Designing a Winning B2B Sales Process

Josh B.
August 5, 2023
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Designing a Winning B2B Sales Process

What is the difference between selling maintenance for fuel tankers and selling software for businesses? In truth, almost no differences exist. The B2B sales method can be longer or shorter based on how big your clients are , yet it will involve investigation, reaching out, presentation, discussion, and closure forms (in one form or another) in any industry.

A circumstance that genuinely influences the success of your revenue team (and can add quite a number to your last total) is how you build and utilize the said sales practice. So continue reading to discover what to integrate into your sales routine so it can provide you with a lot of funds.

Designing a Winning B2B Sales Process

What does the business-to-business revenue procedure entail?

The method B2B sales uses is a multi-part approach supporting your revenue team shut more transactions. Centered on the purchaser's buying travels, this map helps every member of the sales team stay on course and regularly practice the sales tactic.

The B2B (Business-to-Business) sales process differs significantly from the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) sales process due to the distinct nature of the target customers, sales cycle, and buying behavior. Here are the key differences between the two:

1. Target Customers:

- B2B: In B2B sales, the target customers are other businesses or organizations. Sales are made to decision-makers, procurement teams, or department heads who evaluate the purchase based on business needs and ROI.

- B2C: B2C sales target individual consumers. Sales decisions are often made by individuals for personal use, driven by emotions, preferences, and lifestyle choices.

2. Complexity of the Purchase Decision:

- B2B: B2B sales involve more complex and considered purchase decisions. The sales process may require multiple stakeholders' approvals, thorough evaluation of the product's fit, and a detailed analysis of its impact on the business.

- B2C: B2C sales decisions are typically simpler and based on individual preferences. Consumers may make impulsive or emotional decisions, especially for low-cost and everyday products.

3. Sales Cycle Length:

- B2B: The B2B sales cycle is usually longer and requires more nurturing. It may take weeks, months, or even years from initial contact to closing the deal, depending on the complexity of the product/service and the decision-making process within the buyer's organization.

- B2C: The B2C sales cycle is generally shorter. Consumers often make quick purchasing decisions, especially for low-involvement products, and the entire process can be completed in a matter of minutes or days.

4. Relationship-Oriented Selling:

- B2B: B2B sales rely heavily on building strong relationships with prospects and customers. It involves personalized interactions, understanding the organization's specific needs, and providing tailored solutions.

- B2C: B2C sales may not require the same level of relationship building, especially for low-cost, one-time purchases. However, for high-involvement purchases or repeat business, building brand loyalty and customer relationships become important.

5. Product Complexity:

- B2B: B2B products and services are often more complex and require customization to meet business-specific requirements. Sales reps need to have in-depth knowledge of the product and its applications.

- B2C: B2C products are usually more standardized and require less customization. Sales reps focus on highlighting the product's benefits and value proposition.

6. Marketing and Lead Generation:

- B2B: B2B marketing focuses on lead generation strategies that attract and nurture potential business clients through content marketing, thought leadership, webinars, and lead magnets.

- B2C: B2C marketing relies on broader channels to reach a larger consumer base, including advertising, social media, influencer marketing, and promotions.

Marketing and Lead Generation

The B2B sales process typically involves several steps to effectively move prospects through the sales funnel and convert them into customers. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the usual B2B sales process:

1. Prospecting: This initial stage involves identifying potential leads and gathering relevant information about them. It includes lead generation through various channels like online research, networking, trade shows, referrals, and targeted outreach.

2. Lead Qualification: Once leads are identified, the next step is to qualify them based on specific criteria. This involves assessing their needs, budget, timeline, decision-making process, and authority. It helps sales reps prioritize leads and focus efforts on those with a higher likelihood of converting.

3. Needs Analysis: During this stage, sales reps conduct thorough research and gather information about the prospect's business, pain points, challenges, and goals. This allows them to tailor their pitch and offerings to address the prospect's specific needs effectively.

4. Solution Presentation: Sales reps present their product or service as a solution to the prospect's challenges and needs. This presentation should highlight the benefits, features, and value proposition of the offering to create a compelling case for the prospect to consider.

