Building a sales process is extremely important for B2B businesses. A suitable B2B sales process will help businesses focus on business activities that bring great value as well as serve customers better.
With an effective B2B sales process, businesses will be able to stay on track and create value for customers. A professional B2B sales process will also help leaders control opportunities and resources. At the same time, systematic selling helps increase the conversion rate of opportunities into customers.
Although an effective B2B sales process can bring many benefits to businesses, building a successful B2B sales process is still a challenge for managers.
Join Malu to learn more useful information about how to build an effective B2B sales process for businesses through this article.
1. What is the B2B sales process?
Before learning the definition of what a B2B sales process is, make sure you are properly understanding the definition of what B2B is .
B2B (short for Business to Business) is a form of business transaction between businesses. For the B2B business model, the seller and the buyer are both businesses. Accordingly, businesses will cooperate and work together to bring the most benefits and optimal efficiency.
From the concept of B2B, we can understand:
B2B sales process is a series of specific activities that sales staff need to perform to increase the conversion rate of a potential object into a customer, and the customer here is the customer. other businesses.
2. Compare B2B sales process and B2C sales process
Each business will often build a sales process suitable to its business model, products, field of operation and organizational structure. Unlike B2C businesses, B2B companies have their own sales process consistent with the characteristics of the B2B sales model.
Different from the B2B business model, the B2C business model is a business transaction between a seller who is a business and a buyer who is a consumer.
In general, the B2B business model is different from the B2C business model. Let’s analyze the differences between the B2B sales process and the B2C sales process in the table below.
COMPARISON TABLE OF B2B AND B2C SALES PROCESS
|B2B sales process||B2C sales process|
|Multi-step purchasing process, longer sales cycle||Purchasing process with fewer steps, shorter sales cycle|
|Focus on building relationships with customers||Focus on selling products|
|Maximize the value of the relationship||Maximize the value of the transaction|
|Aim for a certain, small and focused target market||Targeting a large target market|
|Aim for activities that build awareness and understanding||Focus on purchasing activities|
3. Why is building a B2B sales process for businesses necessary?
After learning the definition of the B2B business model as well as learning what the B2B sales process is, the next question is: Is it necessary for businesses to build a B2B sales process?
Many businesses still do not have a systematic and professional sales process, leading to sales staff taking care of customers based on personal experience. As a result, some customers can sell within a week, some customers have the opportunity life cycle lasting up to 3-4 months, some customers sell with this step first, other customers sell with that step first, leading to effective results. Sales results are not high.
Sales staff mainly sell through experience. If the team has many experienced employees, it will sell well. This makes it difficult for new employees to access sales activities, it takes several months to learn and adapt to be able to offer products. Because there is no common sales process, businesses will have difficulty replicating their teams, making it difficult to develop quickly.
Having a systematic sales process will bring many benefits to businesses in general and B2B businesses in particular.
If a business wants to operate smoothly and sell products, it needs to have a professional and methodical sales process chart appropriate to the company’s field, scale, products and organizational structure. Having a clear process is like drawing a path so the sales team knows what to do, where to go and what the destination will be.
Building a specific B2B sales process will bring some of the following benefits to businesses:
- Helps sellers approach buyers in a systematic and professional manner, thereby increasing the likelihood of winning and closing transactions
- Helps managers and business leaders easily control and evaluate the activities and performance of the sales department
- Can shorten the difference in qualifications and sales skills between old and new employees
- Easily replicate your team and expand your business scale
- Not only that, a standard sales process will help minimize conflicts between individuals and departments participating in the sales process. This conflict can cause the speed and quality of customer service to be slow and ineffective.
- Another benefit that cannot be ignored is professionalism. Thanks to that, businesses will easily build trust with customers.
Therefore, in order for businesses to develop further and achieve breakthroughs in sales revenue, building a B2B sales process is necessary and important that managers need to focus on implementing.
>>Read more: Sales process of trading company
4. Effective 7-step B2B sales process (Reference sample)
Building a suitable B2B sales process will bring many benefits to businesses. Basically, the most popular B2B sales process today includes 7 steps:
- Step 1: Search and classify customers
- Step 2: Prepare to approach customers
- Step 3: Approach customers
- Step 4: Product demo
- Step 5: Handle customer objections
- Step 6: Negotiate and negotiate
- Step 7: Closing the contract and handing over
Let’s explore each activity in these steps in detail.
Step 1: Search and classify customers
The first important step in the 7-step B2B sales process is finding and classifying customers.
In this step, sales staff will do main tasks such as:
- Search for potential customers
- Classify customers by understanding customer needs
- Find out customers’ ability to pay to use products and services
Potential customers can come from marketing sources, from relationships of managers or sales staff and from cold-calling ,…
>>Read more: Effective ways to find customers to increase revenue
Because the source of potential customers is quite diverse, sales staff need to classify customers to know which customers really have needs and are able to pay for the business’s products/services so that they can have the right products/services. Prioritize access.
