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Creating A B2B Sales Engine



The world of B2B sales has moved far away from the traditional means of selling prevalent in the old days. Business lunches in cigar clubs are a thing of the past for most companies that operate in the digital world. Buyers have changed the way they consume content, make decisions, and communicate with other businesses whose services or products they are purchasing. Therefore, creating a comprehensive B2B sales engine is essential for companies who want to succeed in the digital era.

What is B2B Sales

what is b2b sales


B2B, or business to business, sales is the practice of companies selling their products and services to other companies and businesses, rather than end consumers. The key difference between B2B and B2C sales lies in the buyer. Business buyers are professionals in their field, they are more informed about the solutions they are looking for, and often more demanding when it comes to features. They are trained to find the best deal on the market and present the best option to their stakeholders if they are not decision-makers themselves.


The B2B sales cycle is considerably longer and more complicated than B2C, and usually requires a well-structured sales engine that would follow the client throughout the sales process, and make sure that their needs are met when they become a client.

Find a Business to Business Sales Market

b2b sales


Now, more than ever, businesses have access to an immense amount of data they can utilize when constructing their sales engine, and commencing the sales process. This valuable data can and should be used to better and automate certain aspects of the sales process, in order to save time, money, and resources each company needs. Keeping up with the technological advances is essential for any company that wants to scale their business and keep their heads in the game, in the competitive market we are faced with nowadays.


What changed? Instead of smooth-talking salespeople of the 20th century, dressed in smart suits and with a carefully crafted sales pitch, the B2B sales world has shifted to a data-oriented approach that numerous tools and analytics software provided. The B2B market has changed significantly, and any growing business needs to take into consideration the environment of this new market in order to succeed. So, what can businesses do?


  1. Engage the customers. Customer engagement is probably the most important step to keep in mind when making a sale. But, how can a business figure out what to do? A good rule of thumb states that new customers need to be sought through the entire process with the help of a sales rep, and repeating purchases can be successfully handled by account managers and other customer reps. Moreover, businesses need to turn to digital tools to assist their sales reps through interactive presentations, relevant content, good webinar solution, and a means of fast communication, whether through chat-bots, dedicated Slack channels, or other methods. More and more decision-makers are millennials who appreciate digital communication more than cold calls or other traditional sales methods, so utilizing all the available tools is of the utmost importance when dealing with the new clientele.

  2. Mind the analytics. Data-driven sales engine relies on extensive analytics that can showcase the weak points, best practices, and thoroughly present the behavior of the buyers. Lead generation analysis is key when it comes to sales because companies can build a profile of their customers that show and highlight all the key points they need to be aware of to make a sale.

  3. Invest in talent. Even though the sales process has become more scientific in nature, a real human cannot be replaced when it comes to an actual conversation with the prospect. Companies should focus on finding and nurturing their talent, investing in their education and growth, and providing proper training. However, executives need to understand that people learn best by actually doing the job, so allowing the sales reps to jump into their roles and make a decision is integral when it comes to building a strong sales team.

  4. Plan well. In the new environment that businesses are operating in, assessing and planning are essential for growth. Businesses need to spend time assessing their situations, finding the buyer persona, and scout the market. Next, they need to create a long-term plan and invest their resources accordingly. Once these two essential steps are completed, the sales process can move much quicker and yield better results.

How to Generate B2B Sales Leads

what are b2b sales


You can create the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it, what’s the point? In order to grow, every business needs to generate sales leads that they can convert into long-term customers. In their initial stages, many companies make the mistake of purchasing lists from questionable sources and cold calling or cold emailing them to make a sale. These lead lists are usually gigantic, often filled with irrelevant contacts, and, in the end, can cost a company 60% more money than a good list. If a company is using an automated email marketing software to cold-email these leads, chances are that their email service provider will pick up on suspicious activity once the spam complaints start rolling in. Many email marketing software providers specifically do not allow purchased or rented lists, and often ban users who break that rule.


Another bad side of this practice is the email score – utterly ruined once the bad feedback starts coming in. When the sender score is very low, chances of your email actually reaching a good lead’s inbox are slim to none, and will most likely be stored away in the spam folder. Duplicate data in your sales CRM is another issue that can take a lot of time to clean up, organize, and assess, resulting in a waste of time, money, and manpower.


Sending unsolicited emails can not only irritate a potential customer but also get your company into a lot of trouble. Canada passed the CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Law) which can have detrimental effects on individuals and companies who send unsolicited emails to people who have not explicitly or implicitly given consent to receive them. Leads on a purchased list did not provide this kind of consent.


