What is the basis of sales strategy in B2B
Sales strategy is based on business goals: in one company it is revenue growth, in another – entering new markets. The sales function should be flexible and adapt to changes – in the product, business expectations, or external factors (for example, legislation).
In companies where there are several products or services, the sales service makes sure that they do not compete with each other. For example, MacPaw focuses on business customers with two products: CleanMyMac and Setapp. Both are needed by companies that work with Macs. But we decided not to “attack” clients with similar offers, but target the product specifically.
To do this, we study the types of users in companies. Some are more interested in buying only CleanMyMac to “clean” their computers so they run like new. And some are interested in buying a Setapp for Teams set of applications for different tasks.
How to assess the effectiveness of a B2B sales system
I will highlight three markers, which you need to pay attention to first:
#1. Sales department structure. Make sure that all stages of the sales funnel are covered by the functions of the salespeople. In large departments, there may be a need for narrow specialists – for example, responsible only for finding new leads. In smaller companies, functions are often divided between specialists. The main thing is that all the stages should be “covered”.
#2. Financial metrics. Key metrics differ across products and services. The plans and results of the sales department must match them. For example, it could be revenue, MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), gross revenue, or net revenue.
#3. “Failures” in the sales funnel. Keep statistics. If the numbers at any stage are noticeably different from the median, it’s probably a problem that needs to be addressed first. For example, if the outbound (cold) sales “sagged” in the percentage of open emails, reconsider the list of leads/messages.
How to build the funnel in B2B sales
A funnel is an analytical tool that helps:
- assess the effectiveness of sales
- adjust the sales process (to track at what stage revision and additional resources are needed)
- forecast sales
- understand whether they help achieve business objectives
The classic sales funnel has several stages:
#1. Exposure (first contacts): identification of new leads, prospecting contacts, cold emails/messages/calls, organic prospecting, social media advertising, media, blogs, recommendations. At this stage, the sales team works with Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – potential customers who meet the minimum criteria for continued marketing and sales activities.
#2. Discovery: getting to know the product/service and the company in more detail.
#3. Consideration (study): presentations, demos, accompanying communication (mailings), pitching, negotiations. We work with Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) – leads who have a need for the product and are practically ready to close the deal.
#4. Conversion: purchase, the conclusion of the deal.
#5. Customer relationship: onboarding, customer service.
#6. Retention: work with customer loyalty and formation of brand-ambassador community.
he sales funnel helps plan the achievement of business goals. For example, according to internal business statistics, in order to get 10 contracts at the output – you need to “pour” into the funnel 1 thousand new leads. As the funnel narrows, some of them are eliminated, but with each stage – less and less, as the leads are more relevant (those who really need the product reach the deal).
Build your sales funnel with the specifics of your business in mind: the stages and their duration may differ.
For example, two interactions – a demo and a cover letter – are usually enough to move from interest to purchase in products with a low check (up to $150 per year). The customer makes the decision faster – from a week to a month. And in outsourcing projects and complex products with a high check, it can take up to a year from the first pitching and negotiation to the conclusion of the deal.
What tasks need to be automated in B2B sales
A few years ago most of the routine processes were done manually. For example, in order to find the client’s email, they googled different formulations of the name and surname with the company domain. Manually made email newsletters and distributed requests in the sales department. Now there are a lot of tools that automate turnover.
A lot of resource would be freed up by automating functions like:
#1. Pipeline management. Manage the sales process with CRM systems. There are many solutions like Salesforce, Pipedrive, Hubspot. CRM systems integrate with different services – like mailing lists and search. At MacPaw we use the Pipedrive platform: it is connected to the “admin”, and when a customer creates an account in a product, it is automatically displayed in our system, assigned to the salesperson, added to the newsletter onboarding.
#2. Research and lead generation. Modern services automatically look for contacts and validate them. For example, the Phantombuster tool collects data from LinkedIn profiles.
#3. Building relationships with clients (Outreach). For example, there are AI-based solutions that not only do automatic mailings, but also generate tone of voice letters, predict the probability of their delivery