Sellers, to remain successful, need to find a balance between tried-and-true B2B sales strategies and new, fresh ways to sell to modern buyers. The time is especially ripe for updating strategies, as buyers and their habits are evolving quickly.
“The pandemic forced companies to move from traditional sales to a more hybrid experience,” explains Jodi Marca for Forbes. “Gone are the days of pitch decks in a conference room and ‘inside’ sales—the future of B2B includes more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience for customers.” Sellers must tweak their own behaviors and processes to meet expectations.
3 B2B sales strategies that need an update
The first strategy that Marca suggests adapting is how you respond to prospects and customers. Today, buyers expect exceptional customer service, which includes the ability to engage with vendors via multiple channels if needed. Sellers should offer multiple communication touchpoints, allowing for contact almost anywhere, at any time. According to data from McKinsey, “customers want—and expect—to engage seamlessly across 10 or more [channels]. And the businesses that have been quick to meet that demand have profited.”
Sellers must update their strategy to include more than just phone and email outreach. As SalesFuel suggests, reps need to offer an omnichannel sales funnel. Take a look at the SalesFuel Voice of the Buyer study to see how buyers prefer to engage with sellers. While they do still want to communicate via phone and email, they also appreciate other methods, such as social media and text messages.
Focus higher in the funnel
Another one of the B2B sales strategies that Marca discusses is where reps should focus their attention regarding the sales funnel. “At any given time, about 95% of B2B buyers aren’t in the market for your product,” she writes. But that doesn’t mean that those at the top of the funnel aren’t worth attention and time.
Modern buyers require an updated approach to the sales funnel, and some sales professionals even suggest a new way to look at leads. The concept of a “sales nail” is a popular updated take: “A pipeline shaped more like a nail suggests that we have far fewer opportunities at the top of the funnel, but that a greater proportion of them go all the way through to convert,” according to Flume Sales Training.
Embrace data and analytics
Sure, data has always been a part of the industry, but B2B sales strategies must evolve to make data and analytics a bigger part of the process. There is so much more information available to sellers now than in the past, and the most successful reps know how to leverage it to their advantage. Today’s sellers need to work with management to focus on the most valuable insights and use them for improvement, whether it’s identifying buyer profiles or opportunities regarding engagement methods.
And research backs up the importance of updating this sales strategy. McKinsey also reports that “B2B companies historically lag behind their B2C counterparts in adopting and deploying commercial analytics, but the ones who engage with the tools already outperform their peers; their return on sales are up to five percentage points higher than that of their counterparts.”
While sellers don’t need to shy away from all traditional B2B sales strategies, they should be willing to update certain strategies to meet current buyer preferences. For more insight into how reps can better align with modern buyers, take a look at SalesFuel’s other pro tips.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto