Understanding How B2B Sales Work for Professional Services Firms

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Outlining the processes and tools essential to successful B2B sales

The definition of B2B sales says it is the transaction between two businesses. Parallels are drawn between B2B and B2C sales, but the B2B sales are quite different from the B2C sales. The strategies that work in B2C sales are almost futile in B2B sales. A B2B sales process is a highly complex undertaking that involves a sophisticated approach to target every client. It starts from the market research, prospecting, sales pitch, and objection handling and ends with closing the sales and follow-up. B2B sales playbook, sales tools, strategic frameworks, proprietary software, and much more are involved in the sale process.

This post will look into the basic aspects of B2B sales for professional service firms.   

How is B2B Sales Different From B2C Sales?

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B2B sales are distinctively different from B2C sales. In B2B sales, a business is selling to another business. Thus, the prospective buyer is highly educated. Your business needs a well-trained B2B sales team to target prospects effectively. Whereas in B2C sales, a company sells to the end customers. Have a look at some key points of differences between B2B sales and B2C sales.

Target audience

In business-to-business sales, the target audience is limited. Unlike B2C sales, a business is not selling to millions of customers. Instead, a B2B company has a few hundred clients to target. Therefore, sales strategies such as account-based marketing are often used in the business-to-business sales process. 

Multiple decision-makers

There are multiple decision-makers involved in the B2B sales. A professional services company has to identify the key decision-makers, influencers, and stakeholders. The involvement of multiple decision-makers complicates the sales process and makes it longer than withB2C sales, where only one person is involved in the decision-making.   

Long sales cycle

Business-to-business sales are more about building the partnership than selling the product. According to CSO Insights, 46.4% of B2B sales to new customers take longer than seven months to complete. In B2C sales, customers can make impulsive decisions based on the trends, but B2B sales include dealing with educated prospective buyers with specific needs. It is a collaborative approach where the focus is less transactional and more consultative.

Higher price points

B2B solutions and products come at higher price points. Thus, the pricing strategy varies from client to client based on the solution required. Whereas in B2C sales, there is standard pricing for all the customers.  

After-sales support

B2C customers do not need dedicated support to learn to use the product. Whereas, in the B2B professional service industry, a company needs dedicated after-sales staff to make the buyer’s sales journey easy. For example, an IT services firm that wants to sell the new software to prospective clients needs an onboarding agent to help a business get started with the software. The process does not end only at successfully selling the software solution. The IT company needs dedicated support staff to provide technical support and a customer success manager to cultivate the relationship with the existing client.   

What is the Typical Process of B2B Sales?

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Due to the very nature of the B2B industry, the B2B sales process is highly sophisticated. Some steps in the process may vary from industry to industry or depend on the company, but the standard workflow includes:

Market research 

Market research helps a B2B salesperson understand the potential of the market, competitors, and the target audience. It can be done by purchasing the data from data collection companies or using various methods of data collection. It also helps determine how well the product or service will fit into the marketplace.

Prospecting

The obtained data is analyzed, and based on various factors, a B2B salesperson finds the potential customers. A variety of factors such as a client’s needs, interest and budget, revenue potential, and profit margins are taken into account while prospecting. The purpose is to ensure that prospects are a good fit for the sales team.  

Reaching the prospects

 Marketing material is directed to the potential clients to gain their attention and schedule a demo. B2B businesses can use both outbound and inbound marketing techniques to create leads and drive B2B sales growth. The outbound marketing strategy includes cold calling, direct email, social media advertisements, and texting. At the same time, an inbound marketing strategy includes generating a portion of leads via forms, trade shows, email marketing, advertising, and other channels.   

Sales pitch 

Sales pitching is the most important step where a salesperson meets the potential client and explains how the company’s product or services are the right fit. As Steve Jobs once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” A salesperson needs to show the client what they want. The product demo takes the most energy and often decides whether or not a client will purchase the product or services.              

Objection handling

Objection handling focuses on figuring out the concerns a client still has and finding out a solution. Concerns can be related to some unfulfilled need or with pricing. A good B2B salesperson uses negotiation skills to convert this into leads.    

Closing the sales

By this step, a B2B salesperson has addressed all the concerns of the clients. Only the official paperwork is left. It is very important for a salesperson not to hurry at this stage and if the client is still hesitant to make the purchase, provide them with additional meetings, B2B sales consulting, or a product demo.    

Follow up

In the B2B industry, the role of a salesperson does not end with sales. A salesperson or a dedicated customer success representative works with a client to ensure that the client is successful with the product. This determines a client’s experience with the brand and helps in customer retention and expansion.

What are the Common Tools Used in the B2B Sales Process?

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Various tools are used to devise the B2B sales strategy, execute the sales campaign, and track the results. A B2B firm needs a sales playbook, sales growth model, CRM software, and proprietary tools to manage the sales process.

Sales playbook

A B2B sales playbook is the guide that includes all the information related to the sales process. It specifies the standard operational procedures, key processes, the flow of communication, and roles and responsibilities of every individual involved in the sales process.

CRM software 

CRM software plays a vital role in any B2B organization sales process. CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM software provides a centralized platform for marketers and salespeople to report, manage, and analyze all the communication with people. It also allows a business to perform various operations such as marketing automation, sales automation, leads management, and analytics.    

Proprietary tools and framework

There are many proprietary tools and frameworks provided by the B2B sales consultants to inject speed, alignment, and accelerated growth into the DNA of a firm. A B2B business can use the proprietary processes, strategies, and frameworks to create a sales model that strikes the right balance between sales efficiency and effectiveness. The model takes a pragmatic approach to transform the sales processes, talent, and tools to deliver immediate and sustainable sales growth.

How can a professional B2B consultant help a business?  

A professional B2B consultant helps professional services firms devise their B2B sales strategy. The role of a B2B business consultant includes analyzing the business needs, recognizing the challenges, and helping B2B sales teams create the right winning strategies.

A B2B consultant helps a professional services firm find the right tools, sales playbook, and proprietary framework to run an effective sales campaign that accelerates growth.

If you are looking for a B2B consultant to inject speed, knowledge, and accelerated growth into B2B Financial Services, Technology, and Professional Service Firms, you can partner with Company Expert. We have designed a Growth Accelerator SystemTM (GAS) that systematically fuels growth to your B2B firm.