Business-to-business, also referred to as B2B, refers to the type of business transaction conducted between companies, such as between a manufacturer and wholesaler or between a wholesaler and a retailer. B2B transactions typically occur in the supply chain, in which one company purchases materials or components from another to manufacture products that are sold to consumers. In 2018, the B2B e-commerce budget reached $1.134 trillion dollars, and this is expected to increase 17% by 2023. Many different approaches exist for B2B sales, but they all depend on establishing relationships with clients and continuously nurturing them over time.
Learn about the primary B2B sales approaches by reviewing the information below, then contact Shapiro Negotiations Institute for help determining the best approach for your business. We offer a comprehensive negotiation training program for industries of all types so they can improve their sales negotiation strategies. Our program instructs clients on how to determine the best selling approach based on their particular needs and provides guided practice with experts, so they are fully prepared for even the most challenging B2B negotiations.
What Is the Recommended Selling Approach?
The following four strategies comprise the most effective B2B selling approaches:
Strategic selling focuses on providing businesses with insight-driven tactics to help them navigate complex deals. It involves assessing your current position, determining your level of satisfaction when closing the sale, building action plans for alternative solutions, establishing credibility, and assessing each individual buyer for their influence, advantages, and results. Rather than communicating solely with their initial contact, sales teams delve deeper into the organization of the prospective company so they can identify the real decision-makers and influence them along the conversion journey.
Solution selling emphasizes the needs of the prospective company over the specific sale process, communicating with them directly to learn about their concerns and demonstrate a commitment to resolve them. This means helping them determine their needs, define their goals, and diagnose their challenges, then recommending products that can provide support for overcoming their challenges so they can accomplish their goals. This approach includes:
- Researching the client’s history to identify their pain points and attempted solutions
- Encouraging conversation and asking open-ended questions to learn more about their business and their needs
- Using this information to see if your product is a good fit for them
- Contacting the decision-maker to see if they are willing to work with you
- Educating them on the benefits of your product
- Offering them a customized solution based on their unique needs
- Negotiating the terms and closing the deal
Account Based Selling
Account-based selling implements different value propositions depending on the persona of the buyer and the stage of the conversion process in which they are located then addresses their challenges and helps them accomplish their goals. It works best for companies with complex sales transactions or long sales cycles, as well as companies that require approval from multiple decision-makers. This approach involves four key tactics:
- Selecting target accounts you feel would benefit from your solution
- Investigating the companies to uncover the challenges they face and identify the real decision-makers
- Tailoring your propositions to build different variations for different stakeholders
- Reaching out to these stakeholders to initiate a conversation
Social selling refers to establishing one-on-one relationships with prospects, then directing them through the conversion process. It consists of sharing and promoting relevant content with contacts across the channels they are more likely to engage with, analyzing their responses, optimizing content sharing based on data analysis, and staying up to date on industry activity, developments, and trends. It also allows you to monitor the competition in terms of how they approach prospects, how prospects are engaging with them, and what customers think about their products or services.
Get Help with Your B2B Sales Today
B2B sales involve more than a simple transaction – it requires implementing intricate sales strategies based on the unique needs of your business to convince all parties involved of your product’s value. Selecting the right approach for your business or transitioning to a more valuable approach can significantly improve your closed sales. However, not every approach is ideal for every business, and two businesses that follow the same approach can experience different results. To find the right approach for your business, you must consider your current sales processes, define your target audience, investigate what kind of engagement they prefer, and determine your available resources for implementing a B2B strategy.
Shapiro Negotiations Institute can help you find the right prospects for your business and ensure you deliver your message on the right channel at the right time to achieve the optimal conversion results. We also offer negotiation training to assist your team in developing their negotiation skillset and prepare them for future deal making.