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What is B2B Sales? Definition, Process & Techniques

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What is B2B Sales Definition Process Techniques

Understanding business-to-business (B2B) sales is important for every business to excel in today’s highly competitive market.

Research shows that the global market size of business-to-business e-commerce is estimated to reach around 20.9 trillion U.S. dollars by 2027🌎, with a CAGR of 17.5 %. Also, 91% of B2B sales pros bring an average of 21% of company revenue 📈. 

But what exactly is B2B sales? 🤔

In this blog, we will cover every detail about B2B sales, including its definition, examples, processes, and techniques that lead to effective sales. 

Let’s get started 🚀

🔐 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • B2B sales refers to the process of selling products or services from one business to another. 
  • An effective B2B sales process includes researching business needs, targeting businesses, presenting ideas to businesses, managing objections and nurturing relationships. 
  • Some of the sales techniques to increase performance in B2B sales are Smarketing, Social selling, solution selling, challenger selling, and value-based selling. 
  • Industries such as manufacturing, government, retail and SaaS use B2B sales. 

What is B2B sales?

Business-to-business ( B2B ) sales is the process by which companies mainly sell their products and services to another business. B2B sales are done between two or more enterprises instead of directly selling to customers. 

B2B sales have higher order values and time-consuming sales cycles, which make them more complex than simple business-to-customer ( B2C ) sales. These sales typically come in three primary types.

  • Wholesale/ distribution sales
  • Supply sales
  • Service/ Software sales

For instance, a wholesale distributor purchases goods in large numbers from manufacturers and sells them to retailers or other businesses. Wholesale distributors often deal by buying and selling products and services to one company from another. 

Here, the transactions are made from one business to another rather than between business and customers. 

What is the B2B sales process?

The B2B sales process is a well-structured approach designed to address, engage, and turn potential customers into loyal customers. It is a complex process that requires a planned and excellent B2B sales strategy to succeed. 

Here is the step-by-step process involved in the B2B sales:

  • Research: To understand companies’ needs, collect information about their potential prospects, market positions, and challenges through online resources such as websites, social media, or industry reports. 
  • Target: After completing the research, initiate the leads fitting prospect through different channels such as cold emailing, cold calling, and maybe some networking events to start the conversation for future engagements. 
  • Qualify: Evaluate if the potential client’s budget, authority, need, and timeline ( BANT) are enough to make them ready and suitable for your solution. 
  • Present the idea: Use a storyline to present the value of your products or services and showcase important points that set you apart from other competitors. 
  • Manage objections: Listen actively to every concern or object raised by prospects during the sales conversation and provide relevant information and an idea set that builds trust for your business. 
  • Close: Ask the prospects if they are ready to align two of your businesses, then negotiate a pricing purchase, terms & conditions, and other factors. Instead of roaming around, try to finalize the deal as soon as possible. 
  • Nurture: Remember, your duty is to maintain and strengthen the relationship by providing effective support, follow-ups, and needed resources. This enables your business to reduce customer churn and increase customer satisfaction. 
🤔Check it out: How to Manage Sales Cycle With HubSpot Pipeline Management

B2B sales Vs B2C sales: What’s the difference?

The main difference between B2B and B2C sales is that B2B involves selling between businesses, whereas B2C refers to selling from a company to customers. 

The main differences between B2B sales and B2C sales are in the table: 

AspectB2B SalesB2C Sales
Target AudienceBusinesses or organizations  are the buyers Customers are buyers
Purchase PurposeBuyers make purchases by focusing on meeting the operational needs of the business.Buyers make purchases by focusing on personal needs and requirements. 
Sales Cycle B2B sales are more complex and involve a longer sales cycle.B2C sales have shorter sales cycles and are more convenient than B2B sales. 
Decision-MakingInvolves multiple stakeholders and makes data-driven decisions.Decisions made by individuals or small groups.
Sales VolumeInvolves larger order volumes and higher contract values.It involves individual transactions with comparatively smaller order sizes.
Product CustomizationIt is often engaged in providing customized products and services. Typically engaged in selling standardized products and services. 
Marketing ChannelsIt often relies on marketing through industry-specific publications and online platforms. It does marketing to a mass media like social media platforms. 

What is the B2B sales funnel?