5. Handling Objections: Inevitably, prospects may raise objections or express concerns about the offering. Sales reps need to address these objections tactfully and provide clear and convincing responses to alleviate any doubts the prospect may have.

6. Negotiation and Closing: Once objections are addressed, the negotiation phase begins. Sales reps work with the prospect to discuss terms, pricing, and other details to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement. The goal is to close the deal by getting the prospect to commit to making a purchase.

7. Closing the Deal: This is the stage where the prospect officially becomes a customer. The sales rep finalizes the contract, obtains necessary approvals, and ensures a smooth transition to the post-sales phase.

8. Post-Sales Relationship: After the deal is closed, the sales rep shifts focus to maintaining a strong post-sales relationship with the customer. This includes onboarding, providing ongoing support, ensuring customer satisfaction, and seeking opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

9. Follow-Up and Customer Success: Keeping in touch with customers is crucial to foster long-term relationships. Sales reps follow up regularly to gather feedback, address any concerns, and ensure the customer is getting the most value from the product or service.

10. Referral and Advocacy: Satisfied customers can become powerful advocates for your brand. Sales reps can leverage these relationships to ask for referrals and testimonials, which can help generate new leads and build credibility for the business.

Methodologies and roadmap for a B2B sales process

While you work to improve your sales procedure, you will compile every step into a single record. This plan will vary based on your company, product, client, and picked method.

There are 15 novel sales techniques in the marketplace at present, each one approaching the shopper from a contrasting perspective.For instance, you can introduce your product as an answer to the potential customer's issues rather than pushing it as is. This technique is known as problem resolution selling.

A further opinion is conceptual marketing, which inverts the selling process. There salespeople pay attention to the possible customer's issues and then give them with an idea of a probable answer that addresses each particular thing.

Though some sales methodology can be useful when utilized for the correct buyer organization, B2B companies with the fastest growing sales methods tend to approach purchasers with a far more consultative attitude. In a recent McKinsey study, the vast majority of sales leaders claimed they believe solution selling will be a fundamental sales capability in the forthcoming years.

After you have decided on your strategy, you are able to move forward with arranging the stages of your revenue system. Though the particulars change relying on your thing or service, the stages follow those we talked about in the part before.

Roadmap of the B2B Sales Process:

1. Qualification Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Qualification
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "What are your specific challenges and pain points?" "What are your goals and objectives for the solution?"
  •    - Activities: Gather basic information about the prospect's business and needs.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Sales pitch, product brochures, case studies.
  •    - Gets: Understanding of the prospect's fit for the product or service.

2. Education Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Education
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "What are some challenges you face over the next six months?" "What are you doing to mitigate the risks of falling behind competitors?"
  •    - Activities: Provide in-depth information about the product or service, explain its benefits and features.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: White papers, industry insights, educational materials.
  •    - Gets: Prospect's deeper understanding of the solution and how it addresses their needs.

3. Validation Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Validation
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "What are the top things you need this solution to deliver?" "Can you take me through your company’s buying process?"
  •    - Activities: Address any concerns or objections, provide additional evidence of the solution's effectiveness.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Customer testimonials, case studies, product demonstrations.
  •    - Gets: Prospect's validation of the product's suitability for their needs.

4. Proposal Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Proposal
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "Do you need to make any changes?"
  •    - Activities: Present a customized proposal based on the prospect's specific requirements.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Customized pricing options, proposal documents.
  •    - Gets: Prospect's feedback on the proposal and any adjustments needed.

5. Decision Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Decision
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "What are the next steps in your decision-making process?" "Is there any additional information you need?"
  •    - Activities: Address any final questions or concerns, facilitate decision-making.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Implementation plan, contract agreement, terms and conditions.
  •    - Gets: Prospect's commitment to move forward and finalize the deal.

6. Implementation Stage:

  •    - Step Name: Implementation
  •    - Step Participants: Sales Rep + Legal + Technical Team + Prospect
  •    - Key Questions: "What are the specific technical requirements for implementation?" "What is the timeline for implementation?"
  •    - Activities: Coordinate with the technical team and legal department to ensure a smooth implementation process.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Technical specifications, implementation schedule.
  •    - Gets: Agreement on the implementation plan and signed contract.

