Whenever you are selling products or services, there are some rules that are universal. For example, you will always want to get out more than what you put in, if not financially, then in terms of your market position. However, the nature of sales and marketing can change dramatically depending on the scenario.
Selling services to other businesses can be challenging, especially if you don’t have experience with it. While many of the same rules and theories will apply to sales in this domain, there is also a whole host of techniques and information unique to the B2B domain. Below are 6 tips that any B2B business can adopt and implement in order to improve their decision making and impress any prospective clients. If you prepare yourself properly and develop a coherent sales strategy, selling on a business to business basis should be just as easy as selling to regular customers. Read on as we delve deeper.
Table of Contents
Research Other Businesses Before You Reach Out
If there is a golden rule of B2B selling, then this is surely it. Before you can approach another business with a firm offer of what you can provide them with, you need to have a good understanding of exactly who they are, what they do, and how your services fit into things. You can never really know too much when you are approaching other businesses, so you should take every opportunity that comes your way to learn more about them and the people in charge.
Not only will this help you to refine and personalise your sales pitch so that it is as effective as possible, but it will also enable you to redirect your efforts if you discover that the business isn’t compatible with yours for some reason. As most B2B businesses grow, they will establish a department whose sole job is to gather useful intelligence about other businesses.
Build Your Website for Other Businesses
If your business caters exclusively to other businesses, then your website should reflect this. There’s no sense in building a website that is designed to appeal to as many people as possible, even though most of those people won’t be in a position to ever use your business. Instead, make all of the information that another business could possibly want to consider when deciding whether to use your services or not as clear and immediate as possible.
For an example of what this looks like in practice, check out the Business utility price comparison website Utility Bidder. First, note that they put their suppliers that they include in their comparisons front and centre on their website. If you scroll further down the page, you will see that they make it clear exactly what utilities they can help you compare prices for. There is also an FAQ at the bottom of the page that is focused on likely questions from other businesses.
Be Smarter with Your Cold Calling
Cold calling can seem like a very outdated and ineffectual way of doing things. However, cold calling is still a widely-used technique amongst both businesses and individual tradespeople. Cold calling can definitely produce worthwhile results, but it requires a lot more care than many people appreciate. If you want cold calling to work for you and not against you, then you need to do it intelligently.
This means that before you make the call, you should already have as much information as possible about the person you’re going to be calling. If the business that you’re calling isn’t expecting a call from you at all, it is imperative that you create a good impression from the get-go. Ideally, you should have a loose script to follow and should have already put some thought into exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it.
The more you understand about the target business on their struggles and their unique pressure points, the easier you will find it to convince them that they need your services. The quicker you can present them with potential solutions to their problems, the more eager they will be to secure your services.
Collaborate Whenever You Can
If at all possible, it is nearly always better to work with other businesses rather than against them. Even when it comes to your competitors, there may be circumstances where it makes more sense to work together for your mutual benefit. This is also true of the other businesses that will buy products or services from you; there are numerous things that you can do to make your services a more attractive prospect for them.
If other businesses see that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that you are providing them with the very best level of service that you are capable of, not only are they themselves more likely to use you, but they are also more likely to recommend you to other people. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and one that is often sorely underappreciated in today’s world.
Face Your Fears Head On
Few things in this world are perfect and it is likely that, no matter how good you are at what you do, there is room for improvement. Depending on the specific sector that you work in, there may be occasions where you are able to meet the needs of another business, but with some caveats. For example, perhaps you have all the infrastructure and equipment that you need to take on a project in place, but you haven’t taken on anything at the scale requested before.
The best thing that you can do to overcome these issues is to simply be upfront about them with the client. Showing the client that you are aware of potential problems also shows them that you intend on addressing them and also proves that you have done your homework with regards to a potential deal. What you definitely don’t want is for these issues to rear their heads later when you have already sunk time and money into the project.
Focus on ROI Over Price
Of course, when you are assessing the viability of a project, you have to fully cost it so you know exactly how much money you are going to be spending. The raw figure for the amount that you are expecting to spend will naturally tell you whether a project is financially viable or not. However, it is not a very useful metric to use in isolation. If you want a more detailed picture of a project’s viability, then the way to ascertain this is through the projected ROI rather than the projected price.
After all, spending more money isn’t much of a burden to your business if you are also going to receive a significantly larger return. The ROI should be a consideration for any business decision that you make. Whether you’re deciding how to proceed with a marketing campaign or how to approach a potential expansion into new territory, you want to know what kind of returns to expect before you commit.
Selling business to business requires a different approach from marketing directly to consumers. The same fundamental principles still apply, but other businesses don’t want to be treated like ordinary consumers. Generally, you have more flexibility with other businesses and greater latitude for tailoring your offerings to the client.
Above all, the key to B2B selling is to make it clear from the very beginning that yours is a business worth working with. If your brand exudes professionalism and has built a solid reputation amongst existing customers, you have plenty to work with already. Throw in a professional website and a targeted marketing campaign, and you can start reaching out to new corners of the market.