How do you create a sales process for B2B sales?
You've got your new customer's business card under your arm and they're waving at you enthusiastically as you walk toward them with purposeful stride. You know what you want from this meeting — they need your help to solve their problem or answer one of their questions. But how will you get there without losing control and getting lost along the way?
First off, let's talk about "personal selling." Personal selling is a term that describes the art of working directly with prospective customers to identify needs and then developing trust so that both parties can find solutions together. The goal of personal selling isn't just to make money for yourself but also to establish long-lasting relationships between your company and its clients. And while most people think that only happens when someone has actually come into your office (or yours), it doesn't have to be that complicated. Here are some tips on making sure your next sale goes smoothly.
What are the six steps in the B2B buying process?
The traditional approach to selling involves two phases: lead generation and proposal development followed by presentation and negotiation. In other words, start generating leads and writing proposals before ever stepping foot inside a client's building. While effective, these processes tend to take up too much time and resources in today's competitive environment. With more than enough marketing tools available online and offline, companies now look to reduce risk and cost through shorter sales cycles and smarter decision-making. And that means being able to move faster by not wasting time behind closed doors. Enter cognitive selling. Cognitive Selling was created by Dr. Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in 2007 after conducting research on over 150 different industries, including retail, banking, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and food services, among others. It is defined as the use of proven techniques such as empathy mapping, SWOT analysis, scenario planning and emotional intelligence to develop deeper connections with potential buyers. These techniques allow businesses to connect with prospects earlier through email, phone calls, social media, websites, blogs, networking events, etc., and engage with them on terms that suit each party's interests. This allows sellers to save valuable time because instead of spending hours trying to learn everything about every prospect during initial meetings, all they really need to know is who they're dealing with and where to begin.
So here we go, 6x6 style...the six key stages of the cognitive sales technique.
1.) Create a plan/prepare. Plan out exactly which areas you'd like to cover during your conversation or call with your prospect. Know what problems they face, why they should choose you and why you are right for them. Prepare answers to frequently asked questions and topics that may arise during the discussion. If possible, prepare short demos ahead of time based on information gathered from previous conversations with similar types of clients. For example, if you work in financial services you might preload demo videos of various portfolio management options set up on your computer screen. Or if you are a restaurant owner you could show them sample menus prior to discussing menu prices.
2.) Find common ground. Once you've established rapport with your prospect, ask open-ended questions that require simple yes or no responses to gain insights into what matters to them. Open ended questions are ones that don't demand specific data or facts but rather opinions and feelings. Questions such as "what would keep you coming back?" or "how important is speed of service?" are good examples of this. Listen closely and paraphrase statements back to them to ensure clarity. Also, pay attention to body language and gestures. Are they leaning forward in anticipation or sitting back down? Do they seem distracted or focused? Look for clues early on that tell you whether the person wants to hear more or is ready to wrap things up. If they appear engaged, ask follow-up questions to clarify points made or provide additional value.
3.) Discover goals & objectives. After listening carefully and observing nonverbal cues, determine what the main objective(s) of the interaction were. Then, ask questions to understand what the desired outcome is. What did he or she hope to accomplish from the meeting? How does his or her current situation affect those outcomes? By asking open-ended questions and paraphrasing statements back to them, you'll be better equipped to understand what your prospect truly desires. Don't try to guess. Ask them directly. When you feel confident that you've uncovered their real intentions, proceed to Step 4.
4.) Design solution. Now that you've identified the end result, design a strategy to achieve it. Consider the following points: 1. Is my product/service capable of delivering results according to our agreement? 2. Does my price reflect the true costs involved in providing my service? 3. Am I giving away any extras beyond the scope of what was agreed upon? 4. Can I support this recommendation with evidence or testimonials? 5. How can I best position myself to deliver top quality products and services consistently? Try to anticipate objections to your recommendations and address them head-on before moving onto Step 5.
5.) Make case. Now that you've identified the end result, consider how you can meet your customer's requirements using your own unique expertise and strengths. Explain the benefits of choosing you and present evidence to support your claim. Think outside the box. Presenting something unexpected creates intrigue and curiosity. Share stories, anecdotes and statistics to demonstrate why your product, team or service is superior to competitors. Be prepared to explain why your industry stands above others. Use visual aids such as charts, graphs and diagrams to simplify complex issues. Finally, remember to stay positive throughout the entire process. Your attitude impacts others' attitudes. A smile conveys warmth and comfort while negativity and anger convey insecurity and discomfort.