What can businesses do instead?


  1. Generate leads from the website. Each person that visits your website and signs up for a newsletter, webinar, or anything else is a potential lead already interested in what you are offering. Create a chatbot on your website that can convert traffic into valuable leads by asking questions and categorizing and qualifying the leads. Anyleads, apart from the Prospecting product, has a product called Sales Chatbot that does just this – qualifies the leads and sends a report back to the sales rep. Finding the right tools that help you generate quality leads is an essential step for any successful sales campaign.

  2. LinkedIn leads. Your connects on LinkedIn are valuable leads and potential customers you can put into your CRM.

  3. Social media. Use social media to humanize your brand and talk to your leads directly, without the veil of an automated email they are used to.

  4. Attend events. Or host them! Some of the best leads a company can acquire are during one on one conversation. Even in the digital age, physically meeting someone and having a meaningful conversation remains one of the best ways to make a sale.


Lead

Do what?

How?

Website Leads

Encourage visitors to sign up

Use an AI chatbot

LinkedIn Leads

Manually message connect

Extract the connects’ emails and start an automated campaign

Social Media Leads

Use CTAs in every post

Communicate with leads directly

Event Leads

Manually analyze and categorize leads

Use AI to automatically qualify and sort leads

Create B2B Sales Value

what does b2b sales mean


Unlike regular customers, B2B customers are much harder to attract, and even harder to retain, especially since the market is getting more and more flooded with solutions from companies all over the world, competing for their minute in the spotlight. That is why, to run a successful business and to always grow, companies need to provide value to their customers, not just sell them products and moving on. But what is value, and how does one create it?


Professional buyers and business executives rarely rely on their emotions only when it comes to purchasing. Sure, a strong core message can help sway their decision a little bit, but if the seller is lacking the essentials, they might as well move on. So, what is the value?


  1. Understanding. First and foremost, a company needs to understand the issue a business has. They need to provide a solution to the problem and be ready to show knowledge to potential customers.

  2. High quality. Companies need to ensure consistency and diligence when it comes to the quality of the product or service they are offering. No quality – no retention.

  3. Good price. If a competitor is offering the same or very similar for a lower price, they will make the sale. When B2B customers purchase, they do so with long-term effects in mind, one of which is the overall cost of the product or service.

  4. Great service. Great service needs to start with the initial sales contact and continue on to account management once the client is acquired. Responsiveness, clear information, and honest communication eliminate the risk of a lead giving up before even purchasing, or a client leaving unsatisfied and becoming a detractor.

  5. Simplicity. Finally, simplicity is the key to success, especially when SaaS companies are considered. Nobody has time to learn how to use complicated software and spend time and money training their team.


However, value is so much more than the above-mentioned list. To provide real value to the customer, businesses need to think in a customer-centric manner. Structuring the sales engine around the customer, and not the product or service you are offering will allow you to see what the customer considers to be valuable to them. However, this is easier said than done. Learning what the customer needs, and then what they are willing to spend their money on is just one part of the equation. Asking the right questions and going deep into their mindset will allow you to understand what they are looking for, and, if you can provide them with all or almost all of their needs, you won’t have to sever the price just to keep up with the competition.


When talking to a potential customer, focusing on features and novelties of your product will lead you nowhere if you don’t focus on the results. Clients need to see the value of the product not in its flashiness, but in real, measurable data – they want to know if they will profit, save time, or retain customers if they use your product. They need to hear about the result, not a feature of the product.


Finally, improving your product over time and never giving up on growth will provide value to the customer in the sense that they will know that they can always expect something major from you. Simplifying the way the product works, introducing new features that cut time, or following the trends before they become trendy will allow your customers to see that the money they are putting in has value, which makes them more likely to stay with you and not go to a competitor, and even offer referrals and testimonials.


As an added bonus, keeping your customers in the loop and allowing them to suggest future improvements makes them feel valued because their opinions are heard. It all goes back to forming real relationships and instilling trust in your customers and leads.




Evolving B2B Sales Cycles




 

Sales Reps

Visibility

Data

Buyer

Focus

Talent

Old

Explaining, describing, pushing

Somewhat irrelevant in niche markets

Going by gut

Baby boomer

New customer

More accessible

New

Guiding, personalizing, connecting

Highly relevant. Focus on SEO

Using big data and analytics

Millennial

Account

Hard to find




Simply seeing and testing the product and placing an order is a thing of the past. Nowadays, in the digital ecosphere, buyers are much more aware of the obvious practices of sales reps of the past, that they get instantly turned off when they see something like this happening. Nowadays, it’s all about personalization and seamlessness. Even though the price and the product itself are an integral part of the decision to purchase, many buyers in the B2B sphere value the actual experience of purchasing more than the price. So what changed?


