B2B sales cycles follow fairly standard practices. But those companies that look outside of the box and are always striving to improve their sales cycle usually end up increasing overall revenues. In this article, we’ll look at a few B2B best practices that can increase your sales.
Where B2B Falls Short but You Can Improve
There are some areas of the B2B purchase cycle that companies take for granted. Rather than assuming– this is just the way it is – consider how you can remove any friction that is keeping the client from going forward with the purchase.
A large number of stakeholders - From decision makers to influencers, there are usually a large number of people involved with major purchase decisions within a business. Everyone wants to know if the purchase will be a good ROI and if is there a better alternative.
Provide the client with graphical, quick-read documentation showing that its purchase of your product or service will provide it with the best value. Here are a few things you can spell out for the client:
- How you stack against competitors?
- What does post-sales support look like?
- Length of time you’ve been in business.
- Show historical and projected company growth.
- What are existing clients saying about the product?
Once you begin thinking about it, there should be many positives to say about your company and the product. You want the client to have 100% confidence in both.
Longer buying cycles - We always hear about how B2B sales cycles are long. But do they have to be? You may not have much control over the client’s process, but yours shouldn’t be the reason sales cycles take a long time to complete. Think of helping the client with its cycle as well. What ways have you helped existing clients reduce their sales cycles? If you haven’t, what can you suggest to remove common bottlenecks?
Provide Additional Value to Customers for Free
Easily accessible content about your product and company can help instill confidence with prospective customers. Some companies assume that customers are reading their blog or product web pages in depth.
Rather than assuming customers are finding every relevant piece of content, have your sales team periodically trickle content to the client. Not only does this provide additional value at no cost to the client, but it can also help keep the conversation going.
Besides text content, maximize video content as well. Here are a couple of staggering statistics about video content from Wordstream:
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
- 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
Video has the potential to be one of, if not the most, powerful marketing tools in your marketing arsenal. Also, don’t go cheap with video. Focus on high-quality production and seek outside help if you don’t yet have the internal resources to produce great-looking video.
Be the Easiest Person to Contact
When a customer is ready to buy and wants to speak with someone on the phone, which many B2B customers do, right then and there, don’t throw up roadblocks by making it difficult to contact you. If a customer has the hot hand and calls you only to go into a queue, you’ve likely lost the sale.
Inside Sales found that the best time to respond to a customer is within the first five minutes. This drops by 10X after the first five minutes.
To avoid having potential customers go into a sales queue, don’t use shared phone lines. If customer service and sales are sharing the same line, potential customers will likely find themselves on hold. Instead, display the sales number prominently and have dedicated sales people ready-to-go when a call comes in.
Do What Others Aren’t to Close the Deal
Most B2B companies have their sales process well-defined. While certainly a necessary component of any sales cycle, it can also zap some of the creativity for those who have been following it for a while.
For example, if a customer is running into resistance on its end, the salesperson might figure there is nothing he/she can do since the salesperson can’t control the customer’s process. While this might be true, you never know until you try.
Rather than assuming there isn’t much you can do, start off by providing a few suggestions through customer stories. That is, share what worked for other customers in the same scenario that might work for this customer. If that fails, ask if you can speak to the person who is being resistant. Sure – this might be a long shot, but, again, you never know until you try.
Before putting too much effort into battling resistance, make sure you fully understand why the company is being resistant. The sticking point may well be within your control. Maybe it’s price or the customer service contract. Try to get buy off from your manager to move the needle on these points. It might be just enough that the customer is satisfied and you’re able to close the deal.