6.) Close deal. At last, once you've presented your findings, listen intently to avoid distractions and close the deal. Summarize conclusions and reiterate the benefits of doing business with you vs. other competing vendors. Thank the prospect for considering you and offer alternatives if necessary. Offer to schedule another appointment to discuss further details of the project. Remember, your job isn't done until the buyer signs off on your quote. So always leave room to negotiate pricing and delivery dates.
Now that you've learned how to navigate the waters of cognitive selling, you can apply this knowledge anywhere you encounter prospects. Whether you're looking to generate interest, qualify a lead or make a deal happen, you can improve efficiency and effectiveness simply by eliminating unnecessary steps in your day-to-day interactions. Just remember to remain flexible, open minded and responsive to feedback received from others. We highly recommend checking out CogniSci® training materials that detail the full 6x6 system. They contain detailed instructions for each step outlined above, plus many more useful strategies for successful sales. Best of luck on your journey!
If you’re like me then you probably think that creating your own business or getting hired by someone else means having a clear idea about what needs to be done to get things moving forward. But in reality it's often quite different — there isn't one well-defined path from where we start as freelancers or small businesses all the way through to being offered our dream job.
I've worked with many entrepreneurs who have been told they need to develop their "sales skills" but don't know how to go about doing so. I'm here today with some tips and techniques for developing these important skills.
Let's take a look at five key areas:
1) What are the 5 stages of selling?
Knowing exactly which part of the sale funnel you're currently working towards can help you plan ahead more effectively. It also provides clarity when speaking to potential clients. Here's an overview:
Qualify - discover if there's enough reason to move further along the process
Discovery - learn more details about the client and understand their pain points
Presentation - determine whether this solution will solve their problems successfully
Negotiation - reach agreement about price, scope & terms, etc.
Implementation - coordinate activities between parties involved
Note that while most of us would agree that each point above has value, the order may vary depending upon the situation and type of deal. For example, sometimes a client might want to skip step 1 altogether because they already know they'd like to work with you. Or maybe they'll only ever contact you via email instead of over the phone (in which case steps 2 and 3 won't apply).
When approaching prospective customers, always keep in mind that not everyone wants to speak to a professional right away. Some prefer to connect directly with other people online before making any kind of decision. Others want to talk to several companies until they find the best fit. And others still just want to browse without committing themselves yet.
This buyer persona model helps put everything into perspective and guide you towards better results. You should use these models whenever possible when talking to prospects. They make conversations less stressful and easier to navigate.
2) The ideal time frame for the typical B2B sale
In general, buyers tend to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours researching potential vendors prior to contacting them. Then again, some research takes place immediately after receiving an inquiry — perhaps they watched your blog videos, read testimonials from happy users, checked out reviews, etc., even though they weren't ready to hire yet.
The average length of a conversation between two professionals ranges from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. This happens regardless of whether you're discussing a simple project involving minimal costs or something more complex requiring multiple meetings.
So how long does it typically take to close a deal? We conducted a survey among 100+ executives across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Our findings show that it usually takes around 60 days to complete the entire purchase process. That's why it's essential to keep track of deadlines throughout the whole process.
3) How much can you expect to pay per meeting?
As mentioned earlier, the amount of money spent during a given transaction varies greatly based on the nature of the product/service itself. In addition, factors such as market competition, timing, geographic location, personal preferences, etc. play a role too.
Here's an approximate breakdown of the cost structure:
10% to 15%: Customer service fees + travel expenses = total billable hour rate
15% to 25%: Project management fee(s)
25% to 35%: Design fee(s)
35% to 50%: Contractor hourly rates
50% to 70%: Software development fee(s)
70% to 95%: Development overhead
95% to 99%: Subcontracting
Of course, those numbers aren't hard and fast rules. There could be exceptions to every rule, especially in cases where certain services overlap significantly. However, you should consider using industry averages wherever applicable.
4) Why prospecting is crucial for startups
One thing that sets apart successful startups from unsuccessful ones is that good founders don't wait for opportunities to come knocking on their door. Instead, they actively seek new leads. Whether it's cold calling, networking events, social media marketing campaigns, advertising efforts, direct outreach, referrals... whatever works best for you, never underestimate its importance.
Why is building rapport with current clients so critical? Letting your existing clients know about exciting projects coming down the pipeline allows them to refer you to future clients. On top of that, keeping up with what your audience needs gives you a competitive advantage.
5) The three main reasons for objections and ways to overcome them
There will be times when your customer doesn't feel comfortable purchasing your product/services outright. Perhaps he/she values your expertise too highly, or perhaps she/he thinks that your prices are simply too high compared to similar offerings elsewhere. Whatever the reason, you should prepare yourself for this possibility. Below are three common reasons for objections and suggestions for overcoming them:
Objection #1: Your proposal seems expensive
Solution: Provide detailed explanations of benefits associated with implementing your offer. Make sure to highlight tangible ROIs (return on investment), plus explain why customers should choose your company rather than another competitor. Tell stories that illustrate real examples of past successes. If possible, provide references from satisfied customers.
