B2B means Business to Business, as everyone has known before. B2B sales emphasize the buy-and-sell process of products or services between a company and another company, aiming to reach an agreement and then build long-term business relationships.
B2B sales model highlights the negotiation among relevant parties based on the size of orders, custom pricing, special promotions, or delivery policies.
In the era of technological revolution, the world has witnessed an expeditious development of B2B ecommerce enterprises.
According to Forrester Research, B2B ecommerce will drive $1.2 trillion in revenue by 2021.
Traditional B2B seems to be lagging and losing the dominant position in the intensely competitive market. However, being slower does not mean any improvements. Traditional B2B enterprises seek the mixture between online and offline sales channels to cover more customers and maximize performance.
Due to these shifts in the sale method and how a B2B company operates, the B2B sales have been changing to suit market wave, customer taste, or behavior.
In this article, let’s talk about B2B sales in more detail and discuss how to enhance your B2B sales process and strategies.
Let’s get started now!
Types of B2B Sales
B2B and B2C never stand on the same side! B2B serves unique customers with significant demand and high order frequency, while B2C consumers purchase a small number of products within the lower frequency.
Hence, what to sell and how to sell in B2B have an enormous impact on sales performance and guarantee business survival.
Take a look at these three distinct groups in the world of B2B sales:
#1 Product-based sales
These B2B firms choose to supply products (physical or tangible goods) to their customers.
In general, this type of B2B sale shares some standard features with the B2C business. The distinction lies in the custom pricing, order quantity, and the purchase process with many members involved.
Take an example of Berlin Packaging – a B2B enterprise that provides beverage packaging in bulk.
Wholesalers are required to purchase at a minimum merchandise value of $100, and the more items they buy, the less cost they are charged. In case buyers demand a pricing negotiation, they can submit a quote to make better deals with the supply company.
Nowadays, most product-based B2B businesses go online because of the high efficiency, the automatic process from purchase to checkout, and post-sale customer care.
#2 Service-based sales
This type of B2B sales accounts for the largest percentage of the whole B2B business and appears under various forms in reality.
- Marketing and PR agencies
- Business Law experts
- Office security
- Accounting services
- Business consultants
Services primarily involve humans, based on brainpower and direct effort to resolve business problems. They can be considered as Outsourcing – a general term in the modern economy.
A marketer from an agency will collect the Marketing situation of the client’s company and then deliver appropriate strategies to reach their client objectives.
Accounting services are bought to help enterprises evaluate assets, check-up expenditures, taxes, or payrolls to generate financial reports.
#3 Service/software (SaaS) sales
If a B2B store is running online, this type of B2B sales is quite necessary to provide business with useful tools or software to better the whole operation.
These tools are often offered under the periodical subscriptions, monthly, or yearly and one-time purchases to undertake specific aspects of the ecommerce business.
Some software can be named as:
- Automate Marketing tools: Hubspot, Mailchimp,
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Salesforce
- Tax & Accounting software: Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Taxjar
- Meeting and Appointment: Zoom, Google Meet
- Project Management: Atlassian, Trello
- Data Management: Dropbox
Critical features of B2B Sales
Selling for business needs more steps than selling for consumers! On the other hand, the sale cycle is quite lengthy and complicated.
Due to the B2B transaction’s complexion, designing the sales channels, obtaining customer databases, or building procedures for employees is accordingly adjusted to meet both business and customer requirements.
So, what are the typical features of B2B sales?
In general, B2B comes to the world with the following features:
#1 High transaction value
As mentioned above, B2B differentiates from B2C at the size of orders. Goods bought from wholesale businesses are distributed regularly to consumers; hence, the number of products needed is often big enough to meet demands.
Thus, B2B customers purchase quite frequently, monthly or quarterly, leading to each high-value transaction.
#2 Longer B2B sales process
Purchasers are not the people to make the final decision. They play a role as representatives for the companies to deal with B2B about pricing, discounts, or additional policies. Then, company members (stakeholders) will review and evaluate the collected information to choose the best suppliers.
Purchasers or Procurers work as a bridge between B2B and stakeholders, take primary responsibility in the whole sales cycle, and retain long-term relationships with suppliers.
Also, some factors are making the B2B sales process more complicated and time-consuming. Let’s take a look at the following statistics:
Surprisingly, suppliers’ greater choices of products/services, diversity of content, or resources to research before buying and a large number of suppliers are the three most impacting factors that cause any complexion in the sales process.
Meanwhile, only 24% of B2B buyers answered that their time and effort in the purchase process is affected by more internal stakeholders involved in final decision-making.
#3 Highly-educated buyers
B2B buyers are never influenced by emotional factors like B2C. For they represent companies to make procurement, it is essential to do detailed research about products and services to choose the best vendors.
As you can see from Garner’s B2B buying journey, purchasers never stop seeking information and continuously research valuable knowledge related to their problems and wanted items. In each stage of the journey, customers look for different content to meet their needs.
Based on this feature of B2B buyers, suppliers, or vendors know how to launch suitable content to satisfy customer demands, collect leads, and convert them into real and long-term purchasers.
#4 High customization
You cannot treat B2B customers like others. B2B needs much customization due to highly valuable orders and a distinct purchase process. Thus, you need to separate them from the registration steps, letting B2B users create accounts in a different form from B2C.
Why do you need to do that? The answer lies B2B and B2C segmentation and needs for B2B data collection for later strategies.
Also, high customization is presented via the website access, meaning that only B2B can browse particular product or catalog pages on the stores. Others do not have permission to land on these pages.
Even more, B2B users should not purchase products at the same prices as others. You had better set up a system of custom pricing for the wholesalers, or quotation forms to make more negotiation for the final deals.
How to create a B2B sales process
Even if you are selling for B2B or B2C, you must generate a sales process for your own business. This B2B sales process plays a role like a guiding star to help you reach the final goal – as much money as possible.
You cannot move toward without any guide. For B2B, as all features analyzed above, a step-by-step sales procedure guarantees better strategies and quick outreach to potential customers, then converts them into money.
# Step 1: Do market research
Any business model needs to conduct intense market research in the first step of the sales process.
You must know who your existing competitors are and what they are doing to target customers. Offered products, pricing, promotion programs, and policies should be analyzed carefully to understand their techniques and strategies, creating unique messages to attract your customers.
It would also be better if you find out the Unique Selling Points (USP) of rivalries. Once you capture this information, you can come up with your certain USP along with competitive advantages to persuade target customers.
# Step 2: Sketch your buyer persona
The more detailed you know about customers, the better performance your business can reach out.
However, defining B2B buyer personas requires you to have a more comprehensive view of their business.
Such information may include:
- What products they are selling
- Company structure
- Stakeholders who make final decisions
- How the current capital situation is
- What pain points they have been facing
Online interviews, direct communication, or third parties ‘ opinions are quick ways to obtain these data. The wholesalers’ technique should not be as simple as for retailers; professionalism with good preparation is critical for a successful discussion.
Thank to understanding prospects, it is easier for you to approach their needs, give the best solutions to their problems, and build a long-term relationship.
# Step 3: Create the buyer’s journey mapping
Once you get the main points about customers, it is time to generate a more obvious customer journey mapping to determine how buyers act for the final purchase decision.
There are three big stages in a buyer journey, as most of you may have known:
However, you can extend these stages into smaller components to identify additional characteristics of prospects. It all depends on how much you desire to deepen customers’ thoughts and behaviors.
Take an example as below:
Source: B2B International
# Step 4: Make the lead qualification
This step in the B2B sales process plays a vital role in determining whether customer’s needs and your product services are matched together. By giving specific questions related to customers’ deeper aspects, store owners can get exact evaluations of prospective buyers via their answers.
It is true that understanding customers is a repetitive process and requires much effort from various departments. This action contributes to validating the accuracy of the given persona in step 2.
Hence, let the sales rep team ask buyers some questions to classify the prospect and put them into an appropriate buyer persona, increasing the real purchase possibility.
#Step 5: Directly communicate or discuss
Direct communication in B2B is entirely dispensable! If not, you may not convert any sales from qualified leads.
Via face-to-face, online, or telephone discussion, stores can answer customers’ questions, explain products and services, run product demo to prove useful features, or even provide consultation for your business.
All actions aim at the goals as building trusts and turning leads to customers.
#Step 6: Close the deals
Suppose you land on this step of the B2B sales process, congratulations! All the rest to do is make agreements about payment and post-purchase policy.
Yet, it never ends up here. As mentioned before, B2B sales last as long as possible to generate more orders in the future. Hence, finishing the order does not mean closing the sales process. It must be the beginning of the later massive purchases.
In case you and customers do not come to the final deals, do not regret your time. Say thanks for considering your products and keep constant contact with them. Maybe it is not the right time to convert, but they can step back to your business in the future.
B2B sales strategies to close more deals
#1. Plan Content Marketing strategies for B2B
Unlike traditional B2B, most B2B in the 21st century has been going online, approaching every target customer from brick-to-mortar to click-to-mortar.
Along with improving the sale channels, B2B stores should not ignore the significance of Content Marketing – one of the most effective B2B sales strategies.
Although wholesale customers are CEO, directors, or procurers, they expect to read highly valuable content on your website to understand your business and products or services better.
Such intensive content as Whitepapers, Guides, Tips, and Tricks helps buyers to dig deeper into knowledge to apply in reality. Case studies and testimonials play a vital role in persuading customers to make the final decision and may draw business lessons from these companies.
Besides, email newsletters, social media content and in-person events are factors that B2B customers take much interest to follow and digest, according to Content Marketing Institute.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
#2. Subscribe customers’ content and track marketing campaigns
This technique is quite beneficial for you to obtain how your prospects are operating their business to align a relevant message with their context appropriately.
