It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what business customers you sell to, or what products and services you sell, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your value proposition.
In fact, in today’s business world, a customer’s go/no-go decision on a purchase ultimately comes down to how they perceive your company’s value. This is why your offer must be unique, well-defined and clearly-understood.
More importantly, it means your sales and business development people must have a clear and thorough understanding of that value and be adept at outlining it to your market and customers.
In consumer markets it’s expected that customers will comparison shop. After all, prices, offers and discounts abound. Heck, you can monitor pricing and comparison shop in real-time on smartphones. Not so with business markets. Why?
Sales cycles are longer in business-to-business (B2B) markets, and the process of nurturing prospects and closing sales is far more elaborate.
It’s that investment in time that your salespeople must protect by not allowing themselves to be used to lower your competitor’s offer.
I’ve written about how B2B companies are relying too much on digital marketing as a means of identifying, qualifying and closing opportunities. Granted, you need to have an online presence.
However, in business-to-business (B2B) markets, an inbound strategy is nothing more than a lead generator and a brand builder. It generates leads, but it's not merely a question of putting things on autopilot.
Invariably, your sales team needs to maximize its customer face-time in order to close sales. So, to help you hit the ground running in the New Year, here are some strategies to get your marketing and sales back to basics.
Yes, you are reading a blog and yes it’s full of content. However, the content on this site is educational and by no means meant to close business. Unfortunately, many B2B companies are relying too much on their content as a means of winning business. It’s a fallacy that needs to be corrected.
Business is closed by sales.
Salespeople have to be able to manage customer expectations, negotiate favorable terms, protect gross profit margins and secure volumes. That’s not done with content – it’s done with a salesperson that’s well-versed in asking open-ended questions and getting customers to commit.
Can an argument be made that customer retention is more important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs than it would be for larger, more established businesses?
Well, when you consider how expensive it can be to find new customers, and the limited marketing budgets most entrepreneurs have to work with, then yes, it’s easy to see why retaining customers is more important to newly-established businesses.
Given the importance of customer retention, and the need to keep competitors at bay, how can SMEs and entrepreneurs increase customer loyalty so that they become their market’s only option?
It’s wrong to assume that you need to have a substantial marketing budget in order to generate qualified leads. In fact, some of the best lead generation strategies are the least expensive. These simple low-cost marketing solutions are easy-to-implement and just as easy-to-manage.
Coming up with this list was fairly simple.
There are probably a number of other zero-cost strategies that aren’t on this list. However, this should be enough to get you guys thinking about some conventional and non-conventional ways of generating business opportunities.
Everything is going great. Your customer is engaged in the process and seems convinced by your value assertion. They’re close to making that all-important first purchase until suddenly, quite unexpectedly, they put on the brakes.
Now, how often has this happened to you? Well, if you’ve been in sales long enough, then it’s fair to assume you’ve come across this situation a number of times. It happens to even the best of salespeople.
However, the question then becomes: Why do B2B customers suddenly put on the brakes?
A number of salespeople are simply unable to handle customer objections. They immediately recoil once a customer puts up a roadblock. They back away, give ground and become reactionary, instead of proactive.
Eventually, the customer assumes control and the end result is a lost sale. However, this can change when you stop and understand why customers use stall tactics.
If you’ve been here before, and have read some of my previous posts, then it’s more than likely that you’ve come across this subject already. However, it’s a critical part of succeeding in sales and should be revisited once again.
When a customer complains about your price what they are really worried about is how that price will impact their costs. If you can get them discussing how your product will reduce their costs, then you’ll get the sale.
Sometimes increasing production throughput can be as simple as rearranging your production shop floor. In fact, when it comes to lowering production cycle times, few approaches are as powerful as using spaghetti diagrams.
You'll need your production employees to work alongside you for this project as their input is essential to success.
Not all social media is the same just as no two markets are the same. Unfortunately, this all-important term has been hijacked, or at the very least, misrepresented.
Ultimately, any digital media platform that simplifies sharing can be called social media. Understanding this will make it easier to match your social media strategy to your market, your customers and your industry.
There is this prevailing view in sales management that a salesperson has to be enthusiastic about their product, enthralled about the opportunities around them, and highly motivated to continually push past “no” until the customer finally relents and makes a purchase.
Persistence is an adjective all salespeople like to use, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, there are direct consequences to salespeople being overly optimistic and they’re ones most companies don’t see until it’s too late.
By the time the company has realized that its salesperson isn't actually listening to what customers actually want, they've already lost out on a number of opportunities.