No matter how good your B2B sales strategy has been historically, or how carefully you outlined the strategy in the first place, there’s usually a point at which your company hits a plateau. You’ll find a limit to your sales, or you’ll start to lose momentum that you gained. Either way, you won’t be getting as many sales as you wanted—maybe not even as many as you need—and you’ll be hard-pressed to start looking for alternative strategies and approaches to achieve the goals you’ve set for your organization.
The process starts with identifying what’s currently wrong with your approach.
The Unique Challenges of B2B
B2B sales is arguably more challenging than B2C sales—it has a handful of unique obstacles that you’ll have to address in your strategy and analysis:
A longer sales cycle. It usually takes a longer time for B2B clients to close a deal. The impulse-driven sense of urgency that many B2C companies rely on can’t be replicated here. Instead, prospective leads need to be initiated, nurtured, and followed up with on a regular basis before they can be gradually worked to a close.
More complicated relationships.
A consumer buying a product is a relatively straightforward decision—that consumer simply has to decide if it’s worth the amount of money that product is being sold for. In a business exchange, legal departments, bosses, superiors, and financial departments may all throw wrinkles into the sales process.
More unforeseeable variables.
There are a number of T’s to cross and I’s to dot in the B2B world. There’s much more on the line, and far more variables that can influence the close of a deal. Accordingly, it’s harder to predict what went wrong during the process—it’s harder to isolate those variables and account for them with some new change.
Few B2B sales departments operate in a vacuum. Instead, they rely on other departments, especially marketing, to complement and enhance their efforts. For example, B2B marketing departments usually do the work of raising brand awareness and setting early expectations, passing over strong leads to the sales team for further exploration. If they miscommunicate, or send bad leads, the sales process can be disrupted before it even begins.
What Could Be Going Wrong
With those considerations in mind, these are the most common reasons why your B2B sales strategy could be failing entirely:
You aren’t offering the right product at the right price.
No matter how you try to dress up the rest of the sales process, this is the fundamental exchange that lies at the heart of any sales deal. You have to give your customers something they need or want at a price they evaluate to be equal to or less than the value of the offer. If you’re offering something that people just don’t want, or if you end up charging people more than they’re willing to pay, your sales team will be hard-pressed to close deals. The biggest problem here is that most people won’t give you direct feedback on how close you are to the mark.
You aren’t working with quality leads.
Because the B2B sales cycle is longer and more complicated, it doesn’t make sense for your sales team to handle leads that haven’t been pre-qualified in some way. The most common way to handle this is through a marketing funnel, which may pre-qualify leads who have converted online or met a certain threshold of interest. If this funnel is flawed—too wide or too narrow—your sales team won’t be able to work efficiently. Your sales team should be able to give you feedback here based on their experiences.
Your business agreements aren’t reasonable.
Occasionally, there are logistical hurdles that prevent business agencies from working with each other. For example, your contractual agreement may be too inflexible, or your terms of service may be too long. If you’re worried this might be the case, experiment with a new model of agreement and see if you end up closing more deals.
You haven’t built a replicable sales process.
This is a major kink in the system because it prevents you from being able to isolate and identify any potential variables that could be interfering with your ability to close. A consistent, repeatable sales process will make it easier for your sales team to write proposals, do so in the appropriate brand voice, offer things on (relatively) even footing with each other, and evaluate what went right or wrong in multiple independent scenarios.
You aren’t building or nurturing a lead pool.
Just because a lead didn’t close right away or didn’t convert right away doesn’t mean that lead is dead to you forever. You also don’t have to dispose of all the “soft leads” who aren’t ready to convert or aren’t as interested as your upper echelon of leads. You can pool them all together, market to them gradually, and start culling them based on interest in the future. Nurture your leads gradually through marketing and occasional touches, and eventually you can bring them to a close.
The Final Threshold of B2B Sales
The early stages of B2B sales are important, including identifying the right prospects, funneling leads to your sales team, and beginning the early conversations. But the final threshold for sales performance, the writing and delivery of a final proposal, is essential to closing the deal. You need to make sure your proposals are being written and presented consistently, with as much accuracy as possible, if you want your business to succeed in the long term.
If you need help to accomplish this, CPQ software is likely your best bet. At iQuoteXpress, our CPQ software gives your team all the tools and resources they need to get the job done efficiently and effectively. If you’re interested in seeing how our CPQ software can work for you, sign up for a free trial today!