Although your business priorities fluctuate and change, one thing remains constant- the need to grow your client base through an effective B2B sales strategy. But continually producing the results your business needs to grow is not easy; if anything, it’s becoming steadily more difficult as the world of B2B sales evolves. With new digital capabilities changing the way we communicate and conduct business processes; your team need to move with the times. Discover these 5 sales techniques, working their way up through the ranks to bring you sales success.
1) Social selling
A key reason the world of B2B sales is shifting comes from the rise of millennials in decision making positions. This change of generational control has brought about a shift in the buyer process– how prospects discover products and communicate with businesses has moved into the realm of social media.
57% of B2B buyers now use social media to research vendors; it seems incorporating social media into your B2B sales strategy is a must. Social selling does just this, using social media platforms (specifically LinkedIn) to identify new prospects and nurture them through the buyer journey without relying so heavily on emails and calls. This offers a more convenient point of contact for the decision maker and allows your sales team to come across far more human and helpful.
The benefits of a social media strategy are many in sales, but you need to ensure you’re doing it for the right reasons. This isn’t social media marketing, where you aim to capture the interests of a wider audience. Social selling is about creating a personal, one-to-one connection with your prospect, so they can see you as the resident expert. Share relevant content with them, introduce them to your network and engage with their activity.
This may seem time consuming, but it’s no more so than sending an email or continuously searching for data, and your perseverance will pay off over time- those using social selling as part of their strategy have a sales pipeline 18% bigger, moving 28% faster than those who don’t.
2) Referral networking
The world of referrals is a B2B sales team’s secret weapon which so few maximize on, it’s a truly untapped resource. Gaining new business opportunities that are high-quality, and likely to sell is no easy feat, and as 9 out of 10 purchasing decisions are based on peer recommendations, referrals are like gold dust! The problem is, many of us are too scared to ask for them, worried we’ll place our newly found clients in an awkward position, or put them off our brand and damage retention.
However, this is not the case! A whopping 91% of B2B buyers said they would be happy to provide referrals for a product they think is good and have gained ROI from. This is a great sign, yet only 11% of salespeople actively ask for referrals, proving just how untapped this resource is.
With so few people asking for referrals, you’d be mad not to get there first, so pluck up the courage and ask! We don’t just mean pop a P.S. on the end of a catch-up email, we mean give them a call, talk about how they’re enjoying their new solution and ask outright about whether they would refer anyone. The worst they can do is say no, and if you’ve been a great salesperson throughout the process, they won’t think you any worse for it.
Why not tap into your customer base and discover who has left you 5-star reviews, or who has previously sent communications of praise and thanks? They obviously believe in your product and have no reasons not to share it with others (especially if you offer them an exciting incentive to do so).
3) The “Challenger” sale
This is a very new sales technique, based on the recent bestselling book from Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. They put forward the idea that in B2B sales, there are 6 different types of distinctive personalities, all approaching sales in a different way. These ranged from the well-known Relationship builder to the lesser known Lone-wolf and the Challenger. Their study showed over 50% of the highest performing salespeople over 90 organizations were Challengers– so what do they do that works so well?
Challengers are naturals at debating, often leaving conversational boundaries behind and taking a more controversial, but optimistic approach. In sales, they put work into gaining advanced knowledge about their prospect and use this insight to challenge their leads on current processes. The aim isn’t to sell prospects an addition to their current process, the aim is to encourage the prospect to change their process around your product.
It’s an inventive and totally new outlook to many common B2B sales approaches; the name “Challenger” alone describes how the salesperson remains in control, constantly challenging the prospect’s current situation. This technique is still fresh to our sales world, and whilst it may not work for some, others have seen incredible success when adopting this as part of a wider strategy. The key problem lies in its adoption among sales teams; it takes a certain sort of person to master this selling technique and whilst some can learn it, others simply can’t. Before embarking on a Challenger sales strategy, take time to look at your team and your target audience to know whether this is the right move.
4) SPIN selling
OK, SPIN selling isn’t precisely “up and coming”- it’s been around a good few years now. But it is imperative to sales success, and we can’t talk about the best sales techniques without mentioning Rackham’s sales breakthrough.
SPIN selling focuses on the questions you use to qualify your new sales leads. These questions are vital; they help tailor your approach to best suit your prospect whilst offering a springboard to create a memorable and impactful relationship. SPIN works as follows:
S- Situation questions: These questions ask about the prospect’s current situation, helping your team better understand their motives. This allows your team to tailor their offering to meet the prospect’s current business needs. E.g. “How do your currently obtain and manage your sales leads?”
P- Problem questions: These questions aim to highlight the prospect’s problems, helping them identify their business weaknesses and hindrances. This helps your team drive the sale forward, as you have a solution to resolving these problems. E.g. “Does your team have a shortage of high-quality leads?”
I- Implication questions: These questions prove the possible impact these problems could have on the prospect’s business if unresolved. This helps your team establish a sense of urgency, as the prospect sees the importance of taking action. E.g. “If your team continues to gain low-quality leads, will it stifle your business growth?”
N- Need/payoff questions: These questions help the prospect understand how valuable a solution to their problem could be for their business. This is where your team maximize on those client success stories and key benefits. E.g. “Why is gaining plenty of high-quality sales leads important to your future?”
Using SPIN as the back-bone of your sales qualifying approach gives your team the best chance of success. Ensure everyone on your team understands SPIN selling, and how to compose questions matching these 4 valuable criteria.
5) Warm calling
We’re all familiar with cold-calling; the technique has proven some success for many years, but questions continually arise surrounding the process’ attraction to a modern-day audience. Do people like receiving unplanned calls about your product? Whilst the telephone remains the most effective tool in the eyes of B2B salespeople, the best way to make impactful contact your buyers respond to isn’t to call them when they’re cold. Instead, you need to call them when they’re warm; calling new prospects in response to interest shown is an incredible way to generate new sales leads and keep your product front-of-mind.
What better way to conduct a warm calling strategy than by contacting the businesses visiting your website? They already have an interest in your product and are clearly in the market for a solution like yours. For an exceptional warm calling approach, you need Lead Forensics; our groundbreaking software identifies the businesses visiting your website in real time, providing contact details for key decision makers and a breakdown of the time spent on your site.
This fuels your team with all the information they need to make instant, direct contact with new business leads, tailoring the call to reflect the pages they viewed on your website. This warm calling approach has seen outbound sales call success increase from 2%-40%. Discover the power of Lead Forensics- book your free demo today!
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