Young business woman closes a deal with a client.
The best B2B sales strategies require unique messaging communicated via consumer-centric channels and mediums. — Getty Images/PixelsEffect

B2B sales require a slightly different approach than B2C. Consumers are often driven by emotion — how much they love a product or brand — whereas the B2B purchase decision is governed by logical factors, such as price, efficiency, and expertise.

While the content of your sales strategy may differ from that of your B2C strategy, the mechanics around connecting with your audiences may be remarkably similar. For instance, HubSpot reports that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when making a purchase.

Simply put, the best B2B sales strategies require unique messaging communicated via consumer-centric channels and mediums. Here’s how to approach designing your next B2B sales strategy.

Understand the new B2B customer journey

Like individuals, businesses go through a decision-making process before deciding to buy from your company. And, over the last few years, that customer journey has changed.

“​​The B2B buying journey has fundamentally changed in the past year, with COVID-19 accelerating the shift toward digital and remote buying,” wrote Craig Riley, Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner. “Many organizations have failed to adapt to this change, leading to lost and stalled deals. Mapping this new customer buying journey will be essential for B2B sales organizations to unlock growth in the next three years.”

Gartner’s research shows that B2B sales are omnichannel, with potential customers interacting with sales teams through email, website lead capture forms, phone calls, and in-person interactions. B2B customers are spending just 17% of their time meeting with suppliers. Therefore, your B2B sales strategy needs to focus on making your digital assets and sales materials really impactful.

[Read more: B2B Sales Tools for Your Remote Team]

The B2B buying journey has fundamentally changed in the past year, with COVID-19 accelerating the shift toward digital and remote buying.

Craig Riley, Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner

Make the most of every interaction

Because sales representatives get so little face time with prospective buyers, your sales strategy needs to consider how to make the most of that time.

“Sales leaders must focus on buyer enablement — that is, they must provide information to customers in a way that enables them to complete critical buying jobs,” wrote Brent Adamson, principal executive advisor at Gartner.

Customers going through the B2B sales journey don’t need more information. Instead, they need help understanding the mountain of information already available to them. Sales reps should focus on providing actionable, helpful advice that can help build trust with potential customers. This includes offering live coaching or advice, simulations, benchmarks, and product recommendations tailored to help buyers — rather than making a pitch and adding more noise to the purchase process.

Focus outreach on brand awareness

In line with the shift from hard selling to buyer enablement, roughly half of B2B marketers’ number one goal for 2022 is to increase brand awareness. “This goal surpasses increasing engagement, advertising products, lead generation, and even closing deals,” wrote HubSpot.

B2B sales are heavily dependent on building a strong buyer relationship, even more so than in B2C sales. Building trust starts by creating deeper brand awareness. When buyers understand your brand’s mission, values, and track record with clients, they can begin to see you as an authentic and reliable partner.

Brand awareness, in practice, also means providing tools and resources to help B2B customers navigate the market at large, compare your product or service to others, and position your company as a partner in clarifying questions about quality, pricing, delivery, and more. Your B2B strategy should include sales channels that support this type of messaging.

[Read more: 10 Valuable B2B Sales Tools for Small Businesses]

Use email as your primary outreach

Finally, your strategy should include a plan for how you will communicate your brand to consumers. Email remains one of the best B2B channels available.

“Hone your focus and spend time developing an email marketing strategy that plays to the strengths of your organization,” wrote Shama Hyder, CEO of B2B PR and marketing firm Zen Media, in Forbes. “The content you send out should add value to your subscribers’ lives, and it should be written with their specific needs in mind.”

Think about how you can use your email marketing to simplify the decision-making process for prospective clients. What educational, brand-building pieces of information can you share to help clarify the market for your product? By answering these questions, you can create a B2B sales strategy that will build trust and make it easy for your sales rep to close the deal.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published April 15, 2022