Across the past 18 months, Simon & I have put a lot of time into business development. The impact of Covid & our shift to a consultancy amongst other things has resulted in us trying a lot of great, and some not-so-great approaches. With this in mind, here are our 4 tips for getting your B2B sales approach in order.
1. Be in a position to sell
Whilst this might seem obvious, producing materials & content is something that many brands who sell the business to business services ignore, or simply do not do enough of.
Last year, we committed to getting our own content in order, with the launch of our new website, case studies, creds decks & even new products (such as assurance): (link to assurance). Whilst in the short term this work meant a lot of resources were focused internally, rather than actually selling, it put us in a much better position to talk to brands confidently, without having to scramble materials together at the last minute.
Case studies are so important for showing off Digital Marketing experience, but they will differ for every industry. So, ask yourself, what content do your customers want to see? What questions can you answer with your content?
Producing long-form content, whitepapers or videos also opens up the opportunity to push your business across digital channels, which we will move on…
2. Be proactive, not reactive
Being proactive is critical to success in sales. Whilst it can be tempting or easy to just sit on what business you have during good periods or wait for referrals to come in, this is almost never a good idea - just take a look at your pipeline getting smaller and smaller.
Every B2B business should have in their mind a list of companies they want to work with once you have the content to talk with target brands, the question becomes: how do you reach them?
There are many channels that can be used when trying to gain the attention of a prospect, for us this typically would involve the use of email, events, business intelligence & intermediaries who can connect us with large brands. However, paid channels such as LinkedIn and Google Ads are great for driving leads from target industries and businesses, and ones with which we have had great success for our B2B clients.
Ultimately, it is all about testing what channels work best for your business to engage with target customers and making sure that you put the time into reaching & engaging with them.
3. Engage with the correct brands
Being honest with yourself & your target customer is so important to ensure you are focusing your time in the right areas.
As salespeople, it can be incredibly easy to get infatuated with a shiny new lead, but before you sink hours into a proposal for a brand with no budget (I have done it), or one which you think you won't win for whatever reason, stop & think.
Being prepared to say no to the ‘wrong’ lead or opportunity is so important, it can save time on proposals and means that the business does not become strained resource-wise on business which is either not profitable or fulfilling, whatever it is that makes a lead not quite right for you.
This helps the prospect too: waiting for a proposal only to be told that you are 100 times more expensive than they hoped at the last minute is just a waste of everyone's time.
Equally, if you don’t know what a good or a bad prospect is, then mapping out some criteria is a good place to start. After all, if you don’t know who your target customers are then you are likely not in a position to sell to them.
4. Have a personality
Playing it safe, especially when selling B2B is a path that far too many brands go down.
Don’t be afraid to have a bit of personality! Sure, don’t spend all your time trying to be funny and forget that you need to show you are capable of actually delivering work but also don’t come across like a sales robot.
We have been trying many different approaches to email, and our best response rates by far come when we showcase who we are. Far too often, I receive follow-up emails from people trying to sell to me where the emails are so forgettable and I just ignore them.
This goes into phone calls, meetings, content production, and so on. Within B2B, having a personality as an individual and as a business can go a long way to helping you stand out and be remembered.
This has the added benefit of clearly showing you if the prospect is not right for your business. If someone doesn’t like you showing personality when selling, then they are almost not going to like you or the business when working together. Simple.
If you would like help with your B2B marketing, why not get in touch with us?