Objection #2: Your proposal includes unnecessary extras
Solution: Be upfront and honest about your pricing strategy. Share information about discounts you give to large orders, bundled offers, special packages, etc. Also, let customers know that they can negotiate your price if needed.
You can say, "Our standard rate starts at $X,000 USD, but we can adjust that number according to specific requirements." Remember, offering flexibility is far more effective than trying to squeeze extra pennies from your clients.
Objection #3: You haven't answered my questions clearly
Solution: Take care to define expectations properly. Don't assume that customers fully grasp technical jargon related to your field. Explain concepts in plain language, providing supporting evidence from reliable sources. Use visual aids whenever necessary.
For example, a few sentences explaining the difference between a correlation coefficient and a regression slope can save both you and your customer valuable time.
5) How to identify a qualified lead vs. a spammer
Spammers rely heavily on automated emails that contain links leading straight back to their website. These messages often include generic greetings, misspell words, and lack punctuation or capitalization. While some spammers send hundreds of thousands of emails daily, others aim for the big fish.
According to Radicati Group, the worldwide domain registration database reported 7,908,260 registered domains in April 2015. Of those, 4,068,621 were unique IP addresses. As of August 2016, there were roughly 11 million active websites listed in Alexa rankings.
On average, approximately 0.02 percent of visitors click on links contained within unsolicited commercial e-mails. According to Comscore Inc., the digital measurement agency, 20 percent of U.S.-based internet users receive at least one unwanted commercial message per month.
It's pretty easy for anyone to become a target. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and motivation. To prevent falling victim to this tactic, try setting up filters to block known spammy phrases and keywords. Also, avoid clicking on unknown URLs. Whenever possible, sign up for free newsletters or RSS feeds provided by reputable organizations.
Lastly, remember that although bad actors exist, they represent a tiny fraction of overall traffic. Most legitimate sites thrive under normal circumstances. So don't panic! Just continue focusing on delivering quality content, attracting new followers, and following up with interested readers.
After reading this article, what's next? Do you want to improve your sales abilities? Maybe you're looking for a mentor. No matter what you decide, please reach out to me personally if you run into trouble. I'd love to support you toward achieving greater success!
To your growth, happiness, and prosperity,
When you are building your business or working as the head of an organization, it can be very difficult to get everything right every time. The good news is that there's plenty of material out there on how to make sure that happens more often than not. If you're looking at this article from someone who has been trying to figure these things out themselves, I'm here to help.
In order to achieve consistent growth year after year, we've created an eight step B2B sales process that ensures the best possible outcomes each and every time. Here is what you need to know about B2B selling before making any decisions.
What is B2B process?
If you work in sales, then chances are pretty high that you have already heard about "sales process". However, some people don't quite understand what a sales process actually means. It refers to a series of steps used to ensure a sale occurs. Whether you sell one product per month or hundreds of products per week, a well defined sales process will make sure all of those transactions go smoothly.
It may sound complicated but if you think of it like following directions when cooking, a sales process acts as your recipe book. You follow the instructions exactly in the same way over and again until they produce the desired result. The difference between a cookbook and a sales process is that in sales, the end goal isn't just tasty food -- it's profitable clients.
A sales process should also include other important aspects such as client onboarding and training, data capture tools, CRM integration, automated emails, etc. Essentially anything that makes sense to increase efficiency and improve results should be part of the overall system.
There are two types of sales processes - one designed for consumers (the type most commonly associated) and another specifically intended for businesses. For our purposes today, let's focus solely on developing a B2B sales process. We'll cover both briefly later on.
Some examples of typical consumer oriented sales processes might include:
Follow up calls
Social media outreach
Online advertising & SEO efforts
Website design & development
Graphic design services
SEO search engine optimization
Search Engine Marketing Management
And many others...
Examples of specific B2B sales processes could include:
NDA Sign Off
Testing & Verification
Monthly Client Meetings
Year End Process
You now have enough information to start creating your own sales process for your company. Don't worry too much about getting everything perfect at first; instead, use this list to guide you along the way. After you've gone through every item once or twice, ask yourself which ones really matter to the particular industry you serve and put them into actionable items. Then repeat the process until you reach completion.
Keep in mind that a sales process doesn't always have to involve face-to-face meetings. Many companies find great benefit by using teleconferencing software and online collaboration platforms so their employees aren't tied down to set schedules. These methods allow them to better manage their workload and schedule appointments whenever necessary.
