How to Build Valued B2B Relationships During The Sales Process

By Janice B Gordon | B2B Sales

Feb 25
Scale Your Sales - Build Sales Partnerships

How did I help one company grow their B2B sales by £6million in less than 1 year?

I stopped the global senior sales team selling another bog-standard product and helped them to understand:

  • the buying unit and how the buying process has changed
  • the buyer’s organisational culture and business strategy
  • the macro and micro environmental pressures and the drivers.

All these characters are essential in creating a valued proposition that sales itself. This resulted in higher value bespoke offers and broader value-based customer relationships. Your insights help your buyers to define their problem. Then with targeted questions, this creates propositions designed around the customers’ specific need.

Here are six strategies, broken down for you to implement your strategic sales process:

  1. Use Social Media – The Reasons Are Compelling

According to LinkedIn, social selling leaders see:

  • 45% more opportunities created
  • 51% more likely to achieve quota
  • 80% more productive

Sales Tip: Never group your research by company but by individual within the company.

Use social media to find out more about your customers, their habits and concerns, such as what questions are they asking and who they are following? Social media is great for discovering what your competitor is doing. Who do your competitors follow and what conversations are they having and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Do you know who are your industry leaders? If so why aren’t you following them? What innovative technology is being discussed and how is it changing your industry and what can you learn from other industries? All publicly available information, but it is about knowing where to look and what questions to ask?

  1. How Are You Different?

This is a great question to ask internally. You have got to make it easy for your buyers to buy you. There is so much information that your buyers must absorb and assess to form a view on the best fit solution. This question helps you to find your uniqueness and differentiate from the competition? The more unique you are the better your customer can decide if your virtues are relevant.

If you are not different then you are competing on price, which is the worst scenario. You will always find someone who is willing to give away more than you.

Sales Tip: Whatever value you offer, must be of value to your customer such that they are willing to pay more for it.

Why would your customer pay more for your product? What descriptive value points will your customer find truly compelling? Differentiation is your competitive advantage over your competitors.

  1. Research is The Key to the Beginning, the Middle and the Never-Ending B2B Relationship

You must know your customer and their specific problem. Know the customer business strategy. The budget, their buying process and the individual influencers, this is just the beginning.

Your buyers not only have a problem, but they have an idea of the solution. Each buyer has a known or unknown criterion to solve their problem. The better your research the better your chances of matching the individual criteria. The better you will be able to influence the buying decision.

  1. Know the Right Questions

No two customers are the same. Every company has various characters. Even buyers in the same organisation have individual perspectives. Why would you make the same pitch to the various buyers that have very different roles and perspectives? A buyer wants value, an initiator wants a solution, an influencer wants to look good, a user wants to experience the user experience. A decision-maker wants to know the ROI and all these buyers have a different perception of value.

Why are many contracts lost after buyers agree but after the contract hits the finance department it delayed or worse? You must list every function that has an influence on the decision and to develop a relationship with each.

  1. WIIFM (What in it for me)?

This is all your individual buyers is interested in. So, unless you can answer this in the first two minutes, you will not get an opportunity to prove it in the proposal. If you waste your two minutes on selling your company or asking searching questions you will not get far. You are the expert so, tell them something they do not already know – add value!

Do you know how your product will solve each buyer’s specific problem? You may not know this at first. But you will get the opportunity to ask deeper searching questions if you have done your research and know enough to offer bespoke value. Practice your elevator pitch and open the conversation to create a value proposition that will satisfy each buyer need.

  1. From Relationship to Partnership

Think of ways that you can continue to bring value to the customer relationship. Develop a strategic plan to build up solid relationships and over the long term, mutually beneficial partnership. Creating lifetime value is the total worth of a customer to a business over the entirety of the relationship life. You will see the benefits when you build lifetime value partnerships into your business strategy. You create meaningful insights on how to maximise campaigns and improve customer interactions. Lifetime value helps you decide how much to invest in retaining most valued customers and in growing other opportunities.

Sales Tip: Life-time value is a strong indication of your company’s health over the long-term.

Tell you the customer of your aims of partnership and progress the conversation over time.

Research and insights will secure your position on the buyer shortlist to further opportunities, in the sales process. A strategy of it is not about me, it is all about your customer. Will create innovative solutions to give your customers a competitive advantage and build the partnership.

This article was originally published on Business Growth Blog

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About the Author

Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Expert, Speaker, Consultant and Mentor. Janice is author of Business Evolution - Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World This book gives you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers' wants and needs.