6 Proactive B2B Sales Strategies to Implement Right Now
Author: Ali Mirza
It’s no secret: selling to B2B customers is extremely difficult. Of course, selling was never easy. However, changing customer preferences can pose a challenge for even the most experienced sales reps.
Today’s B2B buyers prefer to conduct research and select what to buy on their own, without wanting the sellers to take up a reactive approach wherein they are more focused on responding to the inquiries of their potential customers than reaching out and initiating the sale. While in some scenarios taking this approach is appropriate, relying on reactive sales tactics can leave viable deals on the table. In fact, according to one recent report, only 29% of buyers want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product.
When you take a more proactive approach, you are able to guide the pace of the sales process to better support your company’s bottom line. You can also ensure you are working with the right decision maker who can move through the sales process with you, resulting in a win.
In this piece, we will be looking at a few proactive B2B sales strategies to try right now that can take your business to an altogether different height.
1) Take Time to Research and Plan
In order to be a proactive seller you must get into the habit of taking sufficient time out for ideating and scheming your plan before approaching your sales conversations. You may now wonder if that means you need to spend hours pouring over your potential customers’ LinkedIn profiles and career histories. The answer is – No! You do not necessarily have to do that.
However, it does imply that you need to proceed toward each sales conversation with a robust plan. Start with signaling how you want the conversation to move along and where you want it to head.
You need to remember, at all times, that being proactive means taking the required steps to formulate a situation that brings about the sale. You need to consider all of the factors within your control, take steps that could result in the deal getting closed and approach each conversation prepared to achieve that outcome.
2) Establish Credibility by Adding Upfront Value
As a proactive salesperson, you need to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to build trust with your potential customers and be in their good books. One efficacious way to do that is by adding value to the conversation and not making it look like a pitch in the first place. After all, a successful marketing effort is the one that doesn’t look like an effort at all.
Now you can either add value to your conversations with your lead by providing content that is relevant and relevant for them, or you can position yourself as an expert in an area that might interest your potential customer.
By taking the necessary steps to construct credibility and dependence early on in the sales process, you are simply trying to shape the prospect’s opinion of you without coming across as someone making a forceful attempt. This will help you be better positioned for the sale.
3) Make Data-driven Decisions
As a sales professional, you are constantly reviewing sales data in all likelihood. What you really need to comprehend is – are you using this data to create your future sales strategies, or are you plainly reporting on data day after day without utilizing the hints gathered from this information?
Proactive sellers make use of applicable data from their CRM system to decide upon how they want to interact with leads. For instance, if your CRM suggests that leads who view your company’s “About” page have a higher probability of closing a deal, you can use information from that page in your sales talking points since this conveys this information resonates with potential customers, making them more likely to invest in your offering.
Try tapping into every little source of information you have about what converts your customers and look for methods to execute relevant tactics in your sales process right from the beginning to positively turn the sale in your favor.
4) Ask Open-ended Questions to Study the Customer’s Pain Points
In addition to facilitating conversations with leads, you must be able to lead the way so that the conversation reaches the closing stage. The best way to do this is to ask open-ended questions to better understand your potential customer’s pain points.
The potential to ask open-ended questions happens to be a vital characteristic of active listening. When you ask questions that cannot be easily answered with a “yes” or “no”, you are giving your potential customer an opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions. This information is essential for proactive sellers because you can leverage it to regulate if the prospect is a good fit.
By asking open-ended questions and getting to know if your prospect isn’t certain what they want or isn’t prepared to commit to the offer, you can then calculate if they aren’t a good fit for your organization or you can choose to proactively work with them to resolve their issue.
5) Anticipate Concerns and Objections Beforehand
Every sales rep needs to remember that being proactive means approaching a situation with the aim to mould the outcome the way you want to. One of the most substantial ways a salesperson can sell proactively is by predicting customer concerns and objections even before they are voiced.
For example, if you are from the technology niche and you know the prospect is going to be concerned about your product’s potential to merge with their core system, you could plan to include talking points about the smooth integration between their core system and your software in your presentation itself.
In this way, by getting to grips with relevant topics for your potential customer beforehand, you are invalidating reasons your customer could say no, getting them closer to closing the sale.
6) Collect Customer Feedback on a Regular Basis
Lastly, if you want to take up the proactive sales approach, you should make it a point to ask for feedback from your customers and colleagues on a regular basis.
By asking your customers and leads for feedback and inquiring about what influenced their decision to take up the deal (or not to take it up), you can obtain useful insights into what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to cracking the deal.
When you ask for and regularly implement positive and constructive feedback into your sales approach, you can positively influence the outcome of your next deal.
Choosing to take the lead and proactively guide your customers through the sales process can be a useful strategy in your sales toolkit.
B2B sales professionals need to understand that a proactive approach is really all about keeping your customers and their demands before anything else, provided that your efforts propel you towards your organization’s end goal too.
The next time you feel lost, take a step back to reiterate and try implementing these strategies within your module. Coupled with some patience, they’ll surely help you close deals in a more informed way and take your organization towards new heights.
Ali is the Founder and President of Rose Garden Consulting and has helped his clients reach the Inc 500 list and triple their revenue in less than a year. As a leading sales expert, he has closed over $200 Million dollars in sales using his conversation methodology.
Dale Dupree talks about how to create experiences that cause familiarity, fuel relevance, drive curiosity and give your prospect a REASON to meet with you.
Doug C. Brown, CEO of Business Success Factors, explains the process to avoid common mistakes when building your sales organization for the first time.
An efficient sales process that consistently gets qualified prospects can quickly hone in on the prospects that are more worthwhile to chase.