Sometimes it’s easy to envy B2C industries. Their products are generally sexier and the potential customer base often dwarfs that of certain niche B2B sectors like enterprise application software (EAS) providers. B2B sales cycles, on the other hand, are much longer, meaning that sales tend to trickle rather than flood in, resulting in higher costs per lead. The smaller pool of potential clients, and the time it takes for businesses to make a purchase decision, mean that B2B salespeople can’t afford to waste a single pitch or conversation, or target the wrong leads. In this blog, I’m going to discuss how you can adapt your sales strategy to increase sales in a B2B environment and what you need to consider when planning your pitch.
Where the lead pool is small, businesses need to form sales strategies tailored around each prospect
Let’s look at the example of the EAS provider. Their product is designed for the needs of very specific businesses – whether that be government bodies, financial services companies, or utility companies. The more specialised the product, the smaller the list of potential leads and the more pressure on the sales team to convert those leads – one conversion in a niche B2B sector might be worth thousands of B2C conversions in terms of revenue. If, like the EAS provider, a handful of your clients account for the bulk of revenue, adopting an account-based marketing (ABM) approach to winning and retaining clients is the most appropriate method of ensuring high and consistent ROI. This means tailoring your sales strategy to each prospect, taking into account their individual pain points and needs. And the extra hours you’ll need to put in creating a bespoke sales strategy for each prospect will certainly pay off. In fact, DemandBase found that 60% of users found that revenue spiked by 10% after a year of adopting ABM, with 19% reporting an increase of 30% or greater.
Prospect profiling and channel mapping is the first step in creating targeted sales strategies
Before you can jump on the ABM bandwagon and start crafting that killer sales pitch, you need to identify the best accounts to target. There’s no point spending weeks developing a sales strategy for a client you think will find value in your product, to realise when pitching them that there’s no synergy or they’ve found a solution already. Not only does it bump up your overall cost per lead, but ROI suffers too. Prospect profiling and channel mapping are the first steps in finding out the best accounts to pursue, both of which rely on collecting and analysing data. Once you’ve got a list of target accounts, you can customise each sales strategy to the various individuals in each account. Now let’s talk about what tactics you can use in your sales strategy to raise conversion rates.
Email campaigns can be designed around individuals in an account – just make sure you’ve got the right data
When it comes to generating ROI – up to 3800% according to Campaign Monitor – and engaging leads, email marketing is still a favourite. For an email campaign to go further and assist in converting leads to sales, you need to personalise your sales strategy to every prospect within an account. To do this you need high-quality data to create the personalised email campaigns that’ll resonate with leads – up-to-date email addresses, job descriptions, pain points, frustrations and even job history will help you form a personalised pitch.
Telemarketing efforts, too, must be personalised and based on solid data
Telemarketing can be used to identify the best accounts to target prior to creating a sales strategy, and then to coax leads down the sales funnel when you know whom to target. Thanks to the data you’ve collected about your prospective clients, phone calls can be personalised to each lead, vastly improving the chances of them becoming a customer. Not only that, telemarketing can be used to enhance and cleanse the data lists vital for moulding a targeted sales strategy.
Inbound marketing is yet another approach that complements an ABM-driven sales strategy
Inbound marketing also lends itself brilliantly to an ABM sales strategy. Rather like ABM, inbound marketing is all about creating content and strategies around specific personas – semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients. Your website forms the nucleus of your inbound marketing activities through blogging, content offers, calls to action (CTAs), landing pages and forms. It’s possible to go further and personalise your website with unique CTAs or content offers aimed at key individuals within an account you’re targeting, based on their IP address or a cookie that is dropped on their browser. The real value comes in being able to collect data about how each visitor has interacted with features on your website.
Integrated B2B lead generation brings together a variety of tactics for soliciting leads that become more effective than the sum of its individual parts. If you’d like to find out more about how to convert leads into sales, download our MQL to SQL guide:
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