As we discussed in our previous blog, Is Your B2B Sales Strategy Effective For Modern Buyers?— modern consumers have everything they need to make decisions. If B2B organizations want to grow, they will need to accommodate the considerable authority buyers now have and create a prospects-centric B2B sales framework.
Consumers and decision-makers don’t want to be bothered with “standardized” pitches or advertisements. They want tailored experiences that offer value to their specific needs. If they’re not getting what they want—they can easily find another business that will delight them and serve their needs.
In this blog, we’re going to cover some of the most important tips and steps you need to consider to transform your B2B sales strategy and gain a competitive advantage.
Let’s start with the most important…
Define and Target Your Ideal Buyer’s With Personas
A vital characteristic of the B2B sales process is the number of stakeholders involved in a deal. Often, purchase decisions will impact multiple teams—requiring buy-in from several individuals.
The very fact that there are more stakeholders increases the complexity and length of the B2B sales cycle.
An effective B2B sales framework accounts for and accommodates each integral stakeholder—clearly communicating value at each stage of the buyer’s journey and addressing their needs.
Buyer personas are generalized and fictional representations—or characters—that represent your ideal customers and stakeholders. An appropriately detailed buyer persona accounts for the needs, goals, and behaviors that drive decision-makers.
Buyer personas are potent tools that enable your organization to develop value statements and collateral that address individual stakeholder’s needs, concerns, and objections—proactively. They also equip your sales team with the insights to easily identify if the person they are interfacing with is a key decision-maker, influencer, or champion and if their energy is better spent elsewhere.
Don’t underestimate the value of identifying a good lead or being able to anticipate needs. When sales members master this skill, they can shorten sales cycles and focus on better fit opportunities.
Define Your Ideal B2B Buyer’s Journey
The next step is mapping your idealized buyer’s journey.
To properly motivate a prospect to make a purchase—you’ll want an in-depth understanding of their needs, objectives, and behaviors as they progress through each stage of their buying experience. You’ll also want to align your own messaging and the value of your solution to the buyer’s understanding of their challenge.
Not sure what a buyer’s journey is or how to map it? Check out our blog: What Is A Buyer’s Journey?
Be careful that your sales team doesn’t get ahead of themselves with prospects. Just because you find a prospect or have a lead that came in through your lead generation website—doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be ready to make a purchase.
By detailing your ideal buyer journey and how prospect’s needs change at each stage—your sales team can quickly identify where their opportunities are and which deals need more nurturing. Additionally, your sales will be able to craft more convincing and value-rich engagements and leverage content to nurture prospects.
With your personas AND ideal buyer’s journey mapped—you can begin to develop a prospect-centric sales process that speaks to modern buyers.
Align Your Sales Efforts to a Methodology
At SequoiaCX, we’re big fans of the inbound sales method. It’s an approach we leverage to manage our content development and client engagement—and it’s a framework we recommend for turning prospects into long-term relationships. Remember, modern buyers are tired of generalized sales pitches and advertisements. They want help, and they want human-to-human engagement.
The inbound sales method helps further refine your B2B sales framework and align with modern buyers by classifying sales effort into four (4) stages:
This framework helps position your sales team as advisors and educators that influence buying decisions by sharing insights and providing value. Focusing on helping—rather than selling—sales teams become a value add to prospects rather than someone to be avoided or engaged with caution.
There are many buyer-centric sales methodologies out there, and your sales team will have to adopt several to close a variety of deals and prospects. Picking the primary method (or two) helps shape your sales process and defines sales’ role in your buyer’s journey.
Map Your Sales Process & Deal Stages
Regardless of how you map your internal sales practices—the key takeaway is—it’s incumbent on salespeople to personalize the sales experience and identify precisely where prospects are in the buying journey.
A great sales process is a framework that provides flexibility and empowers team members to build rapport, address stakeholder needs, and showcase expertise. A flexible prospect-centric framework increases the likelihood that prospects will continue to engage with sales representatives—which of course, increases the possibility of a sale.
