The B2B sales cycle is often longer and more complex than B2C cycles. It requires more interactions with multiple stakeholders at the prospect company. Closing deals that have taken up to 12 months to negotiate can be hugely rewarding, especially if it is a large contract that could secure the future of your business. So what are some of the things you should know about closing a sale?
1. Research your prospect:
Before reaching out to a potential client, research the company. Know the challenges and potential pain points that the prospect may have so that you can position your product or service as a solution to those challenges.
2. Subscribe to your prospects’ newsletters or marketing campaigns:
Understanding how your prospects operate and sell their own product or service will help you to tailor your conversation to their needs.
3. Read your prospects’ blogs:
Begin to understand the prospect company’s values, operations and direction by following their content marketing. Read any reports or case studies they publish and be sure to subscribe to their social media accounts so that you can follow their progress and anticipate their needs.
4. Make smart cold calls:
Cold calling a company you have done extensive research on means that you will know who to talk to, what possible solutions you can provide and which providers they are already using. If you make a cold call and have a fund of company-specific information to draw on you will be taken more seriously.
5. Collaborate with your prospects:
The flow of information should be two-way. Listen to what your prospects have to say so that you can work together to find solutions. You’ll also gain valuable anecdotal insights and develop working relationships with decision-makers.
6. Don’t send generic email blasts:
Make your emails personal. If you don’t know who to address your email to find out. Your emails should discuss specific solutions and consider the needs of your prospect.
7. Be diplomatic:
Having constructive conversations with your prospective clients will be more likely to yield a long-term contract. While you might know your solution, don’t assume to know your clients every need. Let them be the person in control, the person who knows their business better than you. Let them discover how much they need your solution and how you are more likely to establish a lasting relationship.
8. Address difficult questions upfront:
If there are sensitive issues that could potentially derail a sale, discuss them upfront. Having difficult conversations early in the sales process means that you are not wasting time trying to close a deal that is destined to fail.
9. Share your success stories:
If you have satisfied customers who are willing to refer you to other potential customers, use them. Kudos from other customers sounds better than tooting your own horn and is more likely to attract attention.
10. Share case studies:
Case studies allow people to see your products working in the real world. Publishing case studies on your website show prospective clients real-world examples of how your product has helped others, which helps with their research and influences their decision making.
11. Don’t rush clients:
Take time with your B2B sales pitch. Do not rush to close a long-term contract. Your goal is to ensure that your solution is the right fit for your client. It costs considerable money to offer solutions and if you rush to close, offering sub-par contracts or solutions, your reputation will precede you and your B2B will perish.
12. Become an expert:
You should know everything about your product, everything about your competitors’ products and why your solution is the best fit for your client. You should be able to give the correct answers on your feet and stay ahead of the market. This is one of the best ways to gain the trust of your clients’ long term.
13. Focus on ROI:
Your solution is important because it answers questions. Businesses who are worth your time are focused on your solution and their return on investment, not the cost. Your solution is going to change their business, and they want to know how and why, not how much.
14. Create ideal customer profiles (ICPs):
Define your ideal (hypothetical) customer. Know their demographics, personality types and languages. Know their availability, needs and pressures. This is how you ensure that you are chasing the right leads, meeting them on their level and communicating effectively.
15. Sell solutions:
When you can make it clear to your client that you have a solution, not a product, you will secure the sale. Businesses are not searching for more, they are searching for specific answers, and as a provider, you are in a position to offer those answers.
16. Publish content on social media:
Make sure you have a social media presence so that people can find you, and when they do, they can learn about your business. Your social media needs to be controlled by marketing so that it reflects your brand, values and achievements. Your clients will research you, so you should control the information that is published about your business.
17. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and actively participate:
Pitch to the right people, provide helpful and relevant insights and be an active member of the social media community. It will help you to establish credibility and help you build trust among prospects.
18. Monitor your prospects on social media:
This way you can see what they are talking about and better understand their needs. You can also get involved in conversations and connect with your prospective clients on a regular basis.
19. Reply to prospects’ comments, answer questions, and like their social media posts:
Participating in a discourse on social media shows that you are engaged and knowledgeable. It also helps you establish your presence in the community.
20. Be timely in your responses to customers:
Respond and engage, even if there is an issue. This way you are seen as proactive and attentive, which can help you to overcome adversity if there are problems.
21. Follow your competitors on social media:
It is advantageous to understand the issues that your competitors’ customers are facing and to see how they are being handled. This will provide actionable insight that will help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
22. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool:
A CRM tool is the most effective way for your sales team to ensure that they follow up every lead, take care of the clients they have and manage contracts. Clear and precise information that is tracked and managed is the best way for your sales team to be successful.
23. Leverage marketing automation:
Exceptional marketing automation solutions provide you with quick insights into every interaction your prospects have had with your marketing efforts, such as emails opened, emails clicked, websites visited, content consumed, and more.
24. Sit down with marketing:
You should meet with your marketing team at least once a week to ensure that your brand, focus and language is sending a coherent message. You should be aware of any promotions or upcoming events so that your sales and marketing teams can operate in their roles and support each other.
25. Talk to everyone, not just the decision-makers:
To speak with the decision-maker, you need to have the attention and respect of those beneath the decision-maker. The secretary or PA who answers the phone is just as essential to securing the sale as the decision-maker. Those who are entry-level in an organisation are often the answer to establishing a trusting and lasting partnership, as they are often the people using your solution and discussing their needs with decision-makers.
26. Host important meetings in person:
Face-to-face meetings are a great way to break the ice and better understand your client. Nuances of body language can be better perceived when speaking directly with a client, allowing you to establish a report.
27. Use confident body language:
When you arrive at an onsite meeting, shake hands, or bow, or use the culturally appropriate greeting of the region and people you are meeting. If you show that you understand how to use culturally appropriate body language, you show that you are committed to researching and understanding not only those you are working with, but your own solution too.
28. Use live chat software to communicate:
If people are able to communicate with you easily, they are more likely to engage. Your website should be interactive, engaging and responsive.
29. Put a calendar link in your email signature:
Inserting an appointment scheduling option gives prospects the chance to schedule meetings with you at their convenience. This gives prospects control over the sales process and reinforces the idea that your business provides solutions, not obstacles.
30. Follow up with old leads:
You need to follow up. One of the weakest parts of any sales funnel is the neck, when leads are squeezed through and some prospects find that their requests are left unanswered. Follow up calls, meetings or emails are vital to the success of your sales.