When classifying potential customers, businesses can deploy the GPCT method (Goal, Plan, Challenge, Timeline) as follows:
- Goal : What goal does the customer need to achieve?
- Plan : What plan does the customer need to achieve the above goals?
- Difficulty (Challenge) : What difficulties will customers encounter in the process of reaching their goals?
- Timeline: What are the timelines for customers to find, use and evaluate the solution?
Or the BANT approach (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline)
- Budget : What is the customer’s annual revenue and the budget that the customer can pay for a product/service/solution to meet their needs?
- Authority : Who will make the decision in the process of choosing a product/service/solution? Who influenced that decision?
- Need : What are the customer’s main needs? What is the problem they are facing and how to solve it?
- Timeline : What time period does the customer really need the business’s product/service/solution?
At the step Search for sales opportunities , businesses need to increase the number of potential customers by using different channels/ways to find customers.
Step 2: Prepare to approach customers
After successfully finding and allocating leads, it’s time for salespeople to prepare for approaching customers.
In the second step of the B2B sales process, salespeople need to prepare for:
- The first conversation with a potential customer
- Research the market and customer needs
- Draw a portrait of the customer , especially the decision maker and the people who influence that decision
- The problem the customer is facing
- Collect all useful information related to your product or service.
When learning about B2B customer needs, sales staff can ask the following questions:
- What are customers looking for when purchasing this service or product?
- What are the customer’s main considerations?
- How is this product or service suitable for business customers?
- Does this product or service fit into your business’s current processes?
At this step, salespeople also need to tailor their product presentation to suit the specific needs of potential customers. Besides, understanding the product will help sales staff advise customers more effectively. It is important to clearly understand what benefits your business’s products will bring to customers.
Preparing everything carefully before approaching customers will help sales staff understand customers better, thereby giving them useful advice.
In the sales process, at the Prepare to approach target customers step , sales representatives need to:
- Understand customers
- Understand the sales process and scenario
- How to interact internally
Step 3: Approach customers
At this step, sales staff will approach customers for the first time. See this as an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with them. There are 3 common approaches for this first time as follows:
- Premium Approach : Give potential customers a gift at the beginning of the interaction process.
- Question Approach : Ask questions that might interest potential customers.
- Product Approach : Create opportunities for potential customers to try for free to review and evaluate your business’s services.
Even if the Marketing department had previously identified potential customers, during the process of approaching sales staff to find out, there were still customers who were not qualified to convert into sales opportunities.
Step 4: Product demo
When potential customers are really interested in the product and want to learn more, the sales staff will have a meeting and demo the product with the customer.
Among the 7 steps in the B2B sales process, in the product demo step, sales staff will actively demonstrate their understanding of the product as well as understand that the product / service they provide will bring benefits. What are the benefits for customers? Listen to your customers’ needs and act accordingly.
Besides, sales staff should also confirm the customer’s goals. This can be done by asking the right questions about their current priorities and revenue projections, thereby finding the most effective solution for the customer.
>> Read more: SPIN Selling method: The art of asking questions to evoke customer needs
During a product demo with a customer, personalize your product presentation to fit the customer’s needs as much as possible. When customers feel the value of the product in solving their problems, customers will feel more confident and willing to pay to buy that product.
Sales staff should introduce each feature of the product, followed by the benefits of each feature. These benefits should always be personalized to suit the needs of the prospect.
Step 5: Handle customer objections
This is an important step in the B2B sales process to win customer trust. Listen carefully to your prospect’s concerns and address them immediately.
Some of the problems that B2B customers encounter can be listed as:
- “Your product/service is out of our budget”
- “Your product/service is very useful. However, we need to discuss further with the General Director who makes the decision.”
- “We need time to think”
- “Your product/service doesn’t solve our problem”
Each problem requires sales staff to have their own way of handling it. You can learn more about how to handle objections to increase your chances of closing a sale HERE .
The ideal goal of the product demo step is to help customers understand how the business’s solution / product meets the customer’s problem, the level of response as well as advise customers to understand each package. suitable for their needs.
>Read more: 6 methods to persuade sales customers should know
Step 7: Closing the contract and handing over
After both parties have made the appropriate final decision, it is time for the sales staff to close the deal.
In this step, sales staff will close orders and contracts with customers as well as collect money and hand over products and invoices to customers.
However, for the final step in the B2B sales process, sales staff often encounter problems such as:
- Not understanding the quantity of goods leads to providing inaccurate information to customers and causing loss of reputation.
- Sales staff lack timely information about delivery progress and customer debt from accounting, leading to delays in customer service, overlapping work, and wasted resources.
5. Instructions on the steps to build a B2B sales process
Having a systematic and professional sales process plays an important role in helping B2B businesses organize successful sales. Depending on business and product characteristics, business managers need to research and build a process suitable for their business.
Below are 6 steps businesses need to take to build a professional B2B sales process.
