As a startup in the B2B sector it’s no secret that to scale your business you first need to sell, and sell well. While sales on a good day is a bumpy ride, selling during a pandemic can feel like the battle of David and Goliath.
Stepping up by tightening up the sales cycle is just one of the recommendations that came out of our Q&A session with Manuel Hartmann about the B2B sales process. In the episode Manuel of SalesPlaybook talks about being effective in your sales with limited resources by being clear in your message, building trust and always executing value in both. We’ve sketched out a blueprint for your journey through B2B in the following steps:
Connect the Dots
What is Your Version of Value?
Get Sh*t Done
Connecting relies on research to determine the right buyer persona or target client and narrowing your focus. Choosing a niche industry, particularly in early stages, can help you understand the market and validate your product. Being niche, sometimes associated with negative, in the case of early stages can help you be repeatable, valuable and accelerate. Diversifying and scaling is something you can worry about later.
To Qualify, Quantify and Specify the attractiveness of the target market:
Roll up your sleeves because good preparation means doing the dirty work and qualifying your sales leads. There are a lot of framework options for there, such as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) but much of the startup savvy will come simply from doing and learning what is “must-have” and “no-go”.
Both email and a call work for your prep work, and you can even fire off a qualification and discovery quiz before picking up the phone to help you narrow down the process. As with everything there are many solutions out on the market like automated lead scoring, but at the end of the day, nothing is as effective as getting to know your market by dialogue with real customers and understanding real problems.
Value is a hella hot topic. It’s at the root of everything we do, every transaction we make and every relationship we have. Although we are hungry for value at every moment of the day, what does value look like in action for the sales process? One example of making your value more tangible can be providing high-value content offers such as whitepapers, blogs, testimonials or really anything that is helpful for customers to better understand and evaluate you.
Additionally, there’s something to be said from value in not taking away from it. Meaning, being fully conscious of that fine line between staying connected and turning into an annoyance to your customers. In this regard, setting rigid dates to ensure a mutually beneficial path towards collaboration is key. Before you send off that email, which lets be honest, is way too convenient, ask yourself what value you’re bringing to the interaction and only engage when the content is going to result in some kind of effect or outcome for the person on the other end of it.
Generally, between one to three follow-ups should get you where you need to be to close a deal.
In addition to hearing out the customers needs, when it comes to closing the sale, prioritizing the buyers involvement in the process will help you seal it. Creating a level playfield of understanding and aligning values will commit the buyer in ways the product alone can’t.
The exact model for executing your sale will depend on your deal size and will answer whether or not you can keep it online, on the phone or if you require collaboration meetings or requests for proposals (RFPs) (although this strategy has sometimes been criticized for not being truly collaborative and might get in the way of prioritizing your value execution).
That said, regardless of your model some valuable KPIs to track in real-time or at least on a bi-weekly basis include:
In addition to reminding you to stay on track, here are some of our favourite sales tools to help streamline the process: