30 B2B sales techniques that work
Effective selling in a B2B context often requires more research and planning than traditional B2C selling. The sales cycle is longer and you often interact with multiple stakeholders at the prospect company. But, it can also be more rewarding—particularly when you close a huge deal that took 12 months to bring to fruition. Understanding the most effective B2B sales techniques will help you become more effective at building trust with prospects and closing deals.
Check out our top 30 B2B sales tips and tricks.
Know the company before you reach out:
Do your research and understand everything you can about your prospect prior to that initial outreach. Pay particular attention to challenges and potential pain points the prospect may have so that you can position your product or service as a solution to those challenges.
Subscribe to your prospects’ newsletters or marketing campaigns:
This will help you understand how they operate and sell their own product or service so that you can tailor your conversation with them to be relevant to their context or use case.
Read your prospects’ blog:
You’ll be able to better understand what the company values, and how it thinks and operates as a whole. Take note if C-level executives (i.e. the ultimate decision makers) are drafting blog posts, as this will provide you with insight into what’s important to them.
Don’t stop cold calling, just do it intelligently:
When you conduct deep research into a prospect before making a call, you’ll ensure that you bring relevant and helpful information to the conversation. If you know their challenges before they share them with you, you’ll be able to present solutions to them off the top of your head, right in the moment.
Collaborate with prospects through the buying process:
Allow the flow of information to be two-way. Listen to what they have to say so you can work together to help them find the solution that best meets their needs. You’ll not only increase conversions but also gain valuable anecdotal insight that you’ll continue to build upon and use throughout your career in sales.
Don’t communicate with prospects through generic email blasts:
That’s the job of marketing. Instead, write personal emails to your prospects. It takes more time but the personal approach will pay off dividends in the long run.
As they say: diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way. Get them to tell you your own idea, while thinking it’s theirs. Always look for common ground. Be empathetic. It’s not about what you say, but how you say it.
Address difficult questions up front:
If there are sensitive issues that could potentially derail the sale down the line, it’s better to ask those when you first begin a dialogue. It’s much better to scrap a deal in the early stages than to invest loads of time into moving a deal along, only to find out later that the answers to those difficult questions killed the deal.
Share customer success stories:
Get referrals from clients that you supported through to success and share them with prospects. People will always be more likely to believe great things about you if they come from someone else.
Share case studies:
Good case studies help a prospect visualize a real-world application of your product or service. It lets them see how your solution solved a real problem for a real company or organization. This helps prospects think about how they would apply your solution to their own challenges.
Don’t be nearsighted:
Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. The temptation to close a sale as quickly as possible is strong, but that’s not a sustainable game plan. Recurring revenue is important to B2Bs, so focus on closing a sale with a happy customer, rather than rushing through the deal and closing it as quickly as possible, only to find them cancelling after a few months.
Become a product expert:
Know your product inside and out. Be able to demo it like a pro, and adapt your demo to fit the exact use case of your prospect. This will generate significant credibility for you, which will help you close deals effectively and grow your reputation through word of mouth.
Focus less on price and more on ROI:
Move the focus of your prospect conversations away from the price point. Instead, lead with the benefits they will receive from your product or service. How much time and resources will it save them? Convince them they can’t live without it and price will be a non-issue. This is among the most effective B2B selling strategies that you could adopt.
Create ideal customer profiles (ICPs):
Define everything about your ideal (hypothetical) customer, from demography to personality types and they type of language they use. Use this to guide you in targeting leads who are the best fit for your product. This will maximize the results of your outreach as you won’t waste time on dead-end leads.
Sell solutions rather than products:
Help your prospect clearly see that they have a need, pain-point or challenge that needs to be solved. Next, present them with your solution to their problem by explaining how your product or service will fulfil their need. Products can be abstract. Solutions, if positioned properly, resonate with prospects by letting them envision how it would help them in their actual, real-world context.
Write articles and publish them on social media:
Show prospects that you’re a thought leader by sharing insights that help them in their day-to-day. If you haven’t done so before, start out with an article about the five best practices of X, Y or Z (this can be on anything relevant). Nothing is going to build your credibility quite like establishing yourself as someone the market looks to for education and insights. (Note: avoid writing articles about your product—that will not produce the same outcome.)
Join relevant LinkedIn groups and actively participate:
You don’t want to be pitching your product to the group, but rather providing helpful and relevant insights that are beneficial to the members of that group. If you’re seen as an active member of the community, you’ll further establish credibility that will help you build trust among prospects.
Monitor prospects on social media:
This will let you see what they are talking about and give you a window into their thought process. If you know how they are thinking, you can touch on the right points when you finally do reach out and have a conversation.
Reply to prospects’ comments, answer questions, and like their social media posts:
It’s a great way to illustrate that you’re knowledgeable about the subject matter and that you are genuinely invested and participating in the community.
Be timely in your responses to customer issues or concerns:
Even if you have to acknowledge an error of your own of your company’s, it’s much better to be available and respond than to appear unengaged. Otherwise, you won’t be seen as authentic. And although it’s with customers, not prospects, rest assured that prospects are watching.
Follow your competitors on social media:
It’s incredibly helpful and advantageous to understand common issues that your competitors’ customers are facing and to see how they are being handled. This will provide actionable insight that will help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool:
This should be table stakes at this point in the game, but you’d be surprised by how many companies still have not adopted a CRM to manage sales. A powerful CRM streamlines your management of prospects, outreach, deals pending, sales meetings, and essentially the entire sales cycle, from start to finish—leaving you more time to focus on one-on-one interactions with prospects and customers.
Leverage marketing automation:
Again, this should be par for the course. A great marketing automation solution provides you quick insight into every interaction your prospects have had with your marketing efforts—such as emails opened, emails clicked, websites visited, content consumed, and more. Imagine how effective you’ll be if you have so much insight into the prospect’s interests.
Related Blog: Top 5 Reasons to Combine Sales and Marketing Automation
Sit down with marketing… often:
Try to meet with your marketing team at least once a month, if not more. Ask to help them analyze the sales funnel, lead scoring, lead qualification criteria, etc. Close alignment between marketing and sales helps ensure that marketing’s efforts are effectively supporting your sales objectives. This one is particularly important—consider it your B2B sales tip of the week.
Talk to everyone, not just the decision makers:
You may have heard that you should bypass influencers and skip straight to the decision makers. In fact, that’s not the case. If you transform power users and other internal influencers into advocates of your solution, you’ll find it much easier to get an audience with the C-level decision maker.
Plan to have important meetings in person:
Tell them that you’d love to stop by for a face-to-face visit and discuss how your solution can solve their challenges. Illustrating to them that you’ll be invested in their success by actually showing up in person will go a long way towards building mutual trust.
Use confident body language:
When you arrive for an onsite meeting, shake peoples’ hands. Be sure to look them in the eye. And practice power poses (learn more about power poses here). This helps you appear more confident and knowledgeable, which will ease prospects’ concerns and make them more confident in your ability to solve their problems.
Uses live chat software to communicate with leads on your website:
There are many options these days for live chat solutions. Prospects are more likely to open up and engage with you in this way than if you were to cold call them.
Put a calendar link in your email signature:
Use an appointment scheduling solution that gives prospects the freedom to schedule meetings with you at their convenience. Then include the link to your interactive calendar in your email signature. If you pressure someone on the phone for a meeting, they are likely to hang up. If, on the other hand, you put the ball in their court and give them time to think and check their schedules, they are more likely to come back and book a time to meet with you.
Follow up with old leads:
The B2B sales cycle takes much longer than B2C. It’s common that a lead you speak to today won’t be ready to make a buy decision until next year. Don’t toss cold leads out the window in frustration. Rather, hang onto them and circle back periodically to check in and see how their situation has evolved since you last spoke.
Max Salesabout 5 years ago
Here's a golden tip: Calling It A Quote or A Proposal? Some of the salespeople I have worked with say that the content of their quote is the same as a proposal. Great, well done, now just call it a proposal! Calling it a quote encourages the client to think it is all about the price.Reply
Gabriel Swainabout 5 years ago
Nice comment, thanks!Reply
Adam Mcgrathabout 5 years ago
These techniques definitely help and boost the b2b sales . Worth sahring information. Thank you!Reply
Mahfooz Abdul Azeezabout 5 years ago
Great piece of advise. I am sure many people may have already started using your techniques. Cheers, Mahfooz AzeezReply
poliabout 5 years ago
Thank you for this - it gives me some great new ideas as well as validates some person/old notions feelings I was having a hard time putting into proper words -which hopefully should help with me new job/boss :)Reply
Gabriel Swainabout 5 years ago
Awesome, Poli! So glad this article helped. I hope you know it out of the park at your new job :-)Reply
Be Promotiveabout 4 years ago
Great list. Helped us improve our sales strategies too!Reply
Gabriel Swainabout 4 years ago
Awesome! We always love to hear that our content is helping our readers improve processes. Thanks so much for the comment and good luck!Reply
Gnabout 4 years ago
A very good listReply
Gabriel Swainabout 4 years ago
Thank you so much for commenting. So glad this was helpful. Cheers!Reply
Glen Morrisabout 4 years ago
Very professional article. Clearly understandable and quality content. I hope this blog will help me out to grow my business. Great thanks to you. Please keep sharing, this blog will helpful for beginners also.Reply
Gabriel Swainabout 4 years ago
Thanks so much for your encouraging comment! I love to hear feedback like this. Keep reading, especially our new articles. They will help keep you on the cutting edge of emerging trends and grow your business like the Fortune 500!! Cheers!Reply
Shirley J Wuabout 3 years ago
I think they're all great tips. I can tell from experience that the first one is always true. You must get in touch with the decision maker to actually close the sale. Please share some tips on how to go about getting in touch with the decision maker on top.Reply