When most people talk about B2B sales, they usually talk about sales tactics, such as cold calling and emailing.
They go so hard at perfecting those tactics that they often forget about what is perhaps the most important part of the sales process.... The B2B sales strategy.
Why is the sales strategy so important?
To put it simply... The B2B sales strategy is the why aspect of sales. It explains why you use the specific sales tactics and techniques that you do to reach your sales goals. You can think of it as the foundation of everything sales-related.
Because the strategy doesn't get the time and attention that it deserves, most B2B companies unknowingly make fatal strategy errors. The worst part is that they make those errors but never identify what exactly is going wrong.
With that being said, we're sharing the top reasons why your B2B sales strategy keeps on falling through.
Once you know what you are doing wrong, then you can make changes to get the strategy back on track!
Remember... Your strategy is the foundation of the entire B2B sales process. Get your strategy right if you want to close deals and reach ultimate sales success!
What Are B2B Sales Strategies?
A B2B sales strategy is a plan for positioning your company's product or service in the market against its competitors.
It highlights your company's unique value proposition, so that you stand out in the market. Moreover, a B2B sales strategy is an overarching plan for acquiring B2B buyers!
Different sales strategies employ different sales tactics and techniques. Every company will use different tactics and techniques depending on what aligns with their company's identity.
Sales tactics are the meat of the sales strategy. They describe the what aspect of the strategy.
By that, we mean what ways you are going to connect with your potential B2B customers. Whether it be traditional outreach tactics like cold calling and emailing or inbound social media selling, tactics are the means to the end.
Sales techniques describe the way in which you carry out your strategy. The way in which you do something impacts how you make your potential customers feel.
Not only that, but it impacts how much control you have over the sales process.
Unfortunately, many sales reps underestimate the power of their sales techniques, and how making their prospects feel a certain way may ultimately determine whether or not a sale is made!
Furthermore, the perfect business to business sales strategy highlights your company's unique value proposition in the market by using sales tactics and techniques that fit your company's identity.
What Are the 4 Main Selling Strategies?
If you spend even just a couple of minutes doing research about sales strategy online, you'll probably notice that many sources site that there are 4 primary selling strategies, including:
- Strategic selling
- Solution selling
- Account-based selling
- Social selling
Each of these strategies uses different sales tactics and techniques to highlight the unique value proposition of a product or service.
Companies can choose to follow one of these four strategies depending on which one most closely aligns with their identity.
Do You Need To Stick to 1 of the Main Selling Strategies?
In short: No.
Here's the thing... The idea that there is only one set way of doing things in sales is bogus.
The truth is that you don't need to follow any one specific B2B sales strategy for success. In fact, doing so potentially puts a cap on your company's potential.
Rather than just picking one single strategy, you need to craft one that is unique to your company's identity.
Unique companies need unique strategies!
If you follow one of the main-stream sales strategies to a 'T', it almost completely eliminates the purpose of having a sales strategy at all! Because, at the end of the day, a sales strategy is supposed to make you stand out, not blend in.
HOWEVER... While there is no single best sales strategy, there are a set of fatal sales strategy errors that are consistent across just about every business.
If you make one of these fatal errors, then the potency of your sales strategy will likely fall through.
To help you avoid making one of those fatal errors, we are sharing what they are so that you can avoid them altogether!
Here’s Why Your B2B Sales Strategy Isn’t Working For You
Want sales success but things keep on hitting the floor?
Run diagnostics on your current B2B sales strategy to identify whether or not you are currently making one of these fatal strategy errors.
If you are... Then it likely explains why your sales aren’t going as good as they could.
But, the good news is that, if you can identify that you are making one of these errors, then you're already on the path to turning things around.
Moreover, if you're making one of these errors, simply doing the opposite will help bring your strategy back to life!
Get together with your B2B sales team to diagnose your existing strategy with one of these problems.
Until you get your strategy right, you will never reach your full sales potential!
You’re Not Capitalizing On the Unique Value Proposition
Like we mentioned above, the sales strategy is the foundation of the entire sales cycle and process.
Therefore, if the strategy is off, then countless aspects of the process are going to be messed up!
And, perhaps the worst and most pervasive sales strategy mistake is making it too ambiguous. By ambiguous, we mean that it doesn't distinctly capitalize and hone in on your company's unique value proposition!
