By The Editorial team
Business-to-business (B2B) sales, also known as B2B sales, refers to the marketing and selling of products and services from one business to another business. As opposed to consumer sales, B2B sales tend to be more complex, with larger and more expensive products or services involved in the sale. According to Statista, businesses spent over $49 trillion on B2B transactions in 2021 alone. That’s more than twice the total U.S. GDP.
With over 35.2 million businesses in the US alone, it’s no surprise that direct sales to businesses have taken off over recent years. There is a definite structure and process involved in selling to businesses, with complex negotiation tactics at every turn. With some background knowledge about your customer—and all you have learned about them during your early research stages—you will be able to quickly and effectively develop a plan that helps close deals and establish yourself as an industry expert.
So what is B2B sales? It’s selling directly to businesses, not consumers. Sales techniques like cold calling and networking are all most likely geared toward B2B prospects because they understand how important business-to-business leads are for growth and expansion. Once you have a clear idea of your customer’s goals, you can focus on ways to help them reach their objectives by providing high-quality products or services that solve their specific business needs. Selling to businesses involves an entirely different approach than selling directly to consumers—and it should be approached as such.
Higher pricing: One big benefit of selling to businesses is that you will be able to get a much higher price for your product or service. One reason for that is that businesses buy in bulk and are also more likely to want an extended warranty. Businesses may even offer you payment plans or longer contracts if they like your product enough.
Scalability: Another advantage of selling to businesses is scalability. B2B sales allow you to scale up very quickly as needed. You won’t have to worry about running out of stock or dealing with individual customer complaints as often either. This can save both time and money in the long run.
Increased efficiency and productivity: Companies that engage in b2b sales tend to have improved efficiency and productivity. When a company sells to businesses, they know exactly what their customers need so they can tailor their products or services accordingly. There are also no middlemen involved in business-to-business transactions, which means you’ll spend less time making changes to the product and more time selling it.
High-profit margin: Another great benefit of business-to-business transactions is a higher profit margin. Businesses that deal in B2B sales can expect to see huge profit margins from a few sales. With only a couple of large customers, you’ll start seeing some serious money going into your pockets.
Better analytics: There’s also the advantage of better sales forecasting and analytics in B2b sales than you will find in a business that only sells to consumers. These benefits, along with an increased number of B2B opportunities, are driving more businesses to try out selling to businesses.
There are a few different kinds of buyers in business-to-business sales environments. It’s important to understand which one you’re working with when developing your strategy.
Understanding how decision-makers and influencers think is critical: what kind of information do they need, how much time do they spend doing research, how flexible are they as far as pricing goes? Decision-makers and influencers set the tone for purchases within companies, so it’s wise to know as much about them as possible.
When you’re trying to build a business and scale your sales, it’s crucial to understand all of the moving parts and pieces that make up a sale. By learning about each of these individual steps, you can come up with smarter methods for acquiring more leads and increasing your conversion rate.
Business-to-business sales aren’t easy. Only an average of 21.2 % of leads turn into customers—which means that to succeed in B2B sales, you need to set up a sales funnel that works. At each stage of the funnel, you should be asking yourself: What does my customer want at each stage of their journey with me? And how can I deliver on it?
Awareness: The foundation of every sales funnel is a clear, well-defined awareness campaign. It’s never too early to start spreading awareness about your product or service—ideally, you should start even before you’ve finalized your actual business. That way, when you do start selling, your lead generation will be optimized for high efficiency.
Interest: Once your business has an awareness campaign running, you’ll need to attract interest from customers. This can take a variety of forms—for example, content marketing, social media outreach, and educational materials all help to capture interest from leads who are looking for answers or solutions. Educating potential customers is one of the most powerful tools in a B2B sales funnel.
Decision: When a lead has expressed interest in your company and its services, you should consider how you’ll incentivize them to take action. Some of our favorite tactics include an offer of a free trial or samples of your product—but whether you decide to give something away for free or charge money for a product or service depends on what kind of business you have.
Conversion: Not every lead will convert. So, when you’re formulating your sales funnel, you need to think about what your customer wants from each stage of their journey with you—and how you can deliver on it. You should also set up a series of call-to-action ads and emails to help guide customers through your process.
Purchase and evaluation: It’s important to incentivize potential customers throughout their journey with you—because, for many, purchases aren’t easy. However, when you implement a marketing funnel that prioritizes information and education over sales, you set up your business for long-term success. People don’t make decisions in a vacuum; instead, they gather information from all sorts of sources before deciding to make a purchase.
Repurchase/attrition: At every stage of your funnel, you should be asking yourself how you can provide value to your customer. Because, at their core, a sale and a customer are two sides of the same coin—and neither one exists without good value in exchange. Ultimately, B2B sales come down to building lasting relationships between businesses and customers who see themselves in a long-term partnership. And it all starts with your funnel.
Setting up an effective B2B sales funnel takes time and careful planning. But if you take care of each stage carefully, it’s almost guaranteed that your funnel will be as successful as possible.
Selling to businesses is one of those things that many people struggle with at first. However, if you follow a few simple steps it can be as easy as anything else you’ve done before. There are several things you can do to make your job easier and help maximize your sales potential. Here are a few tips to sell effectively in any business situation.
While there are many similarities between B2B and B2C sales, there are also several important distinctions. If you’re selling to a business rather than an individual, it can take more time and effort to build trust, credibility, and rapport with your buyer. You should research the industry to learn about your customers’ needs and concerns, especially since different industries often have different approaches when it comes to buying things.