Ensure your sales process has clearly defined deal stages that make it possible to map progress and create effective strategies. But don’t overly focus on every step and action that could take place. This creates a rigid sales process that is mentally pleasing to sales leadership but irrelevant to prospects and their actual needs.
Map your current sales activity capturing every step a salesperson needs to accomplish to complete a deal. Then map the corresponding buyer response. Once you have this, consolidate this activity into a couple of milestones or deal stages. Stages should be easily definable, factual, begin with a seller action, and end with a buyer result.
Remember To Advise & Educate Rather Than Sell
More sales are possible when you stop focusing on the transaction.
Gone are the days of reaching out to prospects and blindly pitching. Sure cold calls still work—but just like blind email campaigns—the conversion rates are plummeting.
Remember, prospects can find the information they need online and are no longer reliant on salespeople. By focusing on adding value and being a knowledgeable resource for prospects—sales members become a welcome addition to the buying process.
To achieve a connection and influence in the sales process, sales team members need to listen to prospects more. Only once a prospect feels someone understands their problem will they trust that person enough to accept their industry experience or advice.
When managing your outreach—research your prospects, have a reason to reach out, and offer insights and help. Get your prospects to talk with you and put down the pitch and listen. Engage prospects earnestly and seek to help.
This is only possible in a sales framework and culture that rewards quality over quantity. Focus less on the number of calls made and more on the substance of the conversations.
If you’re not helping, prospects will find someone who will—particularly in complex B2B sales.
Adopt Tools For Personalization & Engagement
A modern sales framework and strategy seeks to engage prospects on their terms and their chosen channels or devices. Now, you’ll have to determine which tools will help you most effectively sell—and adopt them.
If your sales team only has email and phone calls to interface with prospects—they’ll be missing out on tremendous opportunities. Today’s buyers are sophisticated and all over social media, are comfortable engaging with chat tools, and enjoy learning from articles and videos rather than sales pitches and brochures.
Give prospects what they want and make the sales process easy for them. Make it feel like it’s not a sales process. Leverage digital tools to connect when there’s an opportunity, provide resources and value, and then guide them towards making a purchase decision with you.
Even something as simple as integrating short, personalized video messages in your email outreach can increase open rates by up to 8x.
The key to success will be finding ways to stand out and build rapport with clients without taking up lots of their time or needing face-to-face interactions.
Track The Process WIth A Robust CRM
B2B sales cycles take time and often require dozens of touchpoints spread across multiple stakeholders. Managing these interactions and determining steps forward is a complicated process, particularly when working on numerous deals.
The cornerstone of great customer and sales operations is your CRM. It’s more than just the database—it’s all of the tactics and strategies around managing your customer operations and interactions.
Keeping an accurate record of customer interactions and the resources and tactics used is critical for success.
If your CRM doesn’t enable your team to easily organize numerous touchpoints over multiple channels, provide access to trackable resources, and automate data capture and reporting—then you’re leaving your growth to chance.
The truth is—you cannot manage complex sales processes with spreadsheets and sticky notes. Those tools will not scale. They are inconsistent, require too much work for the value provided, and result in customers falling through the cracks.
Give your sales and leadership teams the tools and insights they need to meet modern prospects’ demands. Empower your sales with a CRM that supports them rather than slows them down.
Your prospects don’t want pitches and generic interactions. They are already overwhelmed with offers and advertisements and have little time for engagements that offer no value.
You must tailor experiences that will delight and engage with prospects on their terms. If you want them to participate and see your offering’s value, you must respect their buying power and valuable time.
Well, those are the most important considerations we’d recommend for you. The next step is to begin mapping your idealized buyer’s journey, personas, and sales process.
We know how crucial generating attention and making sales is for organizations—and just how many organizations are still clinging to some of their “legacy sales practices.” That’s why we’ve gone ahead and prepared a resource to help walk you through the early steps of adopting a modern buyer’s journey.
When you’re ready for the next step, you may find these blogs helpful:
Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey
We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!