20 most effective B2B sales techniques and how to use them successfully

13 June 2022

It’s easy to think that all sales techniques are created equal but that’s not true. The best sales techniques for B2C won’t necessarily be the best ones for B2B. So, if you are a sales manager looking for new techniques to teach your team, or if you are a sales consultant looking to improve your opportunities and conversions, then this article is for you. This article will cover everything you need from utilising a CRM, curating a sale from beginning to end, and how to build your brand image to increase repeat business.

1. Make the most of your CRM

The most basic technique is to utilise your CRM to its full potential. Now, while it’s common practice for many companies there are still some that don’t have a CRM. If you aren’t already using a CRM to manage opportunities and sales, then this is your sign to tell you to get one!

By using a CRM, you can make your sales process more efficient. You have all your suppliers, clients, and contacts at the tips of your fingers in an easy to search and organise to your needs at the time. This could be for marketing purposes, following up on potential deals, or managing ongoing opportunities. This gives your team more time to focus on building relationships and closing sales with prospective clients, rather than sifting through emails.

2. Contact the right people

Okay, so you have your CRM and it’s filled with contacts and potential clients. You can’t just email everyone in your CRM though and hope something sticks. You need your team to be strategic with who they are contacting. Hubspot states 40% of sales agents find getting a response from prospects is much harder now than 3 years ago. So identify what positions in a company would be able to give the go ahead with your services and contact them directly to increase success. If you work in recruitment, you’ll need to be speaking to HR or personnel managers. If you are a services business, you’ll probably need to be contacting senior managers and executives.

So, when it comes time to contact potential clients, think hard about whether your team is reaching out to the people who could act on your call to action. Otherwise, you are wasting their time and your own.

3. Use cold/warm calling smartly

Sales Insight Lab says 41.2% of sales reps say that their phone is the most effective tool for performing their jobs. You know who to contact and what you want to propose to them. Now it’s time to reach out. It’s easy to write up a blanket email and hit send on mass, but this is exactly how your email can wind up in the spam folder or even worse blocked.

There are a few tips to ensure your team gets the maximum impact with either their calls or emails. The first is to make it personal, make sure you know who you are contacting and make the content relevant to the individual. There is no point trying to sell a service or product to someone who has no need for it. So, do some research before you reach out.

4. Get familiar with your client

This links into the last point but it’s worth expanding on. Do your research. What are your client’s business goals and priorities? If they pride themselves on being a carbon neutral company, you’ll need to make sure that is part of your pitch. Has the contact you are talking to recently had a promotion? Congratulate them on it. There are lots of ways you can tailor what your team says to make it more personable and increase their chances of success, because people are more receptive to someone who knows what they are talking about. So, spend some time reading their latest blogs, follow them on social media, and keep up to date with their news.

5. Use TED questions to find out customer needs

It’s important to understand what your customers’ needs are, and while it’s easy enough to just ask them you’ll probably get a very barebone answer that doesn’t yield any new insights. Instead, advise your team to utilise TED questions to get a better understanding of your client’s needs.

• Tell me more about what you need?
• Explain what you’re looking to achieve from this?
• Describe what you want from this project?

By using Tell/Explain/Describe they are encouraging the client to give a more detailed answer that will give you more information to use during your sale.

6. Work to your customers’ needs

You’ve got them into a conversation, they are clearly interested, it’s time for the pitch. It’s easy to give your team a rigid sales script, but this can result in putting your client off. It’s a better idea to let the conversation flow, use TED questions, and advise them to adapt their approach to the information they get from your potential client. The main part of this is being an active listener, and taking on board the clients wants and concerns, and responding to them. 46% of buyers agreed that active listening is the number one skill they expect from sales professionals according to LinkedIn. Your client will be much more accepting if they feel you want to work with them, rather than trying to make them fit into a pre-set plan.

7. Objection handling

Now, your client won’t necessarily accept the proposal first time. They might have objections or concerns that your team needs to be able to overcome. The best way to do this is to be familiar with what issues or objections someone might have to your proposal and be prepared with a response. It might be worth looking into what the most common objections are and brainstorming with the team ways to overcome them. It isn’t possible to satisfy every request but making sure to do so where you can, and it will improve the chances of converting the sale.

8. Focus on benefits not price

There is no denying the importance of price when making a sale, everyone has a budget, but it isn’t what you should focus on (or let the client focus on either)! It’s more important to highlight the value your product or service will bring to the client, because the ROI is what will make your sale - not the price tag. Hubspot found you can make prospecting calls 96% more successful by focusing on the value you can deliver them. You are selling a solution to their problem, or an investment, and that is what should be in the forefront during all discussions – how is this benefitting the client.

9. Ensure your team is filled with product experts

Nothing will put a potential client off like a sales consultant fumbling over themselves or not being able to answer their questions. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your team are experts in their field. If the client has a question, they should be able to answer confidently. If the client throws a curveball and they’re not sure of the answer they need to not make excuses, instead politely explain they will try and find out for them as soon as possible. Clients are much more likely to trust someone who knows what they are talking about or are willing to go find out the answer.

