Written by: Nayeli Vivas
B2B sales is hard, that’s the truth. You have to show enthusiasm, resilience and self-confidence to say the least, in order to be successful in sales. Still, it is not an impossible thing to do. Nowadays, companies count on many tools that make their sales operations more efficient, but it doesn’t replace the human factor that’s key throughout the process.
As a sales manager, director or CEO of a B2B Tech company, it’s pretty disappointing to lose a thousand dollar or a million dollar sales deal due to a very simple mistake that could have been easily avoided. It is true that mistakes can happen anytime under any circumstances, but some of them can be almost fully eradicated from your sales process if you are able to identify them in the first place. Let’s get you started by identifying some of the most common mistakes you and your sales team should start avoiding.
Mistake 1: You are not targeting the right people.
Identifying the right audience is key to any sales strategy and can make the difference between a failing and succeeding B2B company in the long run. Just to refresh your memory, the target audience is composed of a specific group or groups of people that have one thing in common: they will best benefit from the product(s) or service(s) that you have to offer, which makes them most likely to become your clients. Understanding this concept is essential so you can come up with a plan or strategy on how to find your target audience.
What happens when you haven’t identified your target? You start losing precious time, money and other valuable resources invested in reaching out to those people who really have little to no interest in your products or services. And even more, it will be a hassle trying to figure out who your right target is without any guidance or help. Our blog titled “How to Create a Buyer Persona” provides you with helpful tips on identifying who your ideal buyer is and increase your likelihood of closing more deals.
When it comes to successful B2B sales stories, I usually think of DocuSign. The company offers an e-signature platform for its customers to sign, send and manage digital documents, providing them trust and convenience. Over 250,000 companies around the world use this software, which indicates its level of success. One of the main key points to DocuSign’s success relies on their ability to identify their target audience, which mainly consists of the HR, Legal and Finance departments within companies of all sizes in the legal, accounting and real estate industries, in particular.
Mistake 2: Focusing too much on the product and not on its benefits.
First of all, let’s define the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature refers to the aspects of a product, whether these aspects are technical or descriptive. On the other hand, a benefit refers to the relevance of the feature, which in other words, is the positive impact the product will have for the customer.
It’s important to let your prospects know the characteristics and features of your product because they highlight your product’s value, but it is even more important to let them know how your product will help them solve their problems and make their lives easier.
From a prospect’s perspective, it is much less disturbing to receive a message from a sales rep about how their product will help them solve their problems rather than a message saying how their product is so cool, extraordinary and contains so many interesting functions.
I can’t think of any other better example of a B2B company for this matter than Slack, one of the most popular communication platforms in the world. The company’s growing revenue and reputation has skyrocketed in only a few years because even though their software has so many incredible features, their sales teams tend to focus more on making their prospects understand how their work in general will be handled more efficiently with simplicity, getting things done more quickly and making work itself more fun.
Mistake 3: Not following up on your prospects.
Let’s be honest, people don’t like doing follow-ups. Why are so many people so resistant to follow-ups? Some salespeople avoid it because they don’t want to be perceived as too intrusive or pushy towards their prospects. Others completely avoid it because they believe it is not worthy of their time and attention, while there are others who don’t follow-up simply because they are not organized.
According to Invesp, an American consulting company specializing in conversion rate optimization, “60% of customers say no four times before saying yes whereas 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow up attempt”. The company also states that 5 follow-up calls are necessary to close 80% of sales. When it comes to B2B sales, companies need to be proactive at all times and take action quickly before their competitors try to steal their potential clients.
Follow-ups matter in B2B sales because they keep your prospects engaged and interested in what you have to offer. This makes them less likely to turn around and look to solve their problems by working with your competitors. In summary, follow-ups help you with the following:
- To stay top of mind for your customers
- To show your customers that you take your job, their business and their needs seriously
- To show that you are a professional
With this in mind, you should check out this article which will help you choose the best B2B sales strategy for your business.
Mistake 4: Lacking information about your prospects and not doing proper research.
Without doing any research, your chances of closing a sales deal are close to none. According to The Brevet Group, an American sales effectiveness and consulting firm, “only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs.” This percentage hits hard, but the numbers speak for themselves. If you are unable to understand your prospects’ real needs and wants, you have no chance in selling them your product/service. Even if your prospects feel like you are not understanding their needs, they won’t buy. It won’t matter the effort you put into your sales outreach campaigns if you haven’t properly researched your prospects.
You and your sales team should research the necessary background information on your prospects, which mainly includes the company’s information, any appearances on the news, and the prospect’s role when it comes to decision making. All of this highlights the importance of data in B2B sales, because the more a sales team knows about its prospects, the better their performance will be. In other words, the more agile and skilled they will be in offering the product or service. A deeper understanding of your prospects can lead to meaningful interactions that could potentially turn into clients.
Mistake 5: Only using one channel to communicate with your prospects.
It’s 2022, which means there are plenty of ways for you to reach out to your target audience on multiple channels and platforms. Now is the time to take advantage of the technological innovations that are allowing you to stay connected with your B2B prospects, anytime, anywhere. The pandemic has changed the dynamics of sales for businesses across many industries. A research conducted by McKinsey & Company on B2B decision makers shows that “83 percent of B2B leaders believe that omnichannel selling is a more successful way to prospect and secure new business than traditional, face-to-face only sales approaches”. Don’t limit yourself to only one channel, instead, try to synchronize your messaging across several platforms and devices to obtain the best possible results.
There are 3 main channels you can use to communicate with your prospects:
- LinkedIn: This is the number one sales channel and social media platform for professionals, as it is responsible for about 80% of all B2B leads coming from social media, according to Second Eclipse. LinkedIn has a variety of tools that can help you stay connected with your prospects in very simple and effective ways. For instance, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has an advanced search feature that allows you to find the right prospects for your business. You can also integrate the platform with your CRM and obtain quality lead recommendations.
- Cold Calling: Although many people may think otherwise, cold calling is still a very effective way to get in touch with your prospects. The RAIN Group, a top sales training and consulting company, states that “69% of buyers have accepted phone calls from new providers in the last 12 months”. Since more than two-thirds of buyers accept calls, this means cold calling is still an essential part of the sales process. Even more, The RAIN Group also states that C-level executives and VP buyers prefer to be contacted by phone (57%) than directors (51%) and managers (47%). If it’s done right, cold calling can be totally worth it as part of your sales strategy.
- Email: Tons of emails get ignored everyday, mostly because they contain irrelevant information to the person receiving them. Yet, emails are highly functional for sales prospecting when done right . The Center for Sales Strategy shows that “email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences” and “86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes”. Emails are great because prospects feel no pressure to answer your emails right away and they represent a low cost for your business.
Go ahead and read this blog from inSided to learn more about how to improve your B2B customer communication.
It can be very easy to find yourself stuck in a sales cycle that might not be giving you the best results. As stated before, B2B sales can be very complex, especially when you don’t know who your target audience is and don’t know how to sell your product/service properly. If you find yourself or your sales team having a very difficult time reaching your monthly or quarterly targets, you can book a call with us. Our talented team will be more than happy to work with you and help you close more deals for your business.