In short: The greatest point of the B2B sales strategy is to highlight that unique value proposition!
Odds are that you aren't the only company selling your product or service... So why would a prospective customer pick you over them?
Unless that unique selling point is highlighted, then the entire purpose of having a sales strategy in the first place falls through. Because, if your customers don't know what makes you different, then they have little to no reason to consider you.
Therefore, don't be ambiguous. Think deeply about what makes your product or service unique and then formulate the rest of your sales strategy around that.
When it comes to the B2B sales strategy, ambiguity is your worst enemy. Unless you are honing in on your unique selling point, then forget about the rest!
You Aren’t Being Clear Enough on Your Target Market
For every unique value proposition, there has to be someone who needs it. And, that someone is your target customer.
Unfortunately, many B2B sales teams aren't specific enough when it comes to identifying who their target market is.
This is probably the other most fatal sales strategy mistake. Because, if the entire point of the B2B sales strategy is to highlight the unique value proposition but you don't know who would want it... then what are you really doing?
If you don't know who would say, 'Hey that company resonates with me out of all the other options I have!', then you've completely missed the point!
Therefore, get with your sales team and draw out a persona of your ideal customer. Literally sit down and draw out who that person is, including their psychographics and demographics.
Then, you can frame your strategy, and ultimately your sales tactics and techniques, to be catered towards those people.
An added bonus of being very specific with your target market is that it fills your sales pipeline with only quality leads.
In the end, if the sales funnel is filled with your ideal leads, then you've significantly increased the odds of closing more deals!
You’re Not Using an Assertive Sales Approach
Once you've got the two most important aspects of your sales strategy down, that is highlighting the unique value proposition and knowing exactly who your target customers are, the next step is to think about your sales approach.
The sales approach is the manner in which you approach the sales process. It plays a lot into the entire customer experience in terms of how it makes them feel.
The best sales approach that you can possibly have is an assertive one. In fact, if you aren't assertive, then you can basically throw any hopes of sales success out the door.
Now you might be asking yourself... How do I incorporate assertiveness into my sales approach?
There are a couple of key ways, including:
- Using assertive sales outreach tactics
- Controlling the sales process with your assertive attitude
Think of it like this... Assertiveness is the way in which you carry out the sales process. It's your attitude and the way that you do things.
Of all the sales tools you could possibly have, the most powerful one is your assertiveness.
The Entire Sales Team Isn’t On Board
A B2B sales strategy is an all hands on deck sort of thing.
Unless every salesperson is on board with it, then it sinks!
Therefore, be sure to get your entire sales team in on the strategy. By doing so, you're ensuring that they can fully grasp the big picture purpose of what you all are doing.
It's not enough for your sales reps to just have some basic sales skills and expecting them to close deals.
Instead, each salesperson needs to know how to craft every sales encounter, whether it's a simple cold email or full-blown sales pitch, to fit the strategy.
This is a simple correction that can make all the difference in your results, so be sure to do it!
You Aren’t Taking Your Leads on a Buyer’s Journey
While you might be looking at the buying process as a simple matter of going from one sales pitch to the next, that doesn't mean that your prospects are looking at it the same way.
For them, it's not a process, but a journey!
Think about it, what sounds more interesting to you... a process that includes a series of steps, meetings, and pointless talk... or a journey filled with existing discussions and new, intriguing insights?
Hopefully the latter!
Here's the thing: When putting your strategy together, you need to make it exciting!
It doesn't need to be all black and white. Because if it is, then it's likely going to create a boring sales process for the prospect. And, who likes to be bored out of their mind?
Therefore, reflect the excitement of your product or service and put that energy into an exciting, experiential buyer's journey for your potential customers. Use tactics and techniques that lift their spirits, not make them want to fall asleep in their seats.
Put yourself in their shoes... If you had to go through the process that you are putting them through, would you enjoy it?
If not, then go back to the drawing strategy drawing board. Hype up the strategy, and then carry that hype over to the tactics and techniques you use!
You’re Copying the Competition
What's the point of having a sales strategy if you're just going to copy that of your competition?
We'll tell you... There is no point!
Again, the whole point of having a sales strategy is to stand out to your potential buyers, not fall into the background!
Therefore, don't waste your time going online to try and unlock the secrets to your competitor's sales strategy just to carbon copy it.