Step 1: Determine the customer’s buying process
The first step is that businesses need to determine the customer’s buying process because the sales process needs to correspond to the customer’s buying journey.
At this step, it is necessary to identify the customer’s purchasing journey and the key points that determine the purchase.
Above is a diagram illustrating the common purchase journey. Customers will go through a journey from Consider – Evaluate – Choose . Equivalent to each stage in that journey, target customers will have different information needs and interests.
For example, at the consideration stage, their interest is stimulated by knowing which company, what product, and why to buy the product? And then evaluate when to buy, where to buy and how? Buyers rely on the above questions to make the final decision.
Step 2 Determine the sales stage
In step 2, after determining the customer’s buying journey, businesses need to determine the corresponding sales stages that match the buying journey in step 1. Below is an example of 6 selling stages Popular items in B2B sales correspond to the customer’s buying process.
Make sure your sales team regularly discusses and spends more time checking that the buying and selling stages align with real-life sales situations.
Step 3: Determine sales goals and results
Once you have identified the sales stages, it is necessary to set the goals and outcomes of each stage. What does a salesperson need to achieve at each stage in the sales process? Please clearly define the above.
- For example, at the stage of finding customers/preparing to create target opportunities, the target would be the quality of the customer list. Employees need to search for information to get a list of quality customers with complete information (including contact information, field, number of sales staff, revenue…).
- At the approach and understanding stage , the goal is for sales staff to understand customers and make customers feel interested in the product.
- At the demo & evaluation stage , the goal is for customers to understand the company’s solution, understand their problems and feel the product is suitable.
- At the quotation and negotiation stage , customers understand product packages and policies to choose accordingly.
- At the contract closing and handover stage , the goal is to collect money and hand over the product.
- Finally, at the after-sales care stage the goal is to be able to create new sales opportunities from referrals from satisfied customers and gain good feedback from customers.
Step 4: Determine action
Each sales stage includes small steps and actions to take to quickly achieve results and move to the next stage. At this step, it is necessary to determine the specific sales actions that sales staff will have to perform.
- For example, at the opportunity creation stage , sales staff will have to perform tasks such as: Searching for customer information from different sources, surveying and updating and adding information to the database. customers, filter and classify customers to create sales campaigns according to each target.
- At the approach and understanding stage , sales staff will perform actions such as introducing themselves and the company, asking questions to learn about customers, evaluating the quality of customer information, and sending sales emails. appropriate (detailed product introduction, demo proposal).
- At the demo & evaluation stage , sales staff need to prepare appropriate demo content, perform demos, confirm product responsiveness, and advise on appropriate product packages.
- At the quotation and negotiation step, sales staff need to offer prices and explain to customers, negotiate and overcome refusals, and request to close the order (payment time, implementation).
- At the stage of closing the contract and handing over the product , work usually includes collecting money, handing over the product, handing over the invoice, and providing initial user instructions to the customer. This work can be undertaken by sales staff or specialized departments.
- Finally, at the after-sale care stage , actions include customer care and support and asking customers to recommend products or comment on products.
Step 5: Identify sales tools
What tools should be equipped for the sales team to achieve target results?
Corresponding to each stage and action in the sales process above, sales staff will need support tools to achieve the same goals as in the approach and understanding stage. to customer outreach scenarios for more effective communication or customer information quality assessment tools to assess the level of customer understanding. Similarly, other tools such as success stories and scripts for handling customer objections are also very important to help increase the chance of successfully closing a sale.
Therefore, in the process of building a B2B sales system, managers need to clearly identify the necessary tools and fully equip sales staff so that sales staff are confident in conversations with customers and partners. increase your chances of winning.
Step 6: Continuously improve
A complete sales process will include specific sales stages that correspond to the customer’s buying journey. At the same time, when looking at the sales process, managers and sales staff must know exactly what the goals and work they need to perform at each stage are.
Once the sales process has been defined, you still need to continuously evaluate and improve it. Compare it with the business staff’s working process and consider whether the construction process is appropriate to the actual situation or not. Find out which steps & actions are not really meaningful and eliminate them, and find ways to optimize the process to improve sales productivity and sales growth.
6. Optimize B2B sales process with CRM software
By following the above 6 steps to build a sales process, businesses can build the most standard B2B sales process.
However, if those sales processes are not optimized, businesses may encounter the following problems:
- There are still activities in the sales process that are performed manually
- Data from the sales department and accounting department are not synchronized, leading to information errors, making it impossible for business owners to make effective business decisions.
- Managers do not grasp the business situation of their staff
In this article, you have learned about the definition of the B2B sales process, the benefits of building a B2B sales process, the 7-step B2B sales process model and the steps to build the process. Effective sales for businesses.
In short, building a standard sales process brings many benefits in optimizing business operations. With an effective B2B sales process, businesses can save costs, increase conversion rates and increase sales revenue. Managers can depend on their business model and products and refer to the instructions introduced in this article to build a suitable sales process.
Wishing you success in building an effective B2B sales process!