  1. Sales reps. Even though the salesperson is still the most integral part of the sales machine, times have changed and they have a much different role now. Instead of describing and explaining the product, sales reps are there as support during the sales process. They are there to personalize and customize the product to fit the needs of a potential customer, and they do it well because they are agile and can adapt quickly to leads looping through the sales funnel.

  2. Visibility. Brand awareness is more important than ever in the age of the Internet. Many potential leads that look for a solution will never click past the first page on Google, which is why companies need to invest their time into SEO and brand visibility. Since the world has become one big global village, gone are the days of being a crocodile in a small pond – nowadays, if companies want to grow, they need to target a larger pool of potential clients and compete with a small number of already established, big brands that offer similar services that clients have in mind.

  3. Big data. Companies that go by gut and not analytics are less likely to profit and grow from their efforts. This is because organizations are taking the time to analyze their leads and qualify them accordingly so they can know exactly how to tailor their approach to be successful in the sale.

  4. The Millennial buyer. Millennials are not like the customers of the past. They want curated and personalized service, materials, and content. They despise cold calls and prefer informal negotiation processes. They value efficiency, authenticity, and demand transparency. They do not respond well to the typical salesman pitch, and, apart from all this, they like putting their money into the companies who take their time to be socially and environmentally responsible.

  5. Accounts, not new clients. Retaining an existing client is ten times cheaper than acquiring a new one. Therefore, instead of focusing only on the acquisition, the companies are turning to the nurturing of the accounts who are more likely to buy again. Account-based selling is the trend that requires the help of the entire team to see the client through their lifecycle. From a business development representative to a good account manager, the entire team needs to strap in and work together to acquire and retain a client in the long run.

  6. Seller scarcity. The market is facing a unique issue nowadays, the issue of the scarcity of good talent. Top-performing sales reps are already employed and are probably not looking for a new job. Therefore, companies need to focus on employer branding, nurture company culture, and provide value to their talent. Finding an above-average or simply a talented salesperson is harder than ever, which is why companies need to invest in their top-performers, educate new staff, and have a solid sales engine so that new hires can quickly get acclimated to the new environment and excel in it.



Effects of AI on B2B Sales

b2b sales experience


According to Gartner, by 2020, 30% of B2B organizations will utilize some form of AI to improve and enhance their sales processes. But how can AI help the sales staff augment their practices?


  • Language processing. AI can notify the sales team when it notices any sign of dissatisfaction from the lead

  • Analytics. AI can determine the likelihood of a purchase from a prospect using the key data points it analyzes.

  • Prospecting. AI-powered chatbots such as Anyleads can cut down on the time sales reps spend to qualify the leads and categorize them.

  • Automation. AI can extract a high-quality list of leads and export them to a CSV file that can be used in an email marketing campaign

  • Engaging visitors. AI can show pop up notes and notifications to website visitors and encourage them to participate. Anyleads’ Social Proof widget shows notifications of other people who started a trial, viewed a certain page, or purchased a product on the website.

  • Generating content. Since buyers look for the valuable content they can consume on a daily basis, AI can generate human-like texts that reps can use in the sales process. Personal Content Writer from Anyleads does just that and delivers five SEO-friendly articles every day.

B2B Sales Examples


So, who are the companies that are winning in the B2B sales environment? Companies that think smart and utilize the advanced e-commerce solutions, top-notch tools, and generate leads instead of buying them are the ones most likely to succeed and grow exponentially every year. Some of the top performers include:


  • Freund – uses a chat pop up to initiate a conversation with a potential buyer

  • Spectrum Audio – utilizes a quoting tool that allows for custom orders

  • Human Solution – uses the power of content to educate their potential customers

  • The Knobs Co. – migrates customers and leads to do their business online instead of offline

  • Restaurantware – uses software to automate the sales process

  • Sincerely Nuts – uses the subscription option as a purchasing method


Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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Sales Chatbot

Install a chatbot to capture visitors data and convert them to leads.

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Personal content writer

Get unique daily content for your business redacted by a artificial intelligence writer.

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Anyleads
Prospecting

Find & verify emails, send automated drip campaigns and generate sales.

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Anyleads
Youtube extractor

Extract subtitles of Youtube videos to create unique content.

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Anyleads
B2B Exchange

Increase your visibility and virality with a community of influencers.