10. Use a direct close

Your team has handled all their objections and given them the perfect solution to meet their needs, now what? Too many sales consultants will let an offer hang in the air and wait for the client to say yes or no but this weakens the close and puts it heavily on the customer to suggest going ahead. Instead, it’s key to utilise a direct close like ‘should we go ahead with this?’ to prompt the client to answer then and there.

11. Write a personalised thank you note

Your consultant made the sale and followed through on the deal, but it doesn’t stop there. If you want to create loyal customers, and ideally brand advocates, you need to reinforce the idea of thanking clients for their custom. This can be done through a variety of methods, from an email to a phone call, or even a letter. The key is to make it personalised as this will improve how it is received by the client. Inconnection also offers MemMail, our corporate sending service, which is branded to your company with a handwritten note, making it perfect for thanking clients.

12. Think about the future

It’s vital to not just forget about your client because the majority of profit comes from recurring business. McKinsey & Company said over 50% of successful sales teams have a 12-month view of their plans. So, get client details into your CRM and make sure to keep in contact. There is even room to suggest renewals, depending on the product or service you provided for the client. In addition, if you bring a new product or service out, consider who in your CRM might appreciate hearing about it and reach out to them directly.

13. Touch base with clients regularly

You now have started curating a client base through the actions discussed above. It’s important to keep in contact with these clients. This can be done through a variety of different methods, both directly and indirectly. For indirect options you can use social media to follow their updates and share your own, or you can use newsletters to share your latest content. Direct would be to make use of calls or emails to keep in touch about new products or campaigns. This can be a great idea as 56% of consumers prefer to buy from companies that consistently release new products and services based on their needs and new technology according to Salesforce.

14. Try personalised content – emails, calls, etc

When it comes to contacting your previous clients, you don’t want to send out a generic email. You’ve already built up a repertoire with them and you need to use this to your advantage. In fact, Campaign Monitor says personalizing emails can increase open rates by 26%. So, use any information about their buying habits or preferences to create more tailored content that will be received better by your client. So, make sure to add that personal touch no matter what contact method you are using for marketing and sales activities. Find out more about using personalisation to improve lead generation in your sales and marketing strategy.

15. Follow up on potential opportunities

It’s important that no matter how small it seems, if an opportunity arises your team makes the most of it. This could be a comment on a social media post showing interest in your product or service, a connection on LinkedIn, or something else. Potential clients can be apprehensive to contact you, which is why you should pre-empt them. In fact, Rain Group found 71% of consumers expect to hear from sales reps early in the buying process. This will give you a larger potential client base and increase your conversion rate.

16. Keep up to date with competitors

Your competitors are an invaluable resource. You can learn from their successes and their mistakes to ensure that your business runs as smoothly as possible. Check for negative reviews and make sure to take on board their clients’ complaints and streamline your service to eliminate those issues. You could even pick up a loyal client or two this way if you showcase how well your company performs compared to your competitor. Also look for their success and be vigilant of what performs best on their social media as it’s likely to also be good content for your platforms as well.

17. Be active on social media

Speaking of social media, it’s crucial to keep active on social media. It’s easy for it to fall to the wayside if you don’t have a dedicated social media team but businesses of every size need to ensure they keep on top of their social media presence. LinkedIn found 78% of sellers who use social media outsell other sellers who do not. This is because many potential clients will scope out a prospective purchase before they consider reaching out, and if your social media and website aren’t up to scratch clients won’t trust your business and will look for alternatives. So, ensure your feed is updated regularly with quality content to appeal to potential clients and customers.

18. Share customer content

A great way to fill your social feed with content that looks great is to share customer content. This could be reviews, pictures taken by clients, or any other material produced by customers. People love seeing others enjoying a product or service and it increases the advocacy for your brand. The other great thing about customer content is that the hard work has already been done, all that is left is to add some basic copy thanking the customer for their support.

19. Share Case Studies

This is a more intensive version of customer content and only applicable for certain business models. However, if yours is one of them, it’s imperative you put the work into creating case studies. Case studies help potential clients see how your services can fix their problems. It lets customers understand the scope of your product or service and inspires them as they could be benefiting as well. So, while they do take more time and effort to put together, they are well worth it.

20. Follow the market and news

You have a business model and it’s working, but you can’t rely on that forever. There can be sudden changes in the market and the wider world which can have devastating effects on your business if you’re not ready for them. LinkedIn reports 70% of US sales managers stated that managers’ capability to adapt to change is more important now compared to five years ago. This shows it’s key to keep up to date with potential changes in the market you’re working in so you can adapt before it has a negative impact on profits.

Not all of these will be relevant to every business or every sales consultant, but they can be used as a cheat sheet by picking the most valuable ones to you and your company. If you are looking for ways to invigorate your sales team, Inconnection can help with blitz days, spiff days, or larger events with key speakers to motivate your consultants. Speak to us now and we can add value to your sales efforts to improve advocacy and productivity.