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B2B sales – are your sales reps getting it right?

January 16, 2018 By Stacey Woods

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B2B Sales best practices

If a wholesaler wants a retailer to line the shelves with their products, they need to have the right sales approach; starting with your sales rep. Unfortunately, many B2B sales reps still sell the old-fashioned way and end up making mistakes. Below are our best practices for the current B2B sales climate.

Avoid traditional B2B sales pitching

The old-fashioned way of sales pitching is focused on the company, rather than on the customers. It involves sales reps talking at customers, rather than with them, to close quick deals. But here’s a little secret: this way of making B2B sales is no longer as effective as it once was.

B2B customers are increasingly disillusioned with sales reps who call them with long monologues and who seem primarily motivated by self-interest rather than genuine concern. A big reason for this shift in perspective is that B2B buyers can easily access product information and reviews while browsing online. This means that the seller no longer has the upper hand when it comes to promoting their product’s features. In fact, most B2B customers are already most of the way through their purchase before they first contact the seller.

As a result, the most effective B2B sales method is shifting from one that is less product-focused and more customer-focused. A good wholesale sales rep needs to position themselves as a trusted advisor, rather than as a blatant promoter if they want to close sales.

Build lasting relationships with your customers

A sales team might have a bunch of qualified leads and be eager to jump in. After all, it’s easy to assume that the faster they start making calls, the quicker they’ll close sales. This assumption, however, is wrong, and it can often result in losing leads rather than closing deals.

Once a sales team has their leads, the best first step isn’t to contact them; it’s to wait and research. Sales and marketing teams should get to know their leads by perusing their websites and keeping up with their social media activity on LinkedIn, Facebook, and others. Not only will this help a company know which leads are truly qualified, but it will also help them learn important information about their leads critical to closing sales.

Thorough research might give sales and marketing teams an idea of what a lead’s budget is, which in turn helps them pitch the right product in the right way and anticipate potential objections. It will also help teams learn about what kinds of solutions qualified leads are looking for, and specifically how their company’s product can help those leads in achieving their goals. This, in turn, can help companies build strong relationships with their leads from the very beginning.

Adopt a consultative approach to selling

As mentioned above, the best kind of selling doesn’t involve traditional pitching. Instead, selling should be consultative.

So how can sales reps adopt a consultative approach to selling? Once they thoroughly research their lead and determine it’s time to call them, they should begin their discussion by asking their lead questions. Asking questions, rather than pitching their product from the get-go, is a great way for sales reps to demonstrate their empathy with B2B customers while learning about their pain points and goals.

In addition to asking, B2B sales reps should also prioritize listening over speaking. In fact, sales reps should only be speaking about 30% of the time during their sales pitch and let their potential customer speak the other 70% of the time. While this might seem counterintuitive, it’s more effective than too much talking, since it shows leads that the sales reps empathize with their problems and genuinely want to help them with a solution.

The consultative approach to selling also involves teaching. If B2B sales reps want customers to buy their product, they should offer those customers something in return. Not only should they present their company’s product as the solution those B2B buyers are looking for, but they should also give them free tidbits to show them they truly care about helping them out. Offering helpful resources, like an informative book, a useful website, or a free online webinar boosts a company’s credibility and helps B2B customers place their trust in both the sales rep and your business.

Understand your customers’ needs

Rather than prioritizing closing the sale, sales reps should prioritize finishing the call with a good understanding of customer pain points, challenges, timing, and goals. No one likes the feeling of being pressured, so it’s good to give B2B customers time to think about your discussion rather than aggressively trying to convince those who are on the fence.

It’s important to note that, in a consultative sales approach, it’s critical that sales reps have a thorough knowledge of the product and the industry. Knowing the ins and outs of their industry and product will help them best adapt their sales efforts to the specific concerns, objections, and goals of each company.

How can mobile sales software prevent your sales reps from making mistakes?