But even though technology offers numerous advantages, nothing beats personal interaction and a direct line of communication. So keep that in mind when designing your next big project.
What is B2C process?
While B2B sales tends to focus on large corporations, B2C sells to small organizations and individuals. In fact, according to research conducted by Forbes Insights, approximately 50% of new hires within major U.S. cities come from smaller industries, including healthcare, tech, finance, retail, hospitality, insurance, transportation, legal, restaurants, real estate, manufacturing, education, and entertainment.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, meaning that opportunities exist everywhere for anyone willing to take advantage of them. And because demand continues to grow, competition is stiffer than ever. That's why having a proven sales model that works for almost everyone is essential.
One thing people tend to forget is that the principles behind B2C selling apply equally to B2B businesses. This includes things like prospect identification, qualification, presentation, close rate, conversion rates, etc. While the exact details vary slightly depending on whether you're dealing with a corporation or individual, the general idea remains the same.
Here are some common elements found in consumer-oriented sales models:
Identify target market
Create value statement
Find solution gaps
Understand customers' needs
Provide ongoing service
These are some basic guidelines that are applicable to almost any form of selling. They remain constant regardless of whether you're talking about cars, candy bars, computers, or something else entirely.
What is B2B explain with example?
Below is a simple outline showing the main points involved in the different phases of a traditional B2B sales process. Use it as a guideline template to fill in the blanks based on your knowledge of your industry. Feel free to adjust it however you wish. Remember, consistency is key. When you stick to your guns during the entire process, you'll likely reap rewards in the long run.
Phase 1: Identifying Target Market / Prospect Selection
Step #1: Create Qualitative Report
Before diving straight into phase 2, identify potential prospects by completing a qualitative report. To avoid wasting precious resources, try to narrow down your selection pool as early as possible. Ideally, this initial assessment would consist of three distinct groups: current clients, competitors, and ideal future clients.
Once identified, prioritize targets based on past performance and projected profitability. Also consider factors such as size, geographic location, budget, and timeframe.
Step #2: Screen Target Potential
Use pre-determined criteria to determine which prospects qualify for further consideration. These must align with the goals and objectives of your firm. Some questions to ask yourself:
Is there sufficient overlap between my existing customers and selected candidates?
Do the majority of my prospective buyers belong to the same vertical markets as me?
Are my target customers located near where I operate?
Can I acquire qualified leads without hiring additional staff?
Does the candidate fit with the culture of my team?
Step #3: Develop Rapport With Selected Candidates
After determining which prospects meet your qualifications, begin establishing rapport with them via email, phone call(s), video conference, or live chat. Get to know them personally while learning about their unique challenges and pain points. This helps build trust and confidence.
Phase 2: Proposing Solution
Step #4: Build Case for Offer
Now that you have established rapport with your chosen prospects, it's time to present your proposal. Try to give them lots of reasons why your offering is clearly superior to theirs. Stress how your solution will resolve their problems, reduce costs, improve productivity, save money, mitigate risk, etc. Never assume they already know this stuff. Always educate your audience.
Give ample opportunity for feedback and participation throughout this stage. Ask open ended questions such as:
"Tell me about your biggest challenge..."
"Why did you decide to move forward?"
"Please share your thoughts on..."
"I'd love to hear more ideas regarding..."
Don't hesitate to solicit opinions from multiple sources. Keep in mind that everybody's perspective matters. Take notes and record conversations so you won't miss anything critical. By doing so, you'll establish stronger relationships and gain valuable insights.
Step #5: Evaluate Response to Initial Presentations
Listen carefully to responses provided by interested parties. Pay attention to how quickly they respond, as this indicates their level of engagement and commitment. Be careful not to jump to conclusions prematurely. Sometimes, folks simply require more time to digest the information.
Also pay attention to objections raised during this phase. As mentioned earlier, it's incredibly easy for prospects to throw obstacles at us. Resist falling into the trap of thinking they are challenging you. Instead, try to anticipate objections and address them immediately.
Phase 3: Close Deal
During this phase, you want to wrap things up as efficiently as possible. Make sure you have agreed upon terms and conditions prior to signing off on final paperwork. Once signed, feel free to send preliminary materials to confirm receipt. Follow up with detailed documentation once everything gets squared away.
Phase 4: Ongoing Service Commitment
Next, establish a plan for ensuring continued support moving forward. Most importantly, document expectations and responsibilities. Establish milestones and benchmarks to track progress regularly. Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on either party. Let them breathe and enjoy the ride.
Phase 5: Next Steps