When you’re in the B2B business, one of the most difficult responsibilities you’ll have as a business owner is overcoming sales challenges. Marketing your products effectively to the target market and expecting sales to naturally flow does not work in B2B.
There are multiple touchpoints required and you have to be on top of your sales game to convert customers. Since there are many decision-makers involved in B2B purchases, it is more difficult to build consensus and engage with multiple stakeholders.
However, it is not impossible to have an effective sales process in place that reliably converts prospects into customers. When you understand the common challenges you’ll face in B2B sales, you can set up a process to tackle and overcome them.
Here are the 5 common B2B sales challenges you should overcome:
1. Value Proposition
For every unique product in the market, there are ten other similar products. This can be highly confusing for customers, especially if they’re not sure of what they want. Your role in sales is to effectively position yourself as the best choice for your customers by answering their pain points and differentiating yourself from the competition.
You have to understand the needs of your customers to clearly explain your value proposition. Start by knowing more about their industries and common problems.
You can effectively sell your products to your customers when you know more about them and their problems. This will allow you to position yourself better to meet their unique needs.
2. Marketing Materials
In the age of the internet, most of the research happens without any help from sales representatives. There is plenty of information available online for customers to compare and choose the best products for themselves.
It is therefore important as a B2B seller to provide as much content as possible for customers to make an informed decision.
Content can be in the form of blogs, reviews, case studies, etc. Anything that gives you an edge over the competition when the customer is researching your products will enable them to consider your offering.
When you provide information that allows customers to make good decisions, you’ll gain their trust that increases the chances for a sale.
Create content for each stage of the buying journey to make sure your customers have a detailed understanding of your product without needing the help of a salesperson.
3. Ineffective Sales Pipeline
Your sales pipeline has to be solid and highly effective when working with business customers. Any leaks in your sales process can lead to a huge loss in revenue from missed opportunities.
Since the size of the purchases are much larger and associations are much longer in B2B when compared to B2C, it is important that your sales team is effective when handling leads.
When your marketing materials have convinced customers to shortlist your business and be open for a trade relationship, your salespeople should ensure the leads convert.
This is possible when the sales team is solely focused on serving more customers instead of spending a lot of time on administrative tasks and research.
4. Long Buying Cycle
The buying cycle for B2B sales can be longer. It may take months before a buyer makes the decision to purchase your products.
This is because businesses take the time to analyze and compare offerings to choose the best choice for them.
While it may feel time-consuming to deal with multiple executives from the buyer’s business on the way to closing the deal, it is more than worth it in the end. B2B customers are looking for sellers whom they can work with on a long-term basis.
Your sales team should not be discouraged by the time it takes for buyers to make their decision. Instead, your team should be trained to address the problems of the customers so that even if the deal fails to materialize, the customer knows that there is a reliable seller in the market that can be trusted in the future.
5. Retaining Customers
B2B sellers should focus more on retaining existing customers. Most businesses that are looking for sellers are interested in long-term partnerships. It is far easier and more profitable to retain existing customers than to constantly look for new customers.
Only in the event of customers looking for short-term relationships or going out of business should B2B sellers lose customers.
It is important to make B2B buyers feel satisfied and valued that they don’t have any reason to look for better prospects besides you. Retaining existing customers is a valuable business for you that takes significantly lesser time, resources, and energy than trying to sell to new customers.
B2B sales are challenging and can feel unrewarding at times. You need to expand your sales channels so that customers naturally find your products and choose you over your competition.