7 Step B2B Sales Process – To Convert Prospects Into Customers

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B2B Sales Process
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The B2B sales process is a comprehensive list of the events that occur when a business sells or attempts to sell its product or service to another business. 

What is the importance of B2B sales in scaling a business?

A recent study showed that a well-planned sales cycle could increase a company’s growth rate by up to 15%. Here are a few reasons why B2B sales are essential for scaling a business:

Extends distribution:

With the power of e-commerce and e-procurement, products can now reach customers all over the world. 

Accelerates Sales Growth:

In a fair trade like B2B commerce, newcomers can compete with seasoned market players. By closing contracts and signing retainers, sales professionals can guarantee stable income for their business, irrespective of the number of alternatives in the market. 

Reduces costs

B2B sales target specific segments. Hence, it significantly increases the volume of products sold, and at the same time, minimizes the expenses. 

Develops a niche

Good B2B sales can influence client purchase behavior. Well-managed relationships can increase the value of the business and induce repeat purchases. 

Promotes Business Collaborations

B2B sales create an environment of collaboration between multiple businesses. Such opportunities can allow firms to piggyback their offerings on each other’s value and infrastructure. 

Inspires innovations

Increasing B2B sales encourage businesses to develop tools that improve transaction processes, customer experiences and facilitate technological integrations, procurements, etc. 

Benefits of developing a B2B sales process

A sales leader’s job demands personalization. They need to stretch their boundaries in everything they do, be it cold calls, client meetings, or public interactions. It is the flexibility that comes with the role. The mindset of a good salesperson resembles the mentality of a good researcher. A good salesperson uses insights from several sources to create a robust sales strategy. Hence, developing a B2B sales process is key in crafting a sturdy sales framework that allows ample freedom for a salesperson to improve and accelerate their sales strategies. The other benefits of the B2B sales process include:

  • It simplifies the sales approach for young startups and helps them cope with the latest business trends.
  • It helps mitigate possible missteps.
  • It helps businesses to predict future client behavior and navigate negotiations more accurately. 
  • A good B2B sales process helps sales representatives to spot flaws in their business strategies. 

Understanding Total Addressable Market (TAM) Before Selling

Before developing the B2B sales process, you must spend time understanding your target market. To do this, sales executives define their Total Addressable Market (TAM). 

Simply put, your TAM is the total revenue opportunity in the market available for your products or services. It highlights the potential of your business.

By calculating TAM, B2B sales representatives can:

  • Locate new business opportunities 
  • Review their total revenue potential 
  • Find investments
  • Plan sales outreach
  • Generate B2B leads
  • Set realistic goals

There are several methods to calculate TAM, but the most popular is the top-down approach.

To use this approach, first find out the total number of clients you are targeting in your market area. After that, add filters like gender and age to strain the results. 

For example, consider a real estate firm in Delaware. The sales representatives of the firm know that the city has a population of about one million. They also know that 12% of the population belongs to the income range that has the capability to purchase real estate. Hence, by calculating 12% of a million, they can find their average total market size, i.e., 120,000 clients. 

What are the 7 steps in the sales process?

Seven key sales stages for effective selling:

Step 1: Lead generation

Identifying and reaching out to qualified sales leads is known as lead generation. These are potential clients who have shown active interest in your offerings. With access to comprehensive B2B data, a good grasp of your TAM, and a resourceful lead generation system, this step should be quick and easy to execute.

Step 2: Discovery 

The best sales executives know the features and functions of their offerings very well. Not only that, but they also understand their lead’s business. If you do your homework by researching their challenges, pain points, and expectations, you will be able to sell your products or services to them effectively. This stage is known as discovery. 

Learning about your lead’s business and behavior also gives you the chance to optimize your work efficiency and hit more prospects with the same number of resources. Here are a few tips:

Engage with them on LinkedIn

Be up-to-date with their recent activities. Follow their comments, shared articles, known associates, writing features, and frequent collaborators. These insights will help you understand your lead’s nature. Understanding your lead will assist you in building a rapport with the company in your first interaction.

Check out their website 

Checking the company’s website is a very effective method to know the potential client better. Find out the answers to the following questions:

  1. What does their ‘About Us’ section say? 
  2. Have they made any important declaration? 
  3. Do they post blogs? 

Get answers to questions like these and scroll through their website to get insights on their company philosophy, ethics, major offerings, and tonality.

Be up to date with the latest industry news and trends

Learn about the trends and hot topics in their sector. Subscribe to industry-specific newsletters and follow business-related social media pages. Listen to the experts from their field. When you interact with the lead for the first time, you should sound like you know their field exceptionally well. 

Discovery is arguably the most time-consuming stage of the B2B sales process. If done well, it can significantly simplify the other steps.

Step 3: Sales Lead Qualification

Once the groundwork is done, you reach the stage where it is time to evaluate whether you should spend your time and resources on the lead. 