7. Post-Sales Relationship:

  •    - Step Name: Post-Sales Relationship
  •    - Step Participants: Customer Success Team + Customer
  •    - Key Questions: "How satisfied are you with the implementation process?" "Do you have any feedback or suggestions for improvement?"
  •    - Activities: Follow up with the customer to ensure their satisfaction, provide ongoing support.
  •    - Gives/Enablers: Customer support resources, feedback forms.
  •    - Gets: Customer satisfaction and potential opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Remember, the B2B sales process should be flexible and adaptable to accommodate the unique needs of each prospect and to respond to market changes. Continuously evaluate and improve the process based on feedback and evolving customer inquiries.

Designing an Efficient B2B Sales Process:

1. Understand the Sales Journey:

  •    - Clearly identify your buyer's pain points and how your solution addresses them.
  •    - Define the desired outcome of the sales process and how you want the customer to feel after the sale.
  •    - Consider your company's stage and trajectory to align the process with your bigger goals.
Understand the Sales Journey

2. Map the Buyer's Road to Purchase:

   - Analyze customer behavior and decision-making process.

   - Understand why and how customers buy your product or service.

   - Set up interviews and customer panels to gather insights and identify triggers that lead to purchases.

  • How did they find you? 
  • What did they want/need?
  • Who was/were the decision-maker(s)?
  • What was their time frame?
  • What budget did they have?
  • How was their experience?
  • Where did they get the information?
  • How did they educate themselves?

3. Establish KPIs and Set up Tracking:

   - Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals.

   - Set up reporting and tracking systems to collect data for analysis and improvement.

   - Use data to identify leaks in the sales process and provide targeted training to improve performance.

4. Build a Standardized Roadmap for Reps:

   - Create clear stages in your CRM to define the sales process.

   - Outline specific conditions that must be met to move from one stage to another.

   - Develop a standardized sales follow-up process with actionable steps for each stage.

Build a Standardized Roadmap for Reps

At Belkins, we use the following deal stages in our CRM:

  • Appointment scheduled
  • Discovery
  • Evaluation / solution presentation
  • Qualified
  • Proposal
  • Contract sent
  • Contract closed
  • Close lost
  • Future follow-up

5. Create Templates Based on Best Practices:

   - Gather insights from successful sales reps and closed deals.

   - Develop templates, scripts, and messages based on proven methods.

   - Test and implement these templates to ensure continuity in messaging and value proposition.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Be in the room when your sales reps are working. 
  • Gather insights right after they’ve landed a contract or moved a prospect through the sales process.
  • Interview them to find out: 
  • How did the customer find them?
  • What problem were they trying to solve?
  • What questions did they ask?
  • What were their doubts?
  • What materials did they require during the sales process? 
  • Were there any “aha!” moments?

6. Run it by the Reps and Train the Team:

   - Seek feedback from sales reps and incorporate their insights.

To avoid pushback, ask experts from your team to review chunks of your sales process and provide feedback. Ask them:

  • How do they do this part now?
  • What do they hear from the customers?
  • Is the new take realistic?

   - Ensure alignment between the developed process and the reality of daily sales operations.

   - Train the sales team on how to effectively use the new tools and follow the process.

Run it by the Reps and Train the Team

7. Do More of What Works:

   - Continuously measure the effectiveness of each step in the sales process.

   - Focus on what works and repeat successful actions.

   - Eliminate or improve elements that are not contributing to the desired outcomes.

What is in it for you? 

A deep understanding of how to develop an efficient sales process based on customer journey and the ability to successfully implement it within the company is the ultimate manifestation of a great sales leader.

If you are capable of creating the process, proving its value, rolling it out, training dozens of people to follow it, and delivering results, kudos to you. This is something to showcase on your resume, as it can help you make a stellar career in sales.

Or are you really busy and could use more capacity for building certain parts of the sales process? Book a call with our sales experts to find out how to optimize your process and start seeing results

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Josh B.

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