In fact, you might be better off having no strategy than copying somebody else's strategy...
This is part of the reason why we don't suggest following one of the main-stream sales strategies to a 'T'. It increases the odds that you appear too similar to the competition.
In the end, it's better to start from scratch and experiment with your strategy than it is to copy somebody else.
Not Integrating Elements of Social Selling
Like we mentioned above, we don't suggest following any one of the most popular selling strategies to a 'T'.
But, we do suggest in some cases integrating small pieces of each into your final strategy plan.
Of the 4 selling strategies, one that we highly suggest considering integrating pieces from is social selling.
To put it simply, social selling is a strategy that uses social media to target prospects. While it isn't the same as social content marketing, there are similarities and crossovers between the two.
It's no secret that social media is an extremely powerful selling tool!
Therefore, we suggest getting together with your B2B marketing team to align your sales strategy with your marketing strategy. That way, you can interlace social selling and marketing tactics together.
Now you might be asking... What's the best social selling tactic?
We'll give you one that's not only effective, but also extremely simple.
All you need to do is repost some of your current client's content on LinkedIn and comment on how happy you are about their success!
By doing so, you not only make them feel like you care about them, but also show your prospective customers that you have great relationships with your customer base.
Not Getting the Attention of Decision-Makers
This isn't the first time that we've talked about getting connected with the decision-makers at your B2B buyer companies.
In short: If you want your prospects to make a buying decision sooner, then the easiest way to do so is by getting connected with the key stakeholders at the prospect company at the onset of the sales process.
The key stakeholders are the people who have the final say in whether or not a purchasing decision is made.
Therefore, when crafting your sales strategy, keep in mind that your goal is to aim the messaging towards those top-level decision-makers!
Then, when decision-making time comes around, the person who has the power to make the final decision will be ready to do so.
The Strategy Doesn’t Consider Existing Customers
Want to know who your most qualified leads are?
We will give you a hint... They're people that you probably already know pretty well, both on a personal and professional level.
If you haven't already guessed it, the truth is that your most valuable potential customers are your current customers!
Unless you’ve signed lifetime contracts with your current customer base, then odds are there is going to be a time when you're going to have to ask whether or not they want to go for another round again.
And, if you've done a good job at not just satisfying their needs but also building a relationship with them, then they're more likely to give you another go.
Moreover, your existing customers are also your potential customers!
With that being said, you need to craft a sales strategy that focuses on pleasing both customers you've never worked with before and the ones already in your hands.
Perhaps the best way to keep your existing customers coming back to you is if you've already formed successful customer relationships with them.
Second to having their tactical and emotional needs satisfied, forming relationships with your B2B clients is usually their second biggest priority.
If they see you as not only good at solving their pain points but also capable of having a relationship with them, then they're more likely to come back to you.
Furthermore, craft your strategy around forming great relationships with your existing customers! Perhaps the best way of doing so is by giving them the best customer experience possible.
Make building relationships a pillar of your strategy.
The Strategy Doesn’t Highlight Prospect Pain Points
Last but certainly not least, your sales strategy must employ tactics and techniques that show your prospective customers that you are clearly capable of solving their needs.
At the end of the day, you can get everything else right, but if you can't prove to your prospect's that you are capable of solving their pain points, then they will never go with you.
Straight-up: Don't get so lost in the sales process that you forget that the customer's needs are the reason you are all there to begin with.
When in doubt... Go back to the basics and ask yourself whether or not your team knows what your prospect's key pain points are, and if you are trying to sell them based on the fact that you all know how to solve those points.
Believe it or not, but many salespeople fail to do this altogether!
With that being said, don't get so lost in the process that you forget about the pain points! In the end, your ability to solve them will define your sales success.
Final Thoughts On How Your B2B Sales Strategy is Crushing Your Business Potential
Bottom line: If you're not pulling the sales results of your dreams, the first place to check for fatal errors is in your sales strategy.
Because, the strategy is the foundation of your entire sales process!
Therefore, whoever you are or whatever problem you and your sales team are currently facing, ask yourselves if you're making one of the above fatal B2B sales strategy errors.
If you realize you are making one of them, then there's a good chance that it's the reason why you're not getting the kinds of sales results you want.
B2B sales success is all in your hands! Will you step up and do what's necessary to reach your goals?
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