The B2B sales funnel is a roadmap for the steps required to sell any product or service. It covers the whole process, from a customer learning about the company’s resources to the evaluation process. 

The primary goal of a sales funnel is to give sales teams an overview of how to convert potential leads from new customers into satisfied customers. 

The steps of the B2B sales funnel can depend upon the company; here are the important ones: 

  • Awareness: Customers learn and research about your product and service. 
  • Interest: Potential customers show interest in the product or service of your business. 
  • Decision: The customers conduct research about the company’s products, services, and reviews for decision-making. 
  • Purchase: Potential customers make the payment. 
  • Evaluation: Evaluation of the customers to find if the customers are satisfied or not with the service for future business decisions. 

What are the B2B sales techniques?

B2B salespeople use new techniques to maintain the selling process more effectively to meet the latest market trends and modern requirements. These techniques help boost sales performance

Here are some of modern B2B sales techniques:

1. Smarketing ( sales and marketing alignment)

Two important teams, Marketing and Sales, need to align to succeed and increase B2B sales leads. The marketing and sales teams should be clear about what decisions to make and who the decision makers are. 

When both teams align, the sales process becomes easier and more efficient. Your business can use these steps to ensure the two teams work toward the same objective. 

  • Evaluate your current alignment of both teams and explore opportunities to cooperate.
  • Promote the smarketing to get both teams on the same board.
  • Encourage regular and consistent open communication.
  • Create a Service-level agreement ( SLA ) defining each team’s roles.
  • Look for integration software for easier collaboration and data-sharing.

2. Social selling

B2B social selling is a sales strategy that generates leads using customer engagement platforms like social media. It involves creating genuine connections with potential customers. 

Apart from cold calling, salespeople use social media such as Linkedin, X ( former Twitter ), Facebook, and other platforms to build trust among prospects. This B2B sales technique includes maintaining accounts on all the famous and trending platforms. 

Don’t rely on ads or only provide product-related content; instead, post some entertaining or educational content to build relationships with your potential customers and maintain consistency.  

3. Solution selling

Solution selling is a sales method managed by the sales training company SPI. In this selling mode, a salesperson considers the prospect’s needs, requirements, and pain points before recommending services or products to them as solutions. 

This selling strategy revolves around knowing the customer’s persona. The better the understanding of customers’ perceptions, the more likely this technique will become efficient. 

Here are some steps for solution selling: 

  • Potential customer- search for a buyer who can solve their pain points with your products or services. 
  • Qualify- Get to know the company’s decision-making pattern.
  • Approach- Recommend your products or services to the buyers as a solution.
  • Value add- Showcase the positive impacts that your solutions offer.
  • Present-  Create a customized solution that can give higher ROI from the suggested products or services. 
  • Close- Make a deal by negotiating with terms and conditions, pricing, etc. 

4. The challenger sale

The challenger sales methodology is also a B2B sales technique that uses insights, disruptive challenges, and meaningful opportunities for educating prospects. 

The details about challenger sales were first mentioned in Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s book The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation. The challenger sale is a distinct model because it requires sellers to know deeply about their prospect’s business, solutions, probable risks, and market opportunities. 

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson categorized this model into five distinct profiles: The hard worker, the relationship builder, the lone wolf, the problem solver, and the challenger

Here, the challenger is someone who understands the prospect’s business. Like solution sellers, challengers connect the sales motive with customers’ specific pain points. They analyze and understand the customers’ needs and provide insights on how the product benefits them. 

5. Value-based selling

Value-based selling is a process in which businesses use a smart approach to selling their products. The main priority is to understand and fulfill the requirements of potential customers. 

This is one of the effective B2B sales techniques because it prioritizes prospects’ requirements and genuinely promotes products that can solve their problems. 

In this sales technique, the conversations shift from “ What advantages does our brand provide?” to “How can you achieve your business goals with our brand functionalities?” 

Value-based selling has 5 core principles which go by these:

  1. Customer-centricity – This involves understanding the unique needs of different prospects.
  1. Relationship orientation – this focuses on maintaining long-term customer relationships.
  1. Outcome-focused – Solely focus on highlighting the impact of products.
  1. Empathy – It’s about connecting with the prospect’s situations and challenges.
  1. Adaptability & flexibility – This involves modifying solutions as needed in further situations. 

Examples of B2B sales

B2B sales approach for businesses can vary depending on the company and industry type. Let’s explore some examples of B2B sales. 

