How to create a B2B sales process: an ultimate guide

Alibaba.com APRIL 07, 202211 MIN READ
How to create a B2B sales process: an ultimate guide

In this article, we will introduce what the B2B sales process is and why sellers should develop the sales process to boost their sales. A step-by-step guide will be provided on how to create a B2B sales process, highlighting some useful tips to improve a B2B sales process.

We will also provide information on how you can start your B2B sales on one of the world’s largest online marketplaces — Alibaba.com.

Let’s begin by understanding what a B2B sales process is.

What is the B2B sales process?

A B2B sales process is a set of steps designed to help sales reps convert prospects into customers. It’s a scalable, repeatable instruction manual for sales success.1 A well-defined sales and management process defines, quantifies, and delivers outcomes.

Your sales reps may move prospects from not knowing what they need, to paying for your solutions to address those requirements by following a sales process. Well-defined sales procedures also specify the appropriate steps to take at each stage to avoid deals falling through the cracks.

A sales process may serve as a road map for your sales staff, guiding prospects through the various stages of the sales cycle until they convert into customers.

Why should you develop a B2B sales process?

Having processes in place to define common stages and goals that any team member can follow to accomplish desired outcomes is a critical component of any sales team's success. The only statistic your sales managers can assess if your sales team does not follow a sales process is the number of transactions closed and their value. When your sales team misses targets, you have no means of knowing what went wrong or where it went wrong.

You can track your team's performance at every stage of the sales cycle and help them improve if you have a sales process in place. For instance, you may discover that your sales team is fantastic at giving pitches but struggle with objection handling. You can now provide them with greater direction and training on how to deal with objections more effectively.

Establishing a sales process for sales professionals improves the quality of each customer's experience and distinguishes the value of a sales team's interactions with buyers.

5 steps to create a B2B sales process

B2B sales process

If you're creating a formal sales process for the first time, make sure it's adaptable and follows your customers' buying journey. Go over the procedures that your sales team takes to sketch out your sales process. To determine what works, what doesn't, and how these stages assist you to reach your company goals, try to understand how each of these steps affects the stakeholders - business, sales team, and customers.

Here are five steps to creating a B2B sales process:

1. Begin with your end goal in mind and work backward

Determine where you want to go in order to determine the best route to your destination. This implies that in order to determine which phases must be included in your sales process, you must first determine what you want to accomplish at the end of each step or stage.

For example, you may set targets like shortening the duration of the sales cycle or boosting your win rates by a few percentage points.

2. Include all internal stakeholders in the process

When setting targets for your sales teams, it's critical to include them, as well as any other departments or team members that have an influence on sales, such as the marketing or product design teams.

Share the goals you've set with them and obtain their feedback on whether they're working or need to be tweaked. Getting all of these stakeholders on the same page guarantees that their procedures and actions eventually line with your sales objectives.

3. Define the steps in the sale process

A typical sales process progresses from prospecting to collecting feedback and nurturing the customer-supplier relationship. Here are seven steps that you could define in the sales process. Keep in mind, however, that the sequence and elements of each phase of your sales process will vary depending on your business type, industry, products and services, typical customer journeys, and other factors.

  1. Prospecting - to put it another way, generating leads. Lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to your business and increasing their interest through nurturing, all with the end goal of converting them into a customer.2
  2. Preparation/research - learn more about your target audience, conduct research, and practice your pitch. You and your team can run simulations and come up with questions that the prospect might ask.
  3. Approaching/connecting - it's the stage where you make contact with potential customers. You may utilize a variety of contact methods, including email, phone calls, and social media. Keep in mind that you aren't giving your whole sales presentation at this point.

    You've recently made contact with your prospect and want to set up a meeting with him or her to go through the offer in further depth. Make your message concise and clear. You may start qualifying your lead from this initial interaction.

  4. Demonstrate your product - The product is a pain reliever. Sell the method you use to address the problem, not the product; the product is only a means to an end. Create a mental vision of their company's future once they've used your product.

    To better understand your client’s demands, pay attention to them and ask questions. Keep in mind that throughout the presentation, you are also marketing yourself, therefore your body language, for example, might impact the sale.

  5. Objection handling - This is the stage when you must overcome and manage any objections raised by your prospect. Try to be a good listener, reassuring them that their issues are genuine and that you are aware of them, and demonstrating how your product is a suitable fit and how you would solve their concerns.

    It isn't only for unqualified leads. Even the most enthusiastic prospects will have reservations or reservations, such as the price is too high or the terms aren't appropriate. Don't be intimidated; simply listen and provide the reassurance they require.

  6. Closing the deal - The most awaited, but not the final stage. Your closing style is determined by the attitude and manner of the prospect. It is your main objective.

    So, if the meeting went well and everything is in order, there's no need for a second one only to clear things up or finalize the transaction. However, keep in mind that just because a transaction isn't closed at the first meeting doesn't imply it's finished. The B2B sales cycle continues until either a deal is completed or a prospect declines to proceed.

  7. Seeking references/following up - Great job, you've made it to the end of the process. You have a new client now that you've closed a deal, and your connection with him or her is growing. Ideally, they would be delighted with your services and will suggest you to others. You can even ask for referrals from them, but not shortly after the sale is closed. Allow yourself and them some time.

Additionally, consider the following while planning out the phases of your sales process:

  • Which sales strategies have shown to be successful in the past?
  • Which measures did not appear to be particularly beneficial?
  • Which stages do prospects often drop out of?
  • How long does it take your sales team to get from one step to the next?
  • Which teams may help (and how) during each phase of the sales process?

4. Align with the buyer's journey

You now have a general outline of the sales process that your team follows. Write down the activities that your consumers normally do against each phase of the sales process. This might be for a single customer persona or multiple customer personas. This will enable you to identify how closely your sales process is linked with the real buyer journey, as well as how you can improve the two.

5. Experiment, test, and fine-tune

Implement and track your sales process after you've built it. As your sales professionals go through the process, they should keep track of what's working, what isn't, and how your prospects react to each stage. You'll be able to pinpoint areