Demystifying the art of B2B selling - I

Before we get into the details of b2b selling, according to Forrester - "1 million B2B sales jobs in the U.S. will be obsolete by the year 2020.

How do you approach?

B2B selling is a step by step process where you start from scratch and build up the trust and rapport with your prospects. It is definitely not a one-time event and requires a lot of farming to increase your success rate. The typical buyer's journey is as follows,

Explore: Here, buyers identify a need or opportunity and begin looking for ways to address it, usually via interactions with vendors and self-directed information search on the internet.

Evaluate: Buyers take a closer look at the options uncovered while exploring, again leaning heavily on self-directed search and peer interactions as well as vendor sales representatives.

Engage: Buyers initiate further contact with providers (or accept proposals from providers) to get help in moving towards a purchase decision.

Experience: Buyers use a solution, increasingly in pilots or proof of concepts, and develop perceptions about its value based on that usage.

Some mind boggling statistics about B2B

"Market is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion by 2020" (Source)
"70% of buyers research online before buying" (Source)

With these points in mind, how can you increase your sales and turn the strategy of your organization?

Increasing your sales pipeline and turning disadvantages into strengths

Customer Testimonials:

"The switching economy is estimated at $1.7 trillion dollars — making it the 10th largest economy in the world, and making churn a major issue we must face," Mathew Sweezey points out. Adding to the fact that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, it's clear why customer advocacy is so important. Customer advocacy goes beyond typical customer service because it extends to the entire company. It means putting the customer first in every aspect of your business — from your support team and your sales reps to the content you create and the product itself. The culture of customer advocacy invokes a sense of trust in your potential clients, which is crucial for today's B2B buyer.

Personalized content:

According to Digital Capital Advisors, 86% of shoppers believe personalization influences what they purchase — and marketers agree. In fact, 94% of marketers say that personalization is an important part of their strategy.

Of course, it's impossible to manually personalize every interaction, that's where dynamic content comes in. Dynamic content is HTML content on landing pages, in emails, or on your website that changes based on who's viewing it. For example, your pricing page could change based on the user's location or an email could include personalized CTAs for contacts with different job titles (Example: CTO vs. intern). The possibilities are quite literally endless.

Small Actions:

Micro-actions, Sweezey explains, are small, phatic gestures that show a business cares about their customers and knows what they want. As he puts it, "These are the likes, comments, shares, reshares etc. They are able to reliably break through the infinite noise because they are warranted, wanted, and valued by consumers and cannot be blocked by ad-blockers."

Liking a potential client's post on LinkedIn is a micro action. Making sure they see your banner ad is not. The goal here is to build rapport and not to immediately sell your product. In a world where B2B sales reps are only engaged once a purchase decision has already been made, marketers will have to fill in the gap with these authentic and personal online interactions.

What does this mean? Why is the b2b landscape changing? Before we answer these questions, let's take a look at what really matters in b2b selling.

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