By 2023, it is anticipated that B2B e-commerce sales will reach $1.8 trillion. That is three times the $600 billion that B2C e-commerce sales are anticipated to reach by 2024, for comparison. One of my earliest encounters with B2B deals was back in 2012 when I offered regulation administrations to little and medium-sized organizations (it was essentially as energizing as it sounds). Since joining my first sales team, I've seen a lot of changes in the B2B sales process. A variety of vendors, research-driven buyers, and multiple purchasing options are just a few of the major shifts I've observed over the past decade.
Has this made it harder to reach B2B leads through marketing and sales strategies? Yes, to some extent. However, there is actually good news here (more on this later). For the time being, if you want to not only meet but also exceed sales quotas, you need to know how the modern B2B sales process works and stick to effective sales strategies. Here are a few examples of B2B sales:
Various Types Of B2B Sales
Examples of business-to-business sales B2B sales are short for business-to-business sales. It is used to describe businesses or salespeople who sell products and services directly to B2B customers or other businesses. This is similar to business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, which involve selling goods and services directly to consumers.
Type 1: Sales of supplies The owner of the company—also known as the supplier—sells supplies that support other businesses. Equipment, workwear, and supplies for the office are all included in this. Their procedure is comparable to that of B2C businesses. However, the quantity and purchase authorization is different. An employee will purchase 50 ink cartridges rather than one, and the purchase will require approval from a manager or other decision-maker. One company that specializes in B2B transactions of this kind is Lyreco, a large retailer of office and equipment supplies.
Type 2: Distribution and wholesale sales The wholesaler sells essential retail or manufacturing components to other businesses, such as raw materials. An illustration of a wholesale food distributor is JJ Foods. They sell essential food items to fast food and restaurant chains, which then charge customers more for them.
Type 3: Services and software sales The provider of services sells services rather than products, most frequently SaaS sales tools. Using tax accounting, as an illustration, this could be a small business's accountant or an accounting firm working with a larger company. It could also be a software-based service like QuickBooks or tax accounting software.
Differentiating Between B2B and B2C: What Makes Them Different?
Compared to B2C sales: What distinguishes the two? B2C sales are made by businesses or salespeople directly to customers. In contrast to B2B sales, they typically have a smaller scale and only involve the consumer's decision.
Examples of business-to-consumer sales include:
a sales representative at a car dealership.
a clothing-selling online eCommerce store.
a supermarket that sells a wide range of items used daily.
The B2B e-commerce sales market in the United States was valued at $9 trillion by Forrester in 2018. At a similar time, US B2C online business deals remained at $601.75 billion in 2019. B2B businesses have a larger fish pool, more opportunities for targeted marketing, and, of course, larger budgets than B2C businesses. So, why are sales between businesses and consumers so different?
Higher average transaction value The B2B sales pipeline can be relatively small, like a small business placing an order for office supplies, but it can frequently amount to thousands or millions of dollars and a huge supply chain. This is not the case, with the exception of a few specific B2C industries, such as luxury goods, automobiles, and real estate.
Longer sales cycles, with the exception of the three B2C industries mentioned above, B2C customers make purchases based on feelings and immediate needs: a laptop, charger, or case for the phone. B2B buyers, on the other hand, frequently seek a measurable advantage, a logical solution to a pressing issue, or a tangible return on investment. CRM software is only used by the B2B industry to keep the sales funnel in order. Additionally, they must gain the support of a number of decision-makers.
Multiple stakeholders Every decision in B2B sales has an impact on the company's bottom line, and purchase decisions move up an approval ladder. This indicates that a successful sale begins with a mutual "yes" from all decision-makers. The required number of "yeses" is proportional to the deal's value. B2B buyers who are educated are extremely selective. In addition to the fact that they are finicky about who they work with, on the other hand, they're fostering their own buy models without the guidance of salesmen. Because of this, content, such as case studies, has grown to be so crucial to the B2B sales process.
The modern B2B sales process's anatomy In the past, cold outreach—even for SaaS companies—was the primary strategy in the B2B sales process (and buying journey). A buyer would identify a vendor, discuss their requirements with a salesperson, and then consult the decision-maker, the sales manager when looking for a solution. They would sign a contract hand in hand if they were content. Marketing would generate leads for vendors, and sales would contact potential customers directly and close the deal with a cold call. The buyer's journey was straightforward.
However, the complexity of the B2B sales process has collapsed, just like the majority of industries. Sales and marketing are increasingly intertwined. Now, they work together to generate leads and close deals. The buyer's path to purchase is as follows:
They optimize all options and sketch out all possible solutions.
Buyers seek professional peer recommendations from their network whenever they require a vendor. They will also look at social media, review sites, and forums.
They will make a purchase decision based on all of the information they have already gathered.
They might contact a vendor who has been recommended to them or who has interacted with them if they haven't been approached.
The modern B2B sales process provides buyers with unprecedented levels of control, creating a completely new customer relationship from what sales teams have previously had to deal with. Ideal customers can enter and exit the funnel at will, retrace their steps from the point of purchase, and move between stages. The B2B deals process has gone from a direct pipe to a wide, multi-stage process that incorporates various crisscrossing touchpoints with purchasers. What, then, can B2B businesses do about it? The most important and effective B2B sales techniques The issue with the B2B sales cycle is that there are a lot of strategies and tactics; It's because there are too many choices for sales enablement.
Would it be a good idea for you to make recordings?
Create whitepapers with extensive research?
Ads via PPC?
Do more marketing via email?
Buyer-focused B2B sales strategies are the most effective. They were made with the modern B2B sales process and knowledgeable customers in mind. These are my top three:
First B2B sales tactic: Account-based sales can bring sales and marketing closer together. The days of separate business-to-business sales and marketing teams are over.
There is no longer a line that distinguishes between bringing users into the funnel and keeping them there. It's more like a Venn diagram because roles and responsibilities always cross paths. However, misalignment between marketing and sales reduces B2B salespeople's productivity. There are ‘dangers’ involved that can affect your employees.
Danger 1: Goals that aren't in line demotivate. The sales force's perception of their ability to achieve either goal is diminished when two goals are misaligned. They may lose interest in the organization as a result of this, which is demotivating. We asked salespeople to respond to scenarios in which the goal pairings for price and compensation were either market share growth or maximization of profit margins, or the other way around. The misaligned conditions performed worse than when the pricing and compensation goals were the same. Our participants were well aware that prices may occasionally fluctuate out of sync with their compensation objectives for legitimate reasons. However, salespeople frequently resisted the notion that each price adjustment was justified. “It then takes educating your customer about why they have to pay more,” a salesperson stated bluntly. Most of the time, it's just BS. One more person said, "It's all corporate." Nothing can be changed by us. We are forced to choose between what to sell and what not to sell because of this gap. It's depressing. The salespeople lost hope as a result of the misaligned goals, which led to a defeatist atmosphere.
Danger 2: Goals that aren't in line show that trouble isn't needed. Skewed objectives are seen by salesmen as more troublesome. The challenge arises when the sales force believes that the goal misalignment is simply unnecessary or that the goal combination makes it impossible to be successful, although difficult goals are not always problematic. A salesperson said, "I'm not going to go out and push it hard when it is not right," when asked how he felt about the price. I won't talk about that product because it's too expensive for what I need to do. Salespeople are aware of and keep track of lost sales due to misalignment. "We have goals, and every week I am walking away from a deal," a salesperson stated. When I don't meet my sales goals, I point to them and say, "We could have hit the goals, but we walked away from this, this, and that." missed opportunities for sales.
Account-based sales (ABS) turns the typical funnel on its head and encourages collaboration between marketing and sales by focusing on target accounts. An ABS strategy, like the beginning of the B2B buyer journey, begins with a solution that the company knows it can provide and that the buyer is looking for. As a result, sales and marketing must agree on who makes the decisions and how to tailor a solution to the problem that customers want to solve. Leads were leaving the funnel as page views decreased and bounce rates increased. To address the problem, they implemented ABS campaigns. Six digital account-based campaigns later, marketing improved its messaging and sent sales leads of higher quality.
DocuSign's sales pipeline expanded by 22% as a result, click-through rates on important calls to action tripled, and their bounce rate was cut by more than half.
Second B2B sales strategy: Use compelling content to win people's hearts and minds. Sixty-nine percent of successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. It's easy to understand why given that B2B buyers typically read 13 pieces of content before making a purchase. Content helps connect sellers and buyers. It influences the decision to buy from the vendor. However, sharing information about your company's office pet is only one aspect of effective content. It's about finding solutions to problems to strengthen brand credibility, build trust, and create a connection. Our integration partner, Hubspot, has grown quickly from a start-up to a $513 million business fueled by content marketing.
Third B2B sales strategies: Convert cold leads into brand fans with social selling. Social selling is the cutting-edge way for B2B salespeople to construct connections as well as close arrangements before contenders understand what's happening. New Horizons discovered that their return on investment was beginning to decline when they relied on conference lists to generate new leads. Sales were falling because leads were almost ready to make a purchase when sales representatives reached them. They needed to get on buyers' radars earlier to salvage declining sales. Their winning solution was social selling on LinkedIn. In the end, sales representatives gained $1 million in revenue, a 57% close rate, and 1.7 million opportunities in six months. The COO decided to create a "social hour" so that sales representatives could spend an hour a day researching and connecting with leads on LinkedIn because social selling was so effective at generating leads.
Will You Continue?
Will you continue to follow the B2B sales procedure? The B2B sales process is now an overlapping Venn diagram with multiple touchpoints, pain points, and value-oriented buyers rather than a straight line. Should B2B companies and sales representatives feel hopeless as a result of this change? According to a wise woman: "Oh, no, no!"
In contrast, it is a cause for celebration. A muddled interaction rises to a higher obstruction to the section. This is a good thing because it will keep out outdated dinosaur businesses that fail to adapt and will reward buyer-centric B2B companies with more sales. I say welcome to the new B2B selling challenge because this is a new age: I'm starving.
Engage48 is a full-service B2B Content Marketing and Appointment Setting Agency servicing B2B marketers worldwide on their digital lead generation programs. We also provide accurate and verified b2b contact data for your marketing and sales outreach programs.
We support business owners, b2b marketing, and sales heads in their quest for qualified leads. Whether you are looking to promote your b2b offerings to IT directors, HR heads, CFOs, CMOs, or the executive suite you can rely on our targeted lead generation and appointment-setting programs to produce the desired outcomes. And on a budget!