Manufacturing

Manufacturing industries require supplies or raw materials from other businesses to manufacture their own products. Here, the manufactured products are bought by other companies and sold to customers or other resellers. 

Example: A car manufacturer purchases raw materials like steel and other parts from various suppliers, manufactures its own car, and then sells it to car dealerships. 

Retail

Retail B2B sales involve businesses selling retail products like electronics, clothing, or other products to other businesses. This business model adds value or resells the same product with some packaging to other consumers. 

Example: A wholesale electronics distributor sells their products to multiple electronic stores, and then the store sells them to their customers with added facilities or warranty offerings. 

Government 

Government agencies often require to buy products and services to complete their programs and services. These transactions are named slightly different “ B2G “ sales

Example: A technical industry provides their cybersecurity services to the government to protect from digital crimes and hacking. 

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 

Software as a service (SaaS) companies provide the necessary technology solutions to other businesses to enhance their operations, fulfill customer needs, and play a crucial role in business scaling

Example: SaaS companies like  KrispCall, Zendesk, and RingCentral offer their telephony features to businesses that require call center functionalities. 

🤔Check it out: Why the SaaS Partner Programs are the Best Choice for High Commissions

B2B sales tips

For effective B2B sales, a business will require some knowledge and ideas to succeed in the marketing journey. 

Here are some of the tips to improve the B2B sales performance: 

  • Personalization: Use technologies that help you provide a personalized experience.
  • Present ideas and empathy: B2B buyers are smart and prefer empathy with professional pitching. 
  • Genuine communications: Build stronger connections through active listening, critical thinking, and present genuineness. 
  • Create dedicated teams: Consider having dedicated sales operations and engagement teams. 
  • Strategic alignment: Establish strategic and tactical approaches and align both marketing and sales teams to achieve customer success. 

The future of B2B sales

The transformation of B2B sales in recent years is only the starting. According to a report by Statista, only B2B e-commerce is expected to generate over $3 billion in sales by the year 2027.    

It is pretty understandable that the growth of B2B sales is unmatchable. The alignment between the two teams, Sales and Marketing, will be important, and both teams will work together for better results. 

Also, the use of digital communication in B2B sales is expected to grow enormously soon. A Gartner study states that 80% of B2B sales interactions between businesses will be held through digital channels. B2B sales wanting to excel will be required to master the use of digital channels and adopt omnichannel customer support

Also read 📕: Sales Pipelines Stages

Wrapping Up!

Business-to-business ( B2B ) sales play a vital role in today’s business landscape. They involve selling products and services between companies. Unlike B2C sales, B2B sales have higher order values and long sales process cycles. The B2B sales process includes research, targeting, qualifying, managing objections, and closing. 

Sales techniques such as smarketing, social and solution selling, challenger sales, and value-based selling boost businesses’ sales. Every industry, including retail, manufacturing, and SaaS companies, wants to scale in B2B sales. The future of B2B sales looks to upgrading with digital adaption and alignment with marketing and sales teams. 

FAQs

What is consultative selling in B2B sales?

Consultative selling in B2B sales is a selling approach that primarily prioritizes building stronger relationships with prospects by focusing on their needs, goals, and pain points. 

What are the common challenges in B2B sales, and how can I overcome them?

The common challenges that might occur in B2B sales and the solutions to overcome them are:

  • Identifying suitable leads – Research more about the prospect’s industry, requirements, and needs. 
  • Attracting the lead’s attention through cold calls – Present yourself genuinely with communication. 
  • Booking appointments with prospects – Prepare early and schedule the appointment whenever prospects are free. 
  • Being consistent in long sales cycles – B2B sales is a lengthy process, and that’s why you need to keep the responsibility to maintain the relationship with prospects.
  • Pitching prices – Only reveal the price after showcasing the advantages and the impact of your products and services on the prospect’s business. 

How has the B2B sales process evolved with digital technologies?

B2B sales processes and transactions have evolved enormously with digital technologies, reducing traditional face-to-face interactions and moving towards digital and online appointments. 

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Dinesh Silwal

Dinesh Silwal is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KrispCall. For the past few years, he has been advancing and innovating in the cloud telephony industry, using AI to enhance and improve telephony solutions, and driving KrispCall to the forefront of the field.

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