Blog, newsletters, and social media are effective resources to follow and explore their updates of products, business news, or any changes in the company structure.
Try to keep closer and closer with your customers by applying B2B sales strategies right now!
#3. Diversify pricing options
B2B sales always accompany orders in bulk; hence, pricing needs to have multiple options to lure customers into engaging and choosing your business.
Tier pricing or discounts for a certain number of purchased products are attractive factors for buyers to add items to cart and check out.
Of course, you had better stick to your prices at a minimum, then extend to premium pricing levels so that customers take account of your products/services. Also, each level should propose specific features and benefits for customers; the higher level of pricing they select, the more value they can capture.
#4. Build proficient and dedicated sales reps
The sales team is vital in every business! For B2B, the importance and the role of a sales team should not be underestimated. The lead collection is never an easy task, but converting them into money requires much more effort and persistence than ever.
The sales reps take the primary responsibility to contact, discuss, make the deals, and maintain a long-term relationship with wholesale customers. Thus, if you build exceptional sales reps, you may have 50% of winning in the deals.
Try to assign certain customers to specific sales reps. They not only take care of buyers in the pre-purchase but also regularly keep up with changes from customer demands or support them in urgent cases.
When it comes to B2B ecommerce, most platforms provide useful tools to create and manage sales reps effectively. For Magento 2, even the default functions for this feature to enable the store admin to enhance performance conveniently.
YET, DEFAULT IS STILL LIMITED! Explore Magento 2 Sales Rep extension for more advanced functionalities.
#5. Make face-to-face talk with decision-makers
Due to the complicated nature of the B2B sales process, decision-makers spend more time validating and discussing multiple stakeholders for the final deal.
To cut off this time to benefit your business and avoid causing any distraction for buyers, you would be better to make appointments with them and directly talk together (online or offline).
This action is promised to show your goodwill to customers, especially decision-makers who determine to partner with you or not. Furthermore, selling in person also removes any questionable concerns regarding your products and services by addressing problems and persuading with committed values.
#6. Follow up old leads
B2B sales take your time to reach out when it is difficult to convert prospects into real customers for the first time.
Bearing this in mind, be persistent, and never give it up! Try to follow up on your old leads, show them your effort, and emphasize results and benefits that you can bring for their business.
But do not make every follow up similar! Let diversify your outreach, and little by little, persuade them to consider you once again.
B2B sales in Magento 2
Magento 2 B2B has been considerably developing in recent years. Due to high scalability and flexibility in Magento 2, more and more wholesale businesses choose this platform to build their websites.
Also, Magento 2 provides users with a B2B Commerce version that contains essential features for a wholesale website to operate and manage effectively.
EXPOSE ALL IN 1 CLICK: Magento 2 B2B features come to address your problems!
Nevertheless, the obstacle here is that default functionality is still limited and cannot cover all the workflow of a B2B customer when they are browsing on the website.
A good enough B2B website needs more than that! From the beginning of customer visits to the endpoint of their purchase process, you – as a store owner – are required to make everything perfect.
But do not worry anymore! There is a solution for you that removes all issues in one package.
QUICK JUMP NOW OR NEVER: Magento 2 B2B Extension package | Make B2B websites more advanced!
# 1. Know your customers
In the first stage, this solution concentrates on controlling access to B2B websites, boosting up B2B customer experience from a separated registration form to a system of company accounts and sub-users, then individualize B2B shopping with a sales reps team.
Each point in this flow tailors to a specific Magento 2 extension. All of them work together and generate a smooth B2B experience from the start.
#2. Optimize the purchase process
Factors on pricing strategies, quick order process, and minimum order amount are included in the second stage to enhance the customer shopping experience and maximize the buying power.
These features are developed and combined based on customer research and fundamental requirements for a B2B website.
For example: B2B website allows customers to submit a quote for intense negotiations and bargaining. As mentioned, B2B customers demand a large number of products. Then quotation is useful to enable store owners and buyers to discuss and come to the final deal that benefits both parties.
#3. Checkout and more
The last stage reveals a quite remarkable feature for every B2B business – Store Credit – never refund with cash but credit in the B2B customer account. This type of refund method keeps money in your store and motivates buyers to come back and use these store credits for other purchases.
When they demand more, they can reorder products quickly and conveniently right from their accounts. B2B customers always create orders repetitively; hence, it would be better to give you an order form with previously bought items to add to cart in the blink of an eye.
In a nutshell…
B2B sales are never straightforward but quite complex and get a lot of levels involved. However, if you come up with a step-by-step B2B sales process, you may simplify the procedure and better control the whole business operation.
Additionally, the importance is you know how to optimize your business with the right people, the right strategies, and the right tools to maximize B2B performance.
B2B sales are a definite journey; hence, keep in mind this information to move towards!