A Complete Guide to B2B Sales

 In many cases, every business owner dreams of making business-to-business (B2B) sales. There are multiple reasons for this. B2B transactions not only have more significant order values and higher conversion rates, but they also increase productivity and are usually inexpensive.



B2B sales, as opposed to business-to-consumer transactions, can be ideal for your company. With the leaps in e-commerce, especially online marketplaces like Alibaba.com, you can reach more businesses and increase your product sales.

    What are B2B Sales?

    B2B (business-to-business) deals refer to transactions that take place between two companies. In B2C (business-to-consumer) you sell directly to (individual) "end consumers". In B2B, you sell your product or service to another company (e.g. wholesaler or retailer). A manufacturing company that sells its products to another wholesale company or an e-commerce platform like Alibaba.com that provides business services to do business with millions of other companies around the world are prime examples of B2B businesses.


    What is the difference between B2B and B2C?

    Business-to-business sales are very different from business-to-consumer sales. The easily noticeable difference is that B2C involves the sale of a product or service by a company directly to consumers. Here are some more differences between B2B and B2C sales:


    • More decision-makers are involved: all salespeople in B2C sales have to do is connect with individual consumers. B2B sales are another ball game. In addition to relying on “logic” for you or your sales team, there are usually multiple company employees in different departments before the sale can be completed.
    • Larger order values ​​and transactions: Customers in B2C businesses often buy units for consumption. Consumer sales in B2B, of course, tend to be more important as companies buy in bulk. Bulky sales mean higher sales and profits.
    • Longer sales cycle: Admittedly, sales are often completed faster in B2C than in B2B. In contrast to B2C, there are generally no “emotional” or impulse purchases in B2B sales. Because the sale is to businesses and more stakeholders are involved, transactions typically take longer to complete. B2B buyers need to take the time to weigh their options and make a logical decision.
    • Flexible pricing: Fixed prices per product are typical for B2C sales. A buyer in the B2C sector who wants to purchase several products often multiplies the fixed price by the number of quantities. B2B sales are usually not like that. There are more pronounced negotiation processes in B2B sales.
    • Complex payment process: In B2C sales, consumers often pay in advance or immediately after receiving the goods or services. This is usually not the case with B2B transactions. In B2B, payment transactions should be completed and an invoice should usually be issued for a later payment plan.

    Overall, B2B sales like B2C have their good and bad sides. For companies whose target market is other companies or for companies looking to sell more, B2B sales can be a better alternative.


     THIS IS:    B2B vs B2C: 7 Key Differences You Should Know About


    This is how the B2B sales process works

    Business-to-business sales have their way. It is not often the same moment that you get a potential deal to close the sale. B2B marketers often refer to the B2B sales process as a "funnel". Sales (B2B or B2C) have developed further in recent years. With the digital transformation, there is no more access to information.

    Unlike in the past, there are now more people involved in B2B sales. It was a long time ago when a person would make decisions about a purchase, or just a few. Now all decision-makers need to be convinced before the sale can be completed. Also, as mentioned earlier, buyers are now better informed because they have access to relevant information on the Internet. What's more, the competition is growing steadily. As a business, you need to understand your target companies and position your company to solve its business problems.

    But first, it needs some insight into the business buying process. Here's a step-by-step guide to B2B sales strategies.


    Step 1: Research

    Well, there are companies out there that you can do business with. But it's not that companies are lining up on your doorstep. The first step in the B2B sales process is generating leads. How do you find the business prospects you want to sell to? Various strategies can be used in this process depending on your company and the industry in which you are. Direct and indirect marketing or generating inbound and outbound leads are effective tactics.


    • Research your competition

    The easiest way to get an idea is to research your competitors or companies that sell similar products. Finding out the unique selling point is ideal. What is the difference between a brand and another? Why do consumers prefer one brand over another? Also important, why should one quality lead you over other brands that market similar products?

    Other relevant business selling points are your competitors' brand voice, products, or prices. Once you figure this out, compare it to your company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT).

    • Know your target market

    The next step is to identify your audience or leads. Do this by creating a profile dossier. This starts by researching the business niche and creating a catalog of potential leads based on demographics (age, gender, income, etc.), company role, business goals and objectives, challenges, and interests.


    Here are some questions that need answers:

      • What are your business burdens?
      • What solutions do your products offer for your business?
      • How do your business goals align with theirs?
      • What are you currently doing that is not working?

    Getting a clear view of your market, your competition and potential leads are essential parts of the B2B sales funnel.


    Step 2: Generate Leads (Prospects)

    Ecommerce made this a little easier. The main goal of having an online presence is to grow your business and generate leads that, in turn, translate into sales. Using an inbound marketing strategy is one of the strategies that you should be employing. You can create relevant content and promote your business on blogs and social media. An inbound system enables you to acquire new leads through your website visitors.

    Similarly, email signatures can be used to promote your company's services and attract new leads.


    Step 3: Qualify B2B Leads

    The fact is, not all leads are worth following. Unless you know the following, it will cost you both time and resources. Now that you've identified the leads, it's still your job to sort them out and identify the viable leads to build communication with.

    In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, a “score system” is required, which is based on several criteria. A customer relationship management system (CRM) can help you evaluate potential customers and rank them according to their profitability.


    Step 4: cultivating the prospects

    Now that you've identified your viable leads, how do you go about it? In the next step, interested parties are looked after and prepared for a B2B pitch. This process is about building a relationship, gaining the trust of prospects, and positioning your company as an authority in your niche.

    In the past, cold calling was traditionally the way to go. As a salesperson, you call the numbers of the identified leads and try to present your business to them. Cold calling is still in practice and has its success rates. Nonetheless, technology has offered various other ways to reach leads. One of them is search engine optimization (SEO). Aside from social media engagements, email targeting is also one of the viable options. You can email your prospect's decision-makers and share the value for their business with them. 


    Step 5: prepare a proposal

    When contacting a prospect, it's not about showing off your products right away. This is a common mistake. An effective way to tackle this process is to get to know the other company first and how your product can be particularly helpful to them. Preparing a quote is an important B2B sales process. The first contacts may not have been very successful. The key is not to give up. Here are a few tips for this process:


    • The warmest leads come first: preference is usually given to the companies you have a warm relationship with.
    • A little bit of personalization helps: your emails or your contacts have to reflect your brand identity. Sending general messages is less beneficial than sending personalized emails.
    • Follow Up: Replying to due emails and tracking leads increases your chances of moving a prospect to the next step.

    This first contact gives you the opportunity to evaluate each prospect and determine what they need. The conversations will help you figure out how your company can help provide solutions to its business problems. This process is often a back and forth discussion. Both companies have a clear understanding of their organization, but what is required is that both companies see how the other company can help their business.

     

    The back and forth conversation should be able to provide answers to these questions:

    • What product problems is the company facing?
    • When did the problem start and how did you realize that previous solutions were not effective?
    • What steps have been taken to resolve the problems?
    • What solutions do you need?
    • Which stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions?

    Step 6: pitching your products

    All of the above steps are designed to lead you to a sales pitch for your product. But it's a fact: while you take care of your products, prospects aren't too keen on it. The important thing is how your product can offer solutions and further support your business. That is the area you need to type in. Pitching is about showing how your product can deliver viable business points.

    Setting your pitch to fill the gaps in your prospect's business will increase your success rate. It's ideal to showcase impactful content that will grab potential customers' attention. The first important way to do this is by creating compelling customer success stories. A positive track record and experience in meeting customer needs will keep your prospects moving to the sale.

    Pitches can take place via pre-recorded video content or via live video conferences or meetings. However it is done, a sales pitch can ruin or ruin all of the efforts you've made. It is best to bring the A game with you. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a personalized sales pitch.


    Step 7: Responding to Inquiries

    The B2B sales funnel is not a one-way process. It's about your company and the other company working together. In the processor after a pitch, it is important to prepare to provide answers to questions. In fact, successful pitches are about involving the decision-makers and letting their questions guide you. Pitches shouldn't be about talking about your product. Most importantly, advising prospects about your alternatives will help them achieve their goals and solve their problems.

    Step 8: Submitting the Proposal

    If you are in this process, you are about to close the sale. But you are not there yet. Your suggestion will play an important role in whether or not you can make sales. There are many tricks that can be used to send a winning bid. One of these tricks is to create "scenarios" and different sales options for your prospects.

    With just one viable option, the odds are stacked against you. Providing multiple choices means your prospects have alternatives to choose from. This increases your chances of getting a deal.


    Step 9: follow up on the suggestion

    For B2B sellers, the question is not whether to follow up or not; The point is to find the right time to follow up. If you do a follow-up exam too early, you may risk looking desperate or harassing the prospect. Too late, well….

    To know when to follow up, you need to strike a balance between intuition and what you already know about the prospect.

    What if your proposal is rejected? Expecting all of your bids to be accepted is unrealistic. Getting discouraged and “giving up” this prospect can be counterproductive. Rejection can mean that the prospect is not ready to do business at the moment. Try to find out why your proposal was rejected. Also, keep in touch and keep them updated on your content. An initial “no” can later become a “yes”.

    Step 10: Completing the B2B Sale

    Getting a “yes” is excellent. Closing the deal is even bigger. This final process outlines what you should do to ensure the success of the sales pipeline. For some B2B sellers, this stage is seen as the most difficult funnel process. Your prospects already tend to buy.

    It's not uncommon for some prospects to get cold feet and be reluctant to close the deal. Well, it happens to all consumers. This is not the time to leave things to chance. It may be best to find out what caused the hesitation and then address their concerns. In some cases, the prospect may just need more time. Here it is wise not to appear like you are rushing things. Until an actual sale takes place, an interested party can exit at any time.

    Documenting an agreement after agreeing to the sale is also critical to the process. Of course, a contract (or invoice) has to be drawn up between the two companies. Payment terms are some of the details that need to be documented in the sales contract.

    Completing a sale does not mean that the B2B sales process is complete. Post-sale ethics require you to be more committed to customer loyalty. It is advisable to further strengthen the business relationship between the two companies. In addition to increasing customer retention rates, post-sale B2B tactics will also increase customer satisfaction and encourage referrals.


    5 tips for successful B2B sales

    Building a business takes time. Overnight success is an unrealistic dream. Even if the sales funnel or process has identified critical paths and how you can give your business an edge, here are five (5) tips for making B2B sales successful.

    1.Use all channels to derive leads
    Using every available opportunity to derive sales is a positive business strategy. In B2B, the derivation of leads is essential. There are several ways to achieve this. It is wise to explore all the options or channels available. Content marketing through websites, blog posts, social media marketing, email targeting, and even cold calling are some identifiable ways to find leads.

     

    2.Focus more on building trust, not selling
    No doubt you are in the business to make sales. But selling is not that easy. The trick to increasing your success rate is to put more effort into building trust. In B2C sales, buyers tend to make hasty decisions or make quick purchases based on emotions. This is very different from B2B sales. In B2B transactions, decision-makers typically take the time to find a trustworthy company to work with. 
    Meeting a potential customer and showing them your products right away can be ill-advised. Building a business relationship with prospects takes time. Getting to know the specific solution your company can offer is an ideal way to get started. Additionally, success stories, testimonials, and the value they offer will all help strengthen the relationship.
    3.Find out more about your industry
    Buyers have more access to information on the Internet; Therefore, interested parties are better educated today than they used to be. As a B2B company, you need to know your way around. The salesperson in business-to-consumer sales only has to convince people who often have only a limited or low expert opinion on a product.

    In B2B sales, your conversations will be with specific staff, business owners, or trade experts. It would be best if you are familiar with the information necessary to convince your prospects.

    4.B2B sales take more time and require patience
    B2B experts estimate that it can take weeks, months, sometimes even years before you can close a sale with a prospect. Of course, there are multiple prospects in the sales pipeline, so the timing of the sales cycle can vary. The prospect will be in no rush to make a business decision. Trying to speed up the process when you should be building trust and relationships with potential customers will most likely result in frustrations.

    5.Show that you can solve the prospect's business problem
    As good as your products may be, it is clear that potential customers are only interested in the solutions that your products can offer for their own business. Prospects need to be convinced that your offer is ideal for them. If you can demonstrate this to the decision-makers, you can prove your capabilities. Identifying previous successes with similar companies will go a long way in attracting prospects to your side.


    Sell on Alibaba.com

    Most of the stress and complex B2B sales process can be eliminated when selling your products on a global e-commerce marketplace like Alibaba.com. The companies are already available so you don't have to worry about finding prospects. Alibaba.com gives you the visibility you need for your business.

    Alibaba.com is an international platform that gives you access to millions of international buyers. The e-commerce platform offers you the largest B2B platform on which you can sell to millions of companies worldwide. Sell your products here today.