While the pandemic has left many markets uncertain in the coming months, signs and data point towards a rebound for most industries. One indirect side-effect from months of consumers working from home is increased exposure to online businesses through advertising and social media. In short, whether they’re conscious of it or not, customers are becoming savvier.
This is why it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re going into 2021 with a refined B2B Sales process – one that can convert even the most sceptical prospects into paying customers. An ideal process wouldn’t stop at just converting them, but more into retaining them for months and years down the line. After all, the goal is high-quality leads, not just any leads. Here are a few steps you should take to refine your sales process as you approach an increasingly clever market.
Step 1. Research and Connect with Customers
The best way to start refining your B2B sales process is to make sure you’ve done your audience research and refined your angle. There’s a lot of data readily available on the internet that makes this easier than ever through sites like Statista and the ONS, but you can also do “field research” by visiting online boards, Facebook groups, or Reddit sections that appeal to your audience.
You’re looking to understand your audience, identify pain points they have, and formulate a “voice” for your business. What sort of tone does your audience use, and what sort of tone do they respond to? A business targeting teens wouldn’t want to take an informal, professional tone. A business targeting the health industry wouldn’t want to be crass in their copy. (Or maybe they would if they thought the juxtaposition could make their brand more unique)
The tone you take and the research you do will help you find ways to connect to your audience in more effective ways than your competitors, and those prospective buyers more receptive to your eventual attempts to sell to them. As a side bonus to the research phase, you can start marking targets for where you can advertise your business later down the road.
Step 2. Guarantee Accessibility
Set up your website, your social media pages, and your ads. Your audience should be able to reach you through a variety of different channels as often as possible.
Make sure to optimize for mobile as well - this is a step you can no longer afford to skip. Your website themes and any plugins or add-ons you might deploy on your website (such as Live Chat, video players, etc.) should work on mobile devices. Purchase rates on mobile devices have only gone up over time. If your webpage doesn’t load or look proper on a mobile device, you’re leaving leads on the table.
Make sure that from landing on your page to ordering your services, anyone on a mobile device will encounter zero issues (and test it out on different mobile Operating Systems as well!)
Step 3. Offer High Quality, Free Content
What “content” means is going to morph depending on your business – it can be anything from information to entertaining copy, to actual freebies and goodies to hook your audience. Either way, you want to make sure that you’re approaching your audience from a position of adding value to their life.
Make them happy that they landed on your website instead of your competitors’.
Outsourcing content creation can allow you to fill your website with engaging content, Keyword research and SEO will help you narrow in on topics that drive the most interest or are addressed the least often for your audience, and a free e-Book or guide can convince buyers to sign up for your mailing lists.
You want to make sure you’re offering this value without immediately trying to sell your audience on anything. Subconsciously, you’re putting them in a position of them feeling obligated to give you something in return. For some customers, this obligation will be filled by them continuing to give you their time and attention. In an ideal scenario, they’ll take it a step further and offer you their support. Once you’ve got them in this mindset, it’s time for the final step -
Step 4. Sell!
Test the waters - offer a soft-sell, or an exchange. As mentioned before, a free e-book offering is a great example of this. Often used by marketers who are building their mailing lists, websites will greet you with a popup that promises a guide geared towards the niche and needs of the common customer, and all they have to do is provide their name and email.
This exchange allows those marketers to re-target those customers for years, so long as their email content is engaging enough for the customers to not unsubscribe.
Other marketers can end their landing pages with links to other content, or have the latter sections geared towards building interest in a product or service before finally dropping the call-to-action.
Here’s a tip for increasing conversions: Don’t just talk about the product or service. Talk about the benefits, or talk about how it’s specifically benefited you. Tell a story.
The research you’ve done will help you identify exactly what sort of benefits your audience is after. Highlight and emphasize those as you talk about this product or service you’re offering. Indirectly, you’re telling them a story – that they could improve their lives if they would only try out X. Alternatively you can directly tell a story – maybe of how you started selling the product, how it came about, or how you use it yourself.
Research, build your brand, offer value, then sell – AKA give your customers a chance to give value back to you. By the time you’ve reached the selling point, you’ve put in so much work towards ensuring your audience has a quality experience that they’ll want to return the favour in some capacity. And it’ll only be made sweeter by the fact that you’re still rewarding them – the exchange of a product or service benefits both parties.
The key to a high-quality B2B Sales process that succeeds in 2021 is making sure you put the audience first. Even after a shaky year and a pandemic, that’s one factor that will never change in the market.
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