B2B—where sales cycles are long and relationships matter. Your sales cycle shouldn’t be a long, boring process that your client dreads. Your sales cycle should bring you closer, build trust and bring clarity to business challenges that your company or service solve for. Everyone’s style is different, and context trumps process when it comes to intelligent selling.
To get more value out of your sales process, here are a few key touchpoints on which we’d recommend capitalizing.
1. Before you know who they are
The hardest sales touchpoint is the first one. Where do you start? Who do you call? What do you sell them? Depending on your market, company and size, the answers to these questions will vary greatly, but one thing is certain—if you don’t know your customer, you can’t solve their problems.
If you’re new to sales, need more volume or just haven’t been generating the right leads, it might be time to consider taking a step back at who you’re targeting and how you’re speaking to them about your product or service. The best thing you can do to get to know your audience is become a part of it.
Attend relevant events, follow influencers in the market and find social media pages and platforms where your B2B prospects spend their time. These tactics only work if you’re actively taking part in the community (Side note—showing up to an industry LinkedIn group and spamming about your product is a good way to be consistently avoided. Contribute, answer commonly asked questions or even ask some of your own—just be a part of it.)
2. When you’ve never met in person
Warning: This tip takes a bit of finesse and personality to pull off without being totally creepy. Some say social media and the internet has reduced real-life conversation and connection—I believe it has amplified the meaning of conversion and connection much more than a handshake and coffee (still extremely valuable tactics, btw).
But connecting online when you’ve never actually met someone can be off-putting, intimidating or even downright inappropriate depending on the context. But there is a no-stress way—add value. If you’re intent is to help, support or generally make life easier, there shouldn’t be a problem in you connecting with someone you haven’t physically "met."
Using more common business communication platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or even email (check out Sales Adapt), you can make an introduction, comment or give a shout-out to your prospects before you’ve even ever met them in person. The best way to add value is to attach a relevant blog or article (ideally from your company’s blog) that would help them in their roles.
3. After you ‘felt really good’ about a presentation
After you get through with a sales meeting or pitch and you walk out, many times you say to yourself, "I wish we would’ve done better," and those are usually the moments in which sales teams grow the most. On the flip side, what about when a meeting goes really well?
There are always strategies and tactics to improve during the sales process, and a really easy and authentic way to show appreciation and let prospects know you’re invested in their businesses is to send a small gift, handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to earn their business. The sales process is a direct reflection of the service a customer should expect to be provided, and, if you don’t communicate that as a sales rep, you’re doing a disservice to your customer success team.