In early 2020, the norm for any respected B2B sales executive in the technology industry was to spend more than 80% of their time traveling and meeting with customers. Sales executives were constantly interacting with potential customers: setting up face-to-face meetings, taking them to sporting events, and talking to them at annual conferences.
With the arrival of the pandemic and the suspension of all travel, sales executives found that they had much more not only free time but tasks as well, as the quarterly norms for attracting leads remained the same. As a result, B2B sales executives turned to website builders to create new sources of lead generation. Today more than 70% of B2B executives prefer remote interaction and digital self-service. And it is unlikely to change in the near future.
What are the specifics of B2B sales?
The B2B sector is characterized by:
- Limited range of customers, as there are significantly fewer legal entities than retail customers.
- Prevalence of rational motives on the part of the buyer when choosing a product.
- Professional evaluation of the goods or services purchased (including through the involvement of consultants at the selection stage).
- Purchase of goods in large quantities.
- High cost of shopping.
- Demand fluidity and its dependence on the current economic situation in the country.
- Lack of demand elasticity.
Pay special attention to the following characteristic of the B2B segment:
- Transactions are in a direct sales format.
- There is no fixed price for the goods – the final figure is a result of negotiations and is determined individually for each client.
- Purchase decisions are often made by a team.
- Both sides of the transaction (supplier and buyer) are usually interested in a long mutually beneficial relationship.
Sales peculiarities in the B2B service market
Unlike the commodity market, the sphere of B2B services has its peculiarities connected with immateriality, high uncertainty in the sphere of services, and unstable demand. Effective promotion in this sphere can be achieved if the expected result is demonstrated. The main objectives of B2B service marketing are to:
- Offer the client a simple and understandable deal.
- Emphasize that his or her risks will be minimal.
- Offer to try part of the service for free.
- Demonstrate your readiness to correct your mistakes.
All of this will allow you to prioritize and develop a plan to promote your app development business in the field of B2B services.
Why traditional B2B sales techniques are no longer working in 2022?
In recent decades, managers have honed their skills in expert sales (meeting with a potential client who is not particularly prepared). But in the information boom and pandemic condition, standard techniques have begun to fail, as consumers try to learn as much as they can about the seller, about the upcoming deal, and to avoid imposition. As a result, organizations have developed new sotware technologies and begun to apply them successfully. Previously, B2B sales were based on the following scheme:
- Understanding the consumer’s problem.
- Identification of missing links.
- Proposing the best solution.
- Purchase or conclusion of a contract.
Now the client comes to the seller with solved pains and wants to see a reliable partner who can give competent advice and with whom it is possible to negotiate on equal terms. A new strategy of communication with the consumer should consist of the following steps:
- Verbalizing the desire to help.
- Understanding of the person’s needs.
- Convergence of positions on the solution selection.
- Beginning of the negotiation process to conclude a contract.
As you can see, the new concept of sales leads to the formation of long-term cooperation.
What are the trends in B2B sales in 2022?
In 2021, sales in the B2B segment have changed a lot. Hence the strategies that marketers are recommended to use are also becoming different. The main changes in B2B sales are associated with such transformations:
- Customers have become more independent and responsible in the selection of products. Previously, sales that were supervised by experienced managers were more predictable. Now, before the first meeting with a salesperson, a potential customer collects all available information about a trade offer, studies reviews & recommendations, and gets acquainted with analytics. About 60% of what the manager could tell, the customer now finds out on their own.
- Decreased confidence in the consultants of selling companies. On the one hand, this is associated with a decrease in the professionalism of some consultants. On the other hand, customers do not like when they are under even minimal pressure. More than half of consumers tend to find information on their own to avoid imposition.
- Sales life cycles have increased (by 20% on average). There are several reasons for this. First, more people are involved in it now, and secondly, buyers spend more time for independent analysis of the qualities of the goods.
In this environment, companies are advised to closely monitor the quality of content offered to customers and work to improve the efficiency of the entire process to increase sales. Since customers now expect to be able to research things before they speak to a salesperson, companies are shifting to greater transparency in the content they make readily available to anyone, including things like on-demand demos and general pricing information.
Today, B2B sales are primarily based on completely new principles of communication. In various ways, they relay to the consumer their willingness to:
- Regularly build competence in their industry.
- Strive for collaboration.
- Work together toward common goals.
- Understand a person’s needs.
- Help get away from mistakes.
- Develop a unique proposal for the client.
- Communicate on a deeper level.
- Describe the details of the purchase and transaction.
- Provide the main value – long-term mutually beneficial cooperation.
Such a change in the customer communication matrix brings the B2B segment to a new level of interaction.
What sales channels are effective in the B2B market in 2022?
Today in the B2B segment, the classic channels of B2B product promotion remain relevant:
- Website. This can be both a corporate website and an online store.
- Call-center. Confidence in support 24/7 is often one of the deciding factors in making a deal.
- Development of partner relations. Exchange of databases with other companies that are not competitors can become a key point of sales growth.
- Advertising and PR in mass media.
- Content marketing.
In any case, companies operating in the B2B market will need to develop a flexible multichannel model of interaction with their customers, work on increasing the professionalism of their managers and pay attention to improving the quality of service to achieve success in 2022.
An effective algorithm for attracting new customers in the B2B segment in 2022
To establish partnerships with new companies and retain them among your customers in 2022, you can use an effective algorithm for setting up the interaction between the consumer and the selling firm. You can also create an explainer video for better results.
- Building a strong relationship
At this stage, you will need to find the so-called entry point, the starting point that connects the customer with you. Consumer representatives will need to be listened to carefully to understand their difficulties. It is important to show them that their needs and your offers are closely linked.
- Convincing prospects
Convince your customers that you are ready to offer the best return on investment, guarantee minimal risks, and your offer has no alternatives. Description of deal details, recommendations to prevent errors, and the manufacturer’s experience demonstrate the reliability of the deal to the customer.
At this stage, it is important to show that you not only value the one-time contract but are also interested in the success of your customers. You should show that you are ready to go hand in hand with them on the way to achieving their goals. This approach will demonstrate your uniqueness, increase the credibility of the company as a whole, and allow you to become an expert in the eyes of the customer.
Final note: what KPIs to set for B2B salespeople in 2022?
Financial KPIs are:
- Customer Satisfaction Index. The acceptable minimum is 7 out of 10.
- Concluded contracts. Signing a contract and transferring payment do not equal completion of the transaction. For the money to be considered officially received, all supporting documents must be executed.
- The marginality of projects. You should have a system to evaluate your services. Some services are more profitable and some are less. There are services whose cost barely covers the cost of their delivery. The B2B salespeople’s task is to make sure that all services together make the project profitable.
The overall KPI for the B2B sales department is tied to the financial component. You should forecast how much profit you can make in the period and how much you need to earn to recognize the sales department’s work as effective.
Also, part of the KPI for B2B salespeople should be related to employee qualifications. For example:
- The level of knowledge in a certain area.
- Knowledge of tools and techniques.
- Ability to solve specific tasks.
You should pay a lot of attention to employee training in 2022. They should read the best B2B sales books to upgrade their skills. You should have well-thought-out training systems and a lot of support materials. You should periodically evaluate employees. If an employee is not sufficiently prepared for any issue, he or she has to study the topic and present his or her level of knowledge.