4 Key B2B Sales Tips for Manufacturers and Suppliers

By
Caroline Goan
July 12, 2016

Going into 2016, the B2B sales landscape is continuing to evolve. Digital sales technology, for example, is attracting significant investment. Similar studies also suggest that 56% of buyers are now taking longer to complete the sales cycle due to the fact that they are conducting their own research. With an array of new factors to consider, we’ve chosen four key B2B sales tips for you to consider in the context of your own company’s sales processes. A key trend is the merging of traditional sales roles and processes with new technologies. The demand for personalization, the use of multiple devices, and the growing prevalence of data and analytics are all influencing how reps and salespeople achieve their aims. Before diving in, it’s worthwhile to distinguish between two terms that are often conflated: “marketing” and “sales.” Though there is a degree of overlap between the two, for the purposes of this post, we understand “marketing” to refer to the strategies that are responsible for publicizing a company and its products to new prospects. The term “sales”, on the other hand, refers to the processes by which prospective customers are converted into customers and repeat customers.

B2B Sales Tips for Manufacturers & Suppliers

1. Customer-centricity and personalization is key.

“Customer-centricity” is one of the big buzzwords of 2016. It refers to an approach to sales that is geared around the individual as opposed to a standard customer experience that is the same for everybody. Think personalized order histories and recommendations, tailored promotions, and customizable sales interfaces, along with the use of data to feed back directly into an understanding of customer desires. It’s important that you build personalization into your customer-facing sales journey. In particular, modern marketing software allows for a high degree of segmentation, which is applicable to those suppliers that still rely in large part on email marketing campaigns aimed at their established customers. As integration across company software becomes the norm, the data available to achieve a high degree of customer-centricity will grow more readily available.

2. Take advantage of multi-device preferences.

The myriad of opportunities that comes with the widespread use of portable devices like mobile phones and tablets has been written about extensively on this blog. Buyer habits and preferences are highly dependent on the type of eCommerce platform that is being used at a given time. Mobile sales, for example, are much more likely to be the result of a decision made on the shop floor when compared to desktop sales. Similarly, other mobile-specific features, like push notifications and barcode scanning, open up new opportunities for B2B suppliers to reach their customers at points when they were previously inaccessible. The first step for B2B sellers is to make sure that omnichannel capabilities are actually offered.

3. Use data to seal up “sales funnels.”

It’s important that you build feedback mechanisms, in the form of questionnaires, product reviews and customer satisfaction ratings, into your sales cycles. When you consider the statistic that 7 in 10 B2B customers have never been asked for their opinions regarding a sales experience, it’s easy to see that B2B sellers are missing a huge opportunity. Any good “sales funnel,” which comprises the journey across numerous touch points from initial lead to loyal customer, needs to be flexible and subject to continuous testing and improvement. The sheer range of variables that can be measured makes it possible to take an agile approach to designing buyer journeys––one that changes with the inflow of data.

4. Build trust in the long-term.

Just as it’s important to have well-developed processes for pitching new clients, it’s equally key that reps are involved in maintaining relationships with existing buyers. Loyalty incentives, such as VIP promotions and rewards, are important, and it’s the responsibility of reps to make sure that as much as possible is done to offer the maximum amount of value to repeat buyers. To bring things back to our first two points about personalization and multi-device capabilities, it’s important to be able to offer customer-specific pricing, discounts, and promotions across all touch points, whether your customers are placing orders on the web from a desktop computer, from a mobile device, or with a sales rep. What are your thoughts about our B2B sales tips? Let us know in the comments section below!