Closing B2B sales is no longer as straightforward as it was some years back. Salespeople wanting to continue closing deals today must understand modern B2B deals dynamics being influenced by the internet and the buyers' easy access to information.
However, that does not mean you cannot close more deals to reach your sales quotas. Read on for a non-aggressive guide to closing B2B deals. But before then, let's briefly analyze the modern-day buyer. Find out the factors that have caused a shift in modern B2B sales dynamics.
What Has Changed?
The Sales Cycle
Statistics show that only 29% of buyers rely on a vendor for product information. The rest prefer searching the internet for products and brands they are interested in before reaching out to a vendor. As a result, 57% of buyer decisions are made before a buyer contacts a supplier.
The modern B2B sales cycle is more complex and may take longer than it formerly did. Previously, a buyer would reach out to a vendor who would present the possible options, pitch a sale, and, if the buyer likes the product, close the deal in an easy, predictable, and short sales cycle.
However, today, the cycle may have multiple steps as listed below:
- A buyer identifies a problem
- They conduct independent research on the internet on the problem
- Research possible solutions
- They seek recommendations from peers and social media platforms on the identified solutions
- They look for online reviews on the solutions
- Lookup adverts on the possible solutions
- They reach out to a vendor based on the information they have gathered
- The vendor helps them complete the sale
This tells you that businesses are relying more on internal research, walking about 60-70% of their buying journey without involving the vendor or salesperson. This has significantly altered the role of the salesperson, leaving them with the responsibility of assisting the buyer to evaluate the potential solution and make the purchase.
Businesses have put younger professionals aged between 18 and 35 years in charge of their buying decisions. These younger professionals are more open to using digital technologies in the buying decision-making process. With 94% reporting that they research on the internet before picking a brand or product.
In their product research, these buyers are increasingly turning to online content for information on products and brands. This gives an advantage to companies with an online presence, particularly those that share industry-related content consistently.
Buyer Value Sales and Marketing Messages Less
Modern-day buyers are not keen on listening to a salesperson or reading a sales and marketing message. According to them, salespeople are more focused on closing a deal while the buyer is after solutions. As a result, about 57% of buyers turn to online platforms for potential solutions and circumvent the perceived pressure and hassle that salespeople exert on them in a sales process.
The Sales Process Involves More People
Peer recommendation is now more significant in the buying process. This exposes buyers to a lot of information and options. This leads to a longer sales cycle as the buyer takes longer to consider all the information and options before picking a product to buy.
Increased Risk Awareness
B2B buyers are now more aware of the risks involved in a purchase. They are keen on avoiding losing money through an incredible purchase, losing their professional credibility, buying products that may fail to function as promised, and reducing their job security because of problematic deals.
The buyers are taking longer to make the buying decision to avoid missing out on a better deal. That is their way of mitigating post-purchase disappointment.
Do these changes make it impossible to close more B2B deals and meet your sales quotas? No. On the contrary, you can close more B2B sales if you understand the modern B2B deals closing dynamics. Read on as we guide you on non-aggressive tactics you can use to close more B2B deals.
Non-Aggressive B2B Deals Closing Tactics
Incorporate Social Selling
Statistics show that 91% of B2B buyers are active social media users. It also shows that 75% base their buying decisions on the information they find on social media. Considering that 47% of decision-makers in organizations are in the 18-35 years age bracket that also happens to be the largest demographic using social media, it makes business sense for sales teams to reach out to them on social media.
Social selling involves reaching out to prospects on social media and nurturing them until they are ready for purchase. Through social selling, you educate prospects about the solutions your company can provide.
According to a study by Aberdeen Group, social selling offers about 45% more selling opportunities for salespeople. It reduces contact time by about 39% and deepens relationships between clients and buyers by over 31%. Furthermore, it increases the number of leads by 34%.
In addition, social selling shortens the sales cycle by 14%, while increasing the conversion rates by up to 24%. Here are social selling tips you can use to help you close B2B deals:
Choose a Relevant Social Network
You will connect better with your prospects if you share the same social media platforms. Once you are sure of who your potential buyers are, join the social media platforms where they are active and become an active participant for them to notice you.
Participate in Conversations Where Your Brand is Mentioned
Use social listening tools to help you understand what social media users are saying about your brand and products. In addition, whenever your brand or products are mentioned, participate in the conversation to provide the right information and help users understand your products and brand better.
Participating in conversations with your prospects can help them overcome any objections they have concerning your products. This makes them ready for a purchase sooner. It also helps you build a strong relationship with your prospects that can convert them into brand loyalists and advocates.
Identify Your Prospects and Follow Them
Most businesses have social media accounts. Make a list of the companies you want to do business with and follow them on their social media platforms.
If you consistently participate in their conversations, they may begin to notice you and develop an interest in your brand. You can also use the platform to market your products to them when they ask for recommendations for related products.
Share Value-Packed Content
Use content to position yourself as an industry leader. The content should not be self-promotional. It should provide solutions to problems the prospects may be struggling with, addressing their pain points and showing how your products can be a solution.
As you share relevant content consistently, the prospects begin to view you as a reliable resource. They gain confidence in you, your brand, and your products. This makes it easier for you to sell to them and close deals.
Position Yourself as a Sales Enabler
More buyers turn to the internet for product information. So they need credible resources to enable them to make their buying choices. Ensure you have content to guide them in their buying journey to gain confidence in your products, as 68% of buyers are confident about a brand after consuming its content.
Link your content to your website to guide your prospects to your products. Also, include a clear call-to-action to help the buyers move to the next level of engagement, such as requesting a free demo or calling for a free quote.