On your first call or interaction with the lead, ask them questions that can help you assess their suitability for your product or service.

6 examples of open-ended, problem-focused questions that you may ask:

  • Is there an issue you are trying to fix?
  • Have you had similar issues earlier?
  • Are you interested in finding a solution?
  • In how much time do you expect to fix this issue?
  • Do you have a budget to resolve this issue?
  • Who is overseeing this issue at your end?

This stage will be fruitful only if you have a well-indexed list of leads and prospects. 

Step 4: Sales Pitch

By this time, you should have an exhaustive understanding of the problem faced by your lead. If so, you will be able to deliver a personalized pitch that offers a solution to that issue. 

If the previous three stages tested the researching abilities of sales representatives, this stage requires them to become artists. Creativity is the main factor. Confidence, cadence, and charm take over details and statistics. You need to pitch your service to the lead and offer a solution to the client’s problem. 

The best sales pitches are short, to-the-point, and engaging. They touch relevant value points and showcase how well you understand your lead’s problems. Here are a few tips for designing a great sales pitch:

  • Start with the nature of business and the industry that your lead belongs to. Show them how well-versed you are with their field.
  • Inspire curiosity. Make an entertaining presentation that skips boring details and leaves room for the lead to think and ask questions.
  • To keep your lead’s attention, only focus on the relevant features and demonstrate how your offering is tailored to solve their problem. Make sure you draw their attention to some results that they can expect, along with an attractive timeline. 

Personalization of Sales Outreach

Creating the perfect pitch is a daunting task. However, with the help of personalized video distribution platforms like Hippo Video, you can easily create and distribute customized videos to your prospects across multiple channels. Hippo Video helps businesses to meet their marketing goals by allowing them to: 

  • Go beyond the basic text email templates and create stand-out sales pages. Businesses can add video messages, meeting links, and a collection of personalized elements. 
  • Close sales quickly by creating video testimonials, product or service demonstrations, and post-sale documents. 
  • Make a single sales page that is accessible to and customized for each sales team member. 
  • Use performance reports to improve results. Companies can track statistics like page views, document views, video viewership, etc. 
  • Understand the demands of the prospects better by analyzing their comments.

Step 5: Handling sales objection

A lead will rarely agree to purchase your offering after the first pitch. The decision-making process, especially for a B2B purchase, is full of scrutiny. They will demand time to think and will have a lot of queries and doubts. When it comes to handling their objections, you must remember that an outright disagreement with the lead never ends well. At all times, they must feel confident that their problems are being genuinely heard. If you think that there is some confusion in their understanding regarding your offering, reposition your pitch to fit their requirement better. Acknowledge their objections, and propose realistic solutions. 

Step 6: Closing the sale

By this stage, you have showcased a deep understanding of your lead’s problems, introduced a solution for them, and addressed their queries. Now, you must discuss the price and prove that your offering is a sound investment. You may offer additional incentives, discounts, or value-added services to sweeten the deal. 

You must clarify the legal compliances and technical requirements to the client. Take extra measures at this stage so that there are no unpleasant surprises in the process at the last minute. 

Step 7: Following up

After the pitch and just before the signing, ensure that you maintain a strong connection with the prospect. Send reminder emails and make sure you leave a good impression. 

Maintain professionalism and gently guide the client after the purchase. Summarise the entire process, and share essential details with the client. Maintain a positive tone in every conversation.

If the deal goes through successfully and the lead officially becomes your client, make sure you contact them after a while, just as a gesture of goodwill. This is also a good time to collect feedback and, if they are satisfied, ask for referrals and testimonials. This will be a fantastic way to generate a new lead. 

Frequently asked questions 

1. How important is lead generation for sales and marketing?

Lead generation is an essential aspect of both sales and marketing. Most leads are generated through marketing channels. Their purpose is to drive sales and help businesses grow. 

2. Which is the most challenging stage in the entire sales process?

According to a survey, 36% of the salespeople agree that closing the sale is the most challenging stage. 

3. Should I use personalized sales pages as a sales tool for my prospects?

Using personalized sale pages can help you craft personalized messages for your leads. By sending video messages, meeting links, video testimonials, and product demos, you can communicate with your leads in a more immersive and engaging way. 

Conclusion

To become proficient in the art of selling, learning about the seven stages of the B2B sales process is a must. It is the ideal framework for your sales strategy and, if executed well, it can drastically improve your sales performance. 

However, knowing the rules is not enough. To improve your sales performance, you must know how to implement the B2B sales process in every aspect of your sales journey. You must modify some elements according to your requirements. Use valuable insights to form great relationships with your prospects. All these factors will help you accelerate the growth of your business. 

Ayush Singh writes on tech, marketing, and SAAS, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense.

Having worked in SAAS marketing for enterprises and startups for more than 9 years, Ayush enjoys exchanging ideas and lessons learned with other practitioners.

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