Table of Contents
- 10 Common mistakes made by B2B salespeople
- Poor understanding of the digital behavior of B2B customers
- Lack of a Clear Value Proposition
- Not having a clear understanding of the B2B Sales Cycle
- Poor pricing communication
- Pushing the client
- Selling to the wrong buyers
- Not having an online selling or eCommerce strategy
- Not having an account marketing plan
- Lack of structured training program
- Only selling and no relationship building
Before we uncover the ten deadly sales mistakes in B2B Sales, let us try to understand why B2B sales models differ from the traditional B2C models.
B2C models have a shorter sales cycle in which customers progress from one stage to another in quick succession. This makes it easier to offer customized solutions at every stage of their journey.
But, the B2B sales journey is more complicated. It is layered and there are several decision-makers involved in the whole process.
10 Common mistakes made by B2B salespeople
Most B2B purchases are big-ticket affairs. Every proposal is scrutinized by different departments and stakeholders.
Say, if you are investing in a B2B eCommerce platform, your
- IT team would want to be sure of the features and security it provides.
- The finance team would want to know about sunk cost and ROI (Return on Investment).
- The sales team would want an engine to reach out to customers faster and generate quick sales.
Before selling B2B products, keep these points in mind and craft a proposal that answers the complexities of the B2B sales cycle.
Poor understanding of the digital behavior of B2B customers
95% of business buyers search the web before contacting any vendor.
But most salespeople still follow the offline route to reach their prospects. They stress over sales meetings, telecalls, and printed literature in the sales process.
The trick lies in engaging with customers using the digital medium. This involves creating succinct emailers, focused white papers, and other digital assets for different stages in the marketing funnel.
Lack of a Clear Value Proposition
What is a value proposition? It is a clear statement of what your customers will receive from your product.
In the B2B space, Salesforce has a crystal clear value proposition — “Sell smarter with the world’s #1 CRM solution”. It has a clear focus on increasing sales and #1 reinforces its leadership status.
You should also create a strong but simple value proposition for your brand and bring out the unique features of your product. You have to change the vantage point and look at your product from a “value-added” angle. This may be a tough task to start with, but with rigorous internal brainstorming, you can communicate the unique value of your products.
Not having a clear understanding of the B2B Sales Cycle
Did you know that it takes around 18+ attempts to connect with a buyer?
B2B buyer’s journey is complicated and goes through different phases. It is like a baton exchange where every person passes the baton to the senior, only after he or she is fully satisfied with the product features.
You cannot expect closure after a demo and a couple of meetings. It is important to ensure that the information at every stage is customized and that detailed information is readily available as the sales process progresses.
Poor pricing communication
Contrary to popular belief, B2B decision-makers are also quite price-sensitive. They have stringent measures and are accountable for every penny spent. But they can’t wait for seasonal discounts.
They need structured pricing with relevant discounts for bulk buying and laid down policies about recurring license fees and subscription fees.
A good approach is to have different price points for different customer segments. For price-sensitive customers, salespeople can offer low-frill products.
Everlane — an eCommerce clothing company, charges customers more than the actual cost of manufacturing. But they communicate their stringent process for choosing their factories and share the upfront costs with their customers.
Pushing the client
The B2B sales cycle is long, and it takes time to arrive at a decision. Inexperienced salespeople often send out follow-up communication, which is irritating for prospects.
Source: The New B2B Buyer Experience
A salesperson needs to understand the long winding B2B decision cycle and give customers enough time to arrive at the right decision. You can try to reduce this cycle by providing appropriate information in the form of blog articles, competition analysis or product specs, but you will always have very little control over this.
Selling to the wrong buyers
According to Marc Wayshak, at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell.
B2B salespeople should be capable of identifying the decision-makers in the company. There is no point in chasing paper-pushers or people who don’t have the authority to give a go-ahead. Before starting a pursuit, sales professionals should have a clear navigational map of the company with information on the influencers and decision-makers. For this, they can turn to their internal Business Intelligence Unit for insights.
Not having an online selling or eCommerce strategy
Most decision-makers don’t respond to cold outreach initially.
89% of B2B buyers use the internet during the research phase of the buying process. – Google
This means, if you are not online, then you are losing business! In the present age, digital selling should be the centerpiece of your B2B sales strategy.
Most B2B customers now prefer digital assets like an eCommerce store, mobile apps, whitepapers, videos, infographics, e-catalogs, and business reports. You have to focus on creating the right message, at the right time and on the right digital channel.
B2B eCommerce platforms like Magento, ewiz commerce, and Handshake help sales and marketing teams to create eCommerce stores, customized email campaigns and even use AI to understand the precise intent of their customers.
Not having an account marketing plan
87% of account-based marketers say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a microfocus-based approach in the B2B space. In this, the sales team works closely with the marketing team to identify key accounts with genuine needs and also the budget to match. The plan is then tailored as per the customer.
Lack of structured training program
Salespeople are expected to hit the ground running from Day 1. This is unrealistic, especially in B2B sales. B2B products come with technical specifications.
Every component of the product is aimed at solving a particular problem of the client. Clients want salespeople to come straight to the point and they appreciate a no-nonsense pitch. To achieve this, sales professionals require extensive training and experience.
If you don’t have a structured training program, not only do you lose valuable business, but it also creates a negative impression.
Only selling and no relationship building
This is old school, but still relevant. Building a rapport with your customers applies to all walks of life, and B2B is no different.
68% of B2B customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes.
Sales professionals should nurture their relationships with their customers and build trust with them. They should be clear about the customer’s business and be aware of the communication tone they prefer.
So, these were the top 10 deadly B2B sales mistakes. Hope this was helpful.