Your sales enablement strategies give you better-qualified leads. This shortens the sales cycle and increases your chances of closing B2B deals significantly.
Develop Business Acumen
Whether you are connecting with potential buyers online or in person, you should display an image of a confident, knowledgeable business professional. You can do this if you have researched the buyer before meeting them to understand their nature of business, pain points, and possible solutions.
The buyer will appreciate it if you show any interest in helping them grow their business rather than when you present your interest in making a single sale to them. Let them know you can offer more value than just the product you are selling and that they can consult you for more business solutions.
However, be careful not to spend too much time consulting and forget to close your deal. Use this strategy to make them see the need for a long-term relationship with your brand. But the ultimate goal remains closing your B2B deals.
Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
Your sales and marketing teams should have similar goals and bear equal responsibility for presenting the company in the best way possible. They should be your strong brand advocates, sharing the same information about your products and brand.
If both teams are misaligned, the marketing team may misrepresent your brand and products. If the buyer realizes the sales and marketing teams are not giving consistent information about the product, they may lose confidence and interest in the products. This makes it harder for you to close B2B deals.
You can align teams by exposing them to the same content about your brand and products. You can also encourage them to create content for sharing on your blog to ensure they understand the products well. The sales team can use the content to prepare their presentation for potential buyers and webinars for prospects who download it.
On the other hand, you can plan regular meetings between the two teams to help them coordinate their efforts. In the meetings, they may come up with their goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and definitions, including whom to consider as a qualified lead. A common definition of a qualified lead bars the marketing team from unqualified and stubborn leads to the sales team.
Talk Less, Listen More
As mentioned previously, buyers are becoming more skeptical about sales and marketing messages. By talking less and listening more, you make the buyer feel that you are ready to hear their problems and that you are not just interested in a single sale.
Apply the 70/30 rule, where you let the customer lead in the talk by 70% as you fill in the remaining 30%. Even as you talk, ensure you are asking probing questions to help the buyer understand their pain points and how your product offers a solution to their problem. Use more questions and fewer statements.
Probing questions also give the buyer the opportunity to present their opinion. Besides making them feel you are listening to them, it helps you understand what they want. You can use their feedback to frame your responses to help them make their final purchase.
As you talk to the prospect, avoid being offensive. Again, leading questions can help you be inoffensive as opposed to statements. They should also guide them to signing a sales agreement with you.
Use Appropriate Voice and Body Language Techniques
According to experts, communication is only 7% verbal. 93% depends on your tone, volume, pace, and body language. This tells you that there is more to closing B2B deals than what you say to your prospects.
Talking too softly may be interpreted as a lack of confidence, while talking too loudly may be repulsive as it presents you as aggressive. Use the right volume to sound confident and attractive. Besides, your tone should be calm to project an image of an organized and confident salesperson.
If your pace is too fast, you will sound impatient. This can create a sense of urgency that may make the prospect dismiss you before closing the deal. A slow pace, on the other hand, may portray you as uninformed.
The prospect may conclude that you are taking long to supply information because you are not well informed about the product. The prospect's attitude towards you may worsen if you have to go over your notes frequently to get the information they need.
Additionally, your body language communicates about your personality, preparedness, and trustworthiness. Buyers may not willingly close deals with a nervous, disorganized salesperson. Sit upright even when talking to the buyer on the phone as it raises your confidence level.
When meeting a buyer, look confident, excited, and attractive. Maintain eye contact but do not stare at them continuously as this may intimidate them and make them want to dismiss you prematurely.
Present Value Before Price
If a buyer finds value in a product, they may willingly pay a high price for it. The opposite is also true, that they will be unwilling to spend on a product they do not value. This should tell you the significance of your value proposition.
In your value proposition, let the buyer know why they need to buy your product and why buying it from you is better than getting the alternatives that your competitors may be offering them. Remember, the prospects may have information about other alternatives.
As you prepare, research your competitors. That way, you will have answers about why your product is more valuable to the buyer than what they can get elsewhere.
Use Bait-and-Switch Tactic Skillfully
The bait-and-switch technique is a non-aggressive tactic to draw and sustain your prospect's attention. Salespeople who use it begin by offering bait to the prospect. This could be a sample they allow the buyer to use to familiarize themselves with the product and experience how it helps them solve their problems.
At the switch stage, they pitch the prospect when they are sure they have won his attention and interest in the product. This may help you shorten your sales cycle as you sell a product that the buyer has tested.
Most businesses have entrusted their buying decisions to young professionals who prefer researching brands and products on the internet before reaching out to vendors. As a result, buyers are now more informed about their problems, your products, alternatives, and how the products can solve their problems.
To close more B2B deals, connect with your prospects on social media, where they spend time searching for information about brands and products they are interested in. Use content to position your brand as an industry leader to win people's confidence and loyalty.
Your content will also help align your sales and marketing teams so that they can share similar information with potential buyers. When selling to a prospect, let them do most of the talking as you ask probing questions. Ensure you understand their business and that your voice and body language present you as confident, organized, and professional.
A Sales Training Program like Deal Flow Accelerator can equip you with B2B deal closing skills that work in the current economic conditions. With these skills, you become more strategic and maximize your B2B deals.
Deal Flow Accelerator is a six-week sales growth Bootcamp for businesses looking to scale. Using strategic tools, intensive training, and results coaching, the program helps businesses get bigger deals, better clients, and higher margins. Whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or sales leader, reach out to the Bold CEO to help you maximize your performance.