As long as businesses have been selling to other businesses, sales teams have looked for the most effective ways to promote their products. Some of those techniques—handling objections, explaining product features, and so forth—are now close to a century old, but they still make up the foundation of how sales happen.
That’s because, at its core, sales is about people and persuasion. Those two concepts have driven the evolution of sales through the 20th century and now into the 21st.
Today’s B2B sales teams have plenty of techniques and strategies to choose from. The biggest challenge now is choosing the strategy that works best for a particular company, audience, and product or service.
Borrowing doesn’t work. What fast-tracks your competitor might be a turnoff to your customers, and vice versa. You need to take the time and look at the different available techniques, then consider which are best suited to your customer base and offerings.
To get you started, here are three B2B sales techniques that suit a wide range of industries.
The concept of solution selling is simple and straightforward. You talk with a potential buyer to learn their needs and pain points, then present your product or service as the ideal resolution.
It’s a classic approach, and as such, it’s received its fair share of criticism. Some say that today’s self-educated buyer tends to learn the benefits of products on their own. They say that the solution seller is irrelevant, but that’s not true in all cases.
Sure, solution selling may be difficult for teams that sell off-the-shelf products to single decision-makers. However, when your company tailors its approach to customers’ needs, solution selling is often the best way of finding that unique value proposition. The trick is to start with a focused information-gathering process, then shift to focused value delivery.
Solution selling could be right for you if:
· You build custom solution packages for customers
· Your product or service is difficult for laypeople to understand
· Information about your product or service isn’t readily available to the public
As you might guess, value-based selling is about communicating what prospects will gain by doing business with your company.
Value-based selling and solution selling are similar B2B sales techniques, in that you’re guiding your prospects to an understanding of how you can benefit them. In both cases, you start by listening to the prospect’s needs and deliver your sales pitch in direct response to what they say.
The primary difference is that with value-based selling, you’re emphasizing the numbers. You want to be specific about how buying from you will strengthen the prospect’s bottom line. You can mention:
· Cost savings
· Productivity increases
· Revenue growth
· Cycle time reductions
· Customer success support
Value-based selling is more effective when you use numbers, but you always want to connect the numbers back to the prospect’s organizational goals. At all times, the prospect should be aware of two things:
1. How a presented value item will improve their bottom line
2. Why your company is uniquely positioned to offer that benefit
Value-based selling may be right for you if:
· Your product or service offers a measurable ROI
· You can document the benefits of what you offer
· Your product or service has clear benefits over the competition
Account-based sales is trending in the B2B world right now. More than half of surveyed B2B marketers say that they’re using an account-based format, and 80% are planning to spend more on the strategy this year. In many ways, account-based sales is the B2B answer to hyper-personalization, which your buyers already experience as consumers.
Personalized marketing is designed to make the customer feel like the center of the campaign. Account-based sales has the same goal, except that in this case, the sales team truly is aiming all of its resources at just a few clients.
All successful account-based sales endeavors start with research. Your sales or marketing team, or a subset of it, finds companies that have a demonstrated need for your product or service. The team then identifies the decision-makers—usually a group of them—at the target company. The next step is to develop a strategy designed specifically to convert those decision-makers.
Account-based sales could be right for you if:
· You target companies with multiple decision-makers
· You have a high-ticket product with a lengthy sales process
· You form long-term relationships with clients, so you can afford to invest heavily in each account
· Your approach to selling should be based on your industry, customer base, and value proposition.
· Solution selling is well-suited to companies that tailor packages to the needs of the customer.
· Value-based selling works for companies that can measure how and why they stand apart from others.
· Account-based sales focuses your resources on a small selection of high-potential clients, investing in significant future revenue from that client.