Sales are at the core of every business. And behind every sale is a customer…or so, it used to be. An increasing number of businesses are starting to approach businesses and corporate clients as their new target audience, changing the definition of a “customer” in sales.
B2B is the name given to business that is conducted between two companies, as opposed to business conducted between a business and a customer (B2C). B2B transactions are often conducted on a much larger scale than B2C; the process is much bigger and more expensive, but B2B sales often turn over a much greater profit, too. In 2015, the revenue of B2B e-commerce amounted to $5.7 trillion – and the industry is ever-expanding.
B2B vs. B2C
Targeting corporate clients potentially means bigger orders and bigger turnovers for a B2B business. But conducting B2B transactions is a different process to securing B2C sales; B2B sales are more complicated because corporate clients know the field; they have experience in sales themselves and are primed to spot the best deals and options available to them. Business buyers also have several decision-makers involved in every purchase, making the audience of B2B sales a much more critical, informed prospect to win over.
New B2B businesses need to understand and acknowledge the difference between making B2B and B2C transactions so they can ensure their business grows and their sales increase.
Businesses looking to sell to corporate clients, therefore, need to implement a different sales strategy than that used in B2C sales. The four key steps to approaching a B2B client are:
1. Research prospects
Researching potential prospects is easier than ever. Information about businesses is readily available online and can reveal important information like the company size, the platforms they are active on and how to contact them, and whether the prospect has any previous engagement with the sellers’ website and/or any interest in the type of service/product they offer.
Research into prospects is so critical that plugins like Lusha are available to specifically help B2B businesses access prospect data, authenticate B2B contact information, and save contacts directly to the business’ CRM.
Conducting research and using plugins like Lusha ensures a B2B business can communicate directly with the decision-maker which saves time and hassle and can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.
2. Ask and listen
A key rule in B2B sales is to never make assumptions when reaching out to a B2B client. One of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is assuming they know their buyer’s needs better than they do, and this quickly leads to the abandonment of a sale.
When approaching a B2B prospect, the ratio of listening to talking should roughly be 80:20. Questions are perhaps the best sales tool a business can use; asking open-ended questions in early communication encourages a prospect to talk about their needs, struggles, and ambitions and provides important information that can be used to close the sale.
3. Apply GPCT methodology
The times of pitching to make a sale have passed. In B2B business, the focus is now on teaching.
Businesses use the GPCT methodology (asking a client about their Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timing) to identify a buyer’s situation and open up the opportunity to lend advice and teach them. Asking these qualifying questions builds up a rapport with the prospect and paths the way for the business to demonstrate how their product/service can fulfil the buyer’s goals or overcome their challenges.
4. Close the sale
If a business successfully implements the GPCT methodology, closing the sale should feel like the natural next step in the interaction with the client.
But initial communication with leads doesn’t always guarantee a sale and if a sale isn’t closed, then a business should instead agree a “next step” action with the client to continue their engagement. This could be in the form of a follow-up appointment, a consultation with the client’s additional decision-makers, or reverting back to the earlier steps of the B2B sales process.
How corporate sales help a B2B business grow
The B2B sales process is more complicated, but it has bigger pay-outs. Following a corporate-targeted sales strategy increases sales, boosts revenue, gains and retains customers, and generates profit for a B2B business to spend on marketing and business development.
65.2% of B2B clients said they found communication with the salesperson valuable – so it’s worth taking the time to communicate and personalise a sales approach to close a sale.
B2B is a growing industry; and one that has the potential to earn a business a much greater profit. But B2B is a very different sales process to B2C, and in order to see that increase in sales, a B2B business needs to tailor their sales strategy to suit corporate clientele.