

At X27 Marketing, we’ve lost count of how many times we’ve solved such issues. Our strategies will help your team deliver 2 – 10X more sales in less than 90 days!

We can also fully handle your marketing needs. On average, our clients get 3X better cose rates after implementing our strategies.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s grow your business together with our B2B lead generation expertise.