The term “B2B sales” often circulates through the world of business and marketing, though your standard businessperson may not really understand exactly what it means. The world of B2B sales is a booming industry that is constantly updating its marketing trends. This one-stop-shop guide will tell you everything you need to know about B2B sales and how to be successful in your B2B marketing efforts.
What exactly is B2B Sales?
B2B stands for business-to-business and refers to a company or its salespeople who market products or services directly to another company instead of individual prospective customers and is a solution that cuts out the middleman. Due to the nature of B2B sales, they are often much more complex and require more planning, marketing, and expertise than selling directly to the consumer. However, B2B is an incredibly popular industry, and for obvious reasons: companies often buy a lot and they buy consistently. Generally, B2B sales positions are much higher paid when compared to other salespeople and the job requires much more knowledge and experience of the business industry to ensure the marketing reaches its targeted customers to ensure lead generation.
Main Types of B2B Sales
There are three main types of B2B sales that make up the decision-making process. The first includes selling a product that the company considers a necessity, such as printer ink or office supplies. The second type of B2B sales is when a company’s sales reps sell components or parts that the other business requires to manufacture their products, such as selling batteries or switches to an electronics manufacturer. Both of these styles include the manufacturing and marketing of a product.
Lastly, B2B sales can include offering a service that the decision maker must outsource, such as a private accountant firm offering tax assistance to businesses or a marketing company, offering to help a business market their brand. This is a bit trickier because businesses will only outsource the work if they do not have an employee or department to handle the job already, such as a marketing team or on-staff accountant.
B2B vs. B2C: Why B2B is Often More Complex
‘B2C Sales” refer to business-to-business sales of products directly to consumers. This is the more commonly considered type of sales, though both are equally important. However, B2B sales are much more complex and difficult to close than regular B2C sales. There are several factors that make this true.
First, most businesses have a team, a relationship manager, and a decision maker in charge of company purchases and marketing, meaning that, during B2B sales, you must pitch to the entire team and sway them all to buy your product—even when cold calling—whereas B2C sales generally only requires you to pitch and market to an individual consumer. This team generally consists of highly trained professionals who are experts at getting the best deals for their company, ensuring product quality, and recognising scams, loopholes, or defects. Generally, you will not sway an entire team of professionals with a catchy phrase or well-designed logo, which may sometimes be the case in B2C marketing. Instead, a B2B salesperson will need to know every detail about their product and how to pitch it thoroughly and professionally to the business. This is why B2B sales require much more knowledge and expertise—not only of the product but of the business industry as well.
Steps to Take Before You Pitch
Before pitching your product or service to a company, there are a few steps you can take to help you solidify and customise your sales pitch to express the needs of the company. First, you should know the company well. If you have to ask questions about the company, their products, or their need for your products, you are likely to get laughed out of their office. Instead, begin by making yourself as knowledgeable about the company as possible. You can utilise social media for this. Most businesses will have multiple social accounts. Because they are marketing their product, you’ll be able to easily find information about their product online, which will help you understand why they may need your product.
You may also look into the company’s mission statement or any other background information you can find. Sometimes, it helps to market to the company’s mission or morals, instead of just their manufacturing needs. For instance, a vegan skincare company may be interested in your emulsifier that is palm-oil-free because it appeals to their desire to be as environmentally conscious as possible.
Second, you should know your competition. Social media outlets such as LinkedIn may help you get a good idea of who you’re up against. You shouldn’t copy them by any means because individuality is still important. However, it may help you see what B2B marketing strategies are and aren’t working for people in a related business. You will also be a few steps ahead when you head into the conference to make your sales pitch.
How to Increase Your Chances of Success
After you have done your research on the company, your competitors, and are knowledgeable about your product, you are ready to make your sales pitch. However, you can increase your chances of pitching successfully by creating a “pitch plan” before you contact the business. This can include outlining some of your products qualities that make it a good fit for the individual business, as well as thoroughly practicing your pitch. The business’s purchasing staff will likely be able to tell if you are nervous, lacking confidence, or have limited knowledge during your pitch.
Design your pitch to get straight to the point. The purchasing staff is busy and beating around the bush won’t earn you any brownie points. Be sure that you thoroughly outline your product, but don’t waver too long on unnecessary details. Instead, offer time for questions at the end of your pitch. In fact, you should encourage questions so that you know that no stone was left unturned.
Remember, most companies buy in bulk and buy consistently, so you will often not get an answer right away or the purchasing staff may postpone the purchase to a later date. This doesn’t always mean your pitch was unsuccessful. Remember to always end the encounter on good terms and encourage the company to contact you in the future if they come to a decision or if their needs change. B2B sales often focus more on a long-term plan than on short-term sales, so don’t get discouraged and don’t give up easily! If you follow all the tips and tricks to successful B2B marketing, success will come your way!