businessBusiness CoachingProcess ImprovementWhat is B2B Sales? Definition, Process, & Technique

February 27, 2023by nicoleevansmcda1

B2B sales have unique challenges. Transaction cycles are longer, more parties are engaged in the decision-making process, and specialists’ expertise of the items and services being sold is demanded from sellers. Nowadays, many businesses function remotely or in a hybrid setting, thus being proficient in digital communication is essential for any representative. Read on to learn the basics of the B2B sales process.

What is B2B Sales?

Business-to-business (B2B) is a situation, relationship, or market between two company entities. A business-to-business (B2B) company sells to other businesses.

Common examples of B2B sales include:

  1. Organizations that provide professional services (e.g. market research, consulting) to companies
  2. Businesses that provide digital/software services (e.g. CRM) to companies
  3. Companies that produce/distribute raw materials to manufacturing companies

When a firm sells its goods or services to another business, this is referred to as business-to-business (B2B) sales. B2B organizations need to retain a team of highly trained B2B sales experts in order to generate revenue because B2B sales typically involve higher price points, more intricate processes, and numerous touchpoints across multiple channels.

What’s the difference between B2B sales and B2C sales?

Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales differ principally in their target customers, as their names imply. Whereas B2B enterprises target other businesses, B2C businesses view the whole public (or certain subsets of it) as their target market and final customers.

This main differences between B2B and B2C are as follows:

  1. Price point. B2B products and services generally have higher prices compared to many consumer goods.
  2. Size of addressable market. B2C companies target thousands to millions of consumers while B2B companies may just have a few to several hundred potential customers.
  3. Sales process complexity. B2C customers may easily decide to purchase on the spot while it takes patient lead nurturing before B2B buyers make a positive purchasing decision.
  4. Number of decision makers. Only one individual is needed for a B2C purchase while multiple stakeholders are required to sign off a B2B deal.
  5. Sales velocity. B2B sales tend to have longer sales cycles compared to B2C due to the complexity of the selling process.
  6. Sales methodology. B2B salespeople use sophisticated selling techniques and follow well-calibrated sales processes to succeed. B2C sellers also need to hone selling skills but operate in a less punishing environment.
  7. Customer service. To prolong and increase customers’ lifetime value, B2B companies place a high premium on customer service, satisfaction, and success.

What is a B2B sales representative?

A B2B sales representative is a professional who engages corporate buyers by using strategic sequences and unique selling techniques. Corporate purchasers are frequently well-informed and probably considering competing offerings at the same time because they frequently conduct online research on goods and services before speaking with a salesperson.

To ensure the best possible B2B sales experience, B2B salespeople are accountable for a number of tasks, including:

  • making and answering sales calls
  • managing sales emails
  • setting meetings
  • conducting product demos/presentations
  • building rapport
  • handling objections
  • identifying pain points, and customer solving customer problems

B2B sales reps virtually control the whole sales cycle when teams without account executives are present, engaging clients throughout the full buying process, from lead generation and nurturing to closing transactions.

What’s the difference between B2B outside sales reps and B2B inside sales reps?

Due to meetings with clients and prospects as well as giving presentations at events, outside sales representatives in B2B sales frequently work outside of an office. On the other hand, inside sales representatives interact with clients over the phone, via email, and through video conferencing.

Without ever meeting their clients in person, inside sales people are capable of closing transactions. On the other hand, outside sales representatives nearly always close a deal during or right after a face-to-face appointment with a client.

The diverse approaches to engagement necessitate different skill sets and selling strategies for each discipline. For instance, whereas inside salespeople learn how to use CRMs, a shared sales process, email, and social media, outside salespeople make use of in-depth product knowledge and interpersonal communication abilities.

Recently, however, the line between inside and outside sales has started to blur as outside sales reps begin using the same communication technologies as well as engagement strategies favored by inside sales professionals.

What is the B2B sales process?

A successful B2B sales strategy must be well-planned and carried out because B2B selling is a challenging procedure. For diverse buyer personas and selling scenarios, it uses a wide variety of sales approaches and adheres to a certain methodology.

Your industry, business, and sales organization will determine the precise number and names of the phases in your sales process, although a typical B2B sales cycle has five to eight stages.

Here is a seven-stage B2B sales cycle example:

  1. Preparation/Research
  2. Prospecting
  3. Needs Assessment
  4. Presentation/Sales Pitch
  5. Negotiation/Handling Objections
  6. Closing
  7. Follow-up

What is a B2B sales funnel?

The B2B sales funnel aligns with the buyer’s journey as opposed to the B2B sales process, which concentrates on the seller’s viewpoint. By highlighting the cognitive or emotional stages a prospect experiences during the buying process, the sales funnel frequently acts as a depiction of the prospect’s proximity to or likelihood of making a purchase.

The majority of B2B sales funnels have 4 to 7 phases. Using a 7-step B2B sales funnel as an example:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Purchase
  5. Evaluation
  6. Delight/Dissatisfaction
  7. Repurchase/Attrition

How do you make a B2B sale?

The B2B sales method takes into account a number of variables, such as seller competency, sales process effectiveness, product fit, alternatives that are available, and the buyer’s purchasing ability and adoption willingness.

Businesses must do the following in order to get all these moving pieces to cooperate:

  • Build a responsive B2B sales strategy
  • Determine the best B2B sales techniques for their teams and ideal customers
  • Create well-calibrated playbooks and sequences for their sales reps to follow
  • Measure and improve performance

B2B Sales Techniques

There are a plethora of B2B sales frameworks and approaches available. Even though they all assert to be efficient, not all of them will work for your company, your sales team, or your target market. Other ways only succeed if they fit the kinds of customer accounts in your portfolio, while some methods may work well for a particular industry but not others.

The following are some of the more popular B2B sales approaches and techniques:

  • Solution Selling
  • The Challenger Sale
  • Account-Based Sales
  • Value Selling
  • The Sandler Selling system

Sales organizations analyze and track key performance indicators to ascertain whether a B2B sales approach or a certain sales sequence has a good influence on a firm (KPIs). KPIs are established measurements that are used to evaluate how well a sales organization performs in many aspects, including profitability, sustainability, and efficiency. They are also used to identify patterns and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of particular salespeople.

Typical KPIs for B2B sales include:

  • Quota attainment rate
  • Average deal size
  • Sales velocity
  • New leads generated per month
  • Win rate

B2B Sales Challenges

B2B companies tend to confront several common challenges. The most pressing issues in B2B sales include:

  • Sales and marketing misalignment
  • Competition for limited number of potential customers
  • Resistance to technology adoption
  • Entrenched but outdated sales mindset/culture
  • Seller skills/training deficiencies

B2B Sales Tips

Here are some tips for improving B2B sales performance:

  1. Personalize customer communications. Use technology to help you personalize at scale.
  2. Never skimp on continuous seller training. B2B buyers are smart — they prefer to engage professionals who demonstrate expertise and empathy.
  3. Build genuine rapport through active listening, critical thinking, and asking the right questions. Go for omni-channel outreach (mobile, social media, email, events, sales calls, etc.,)
  4. Consider establishing a dedicated sales ops and a sales enablement team.
  5. Go beyond CRM and marketing automation. Embrace new technologies such as sales engagement platforms. Use data to help you make smarter decisions and playbooks.
  6. Encourage, monitor, and display positive customer feedback. Showcase customer success stories and incorporate case studies into your sales playbook.
  7. Establish full strategic and tactical alignment among all customer-facing units from marketing and sales to customer success.

What is the future of B2B Sales?

The world of B2B sales is rapidly evolving. The distinction between inside sales and outside sales is blurring, and B2B is adopting consumer sales best practices, particularly when it comes to personalisation.

Sales technologies that were only recently developed (like revenue intelligence platforms) are now essential for survival. The ecosystem is being shaken by technology and a focus on the customer as machine learning and artificial intelligence enable teams to scale customer engagement and revenue.

 

Contact MCDA CCG, Inc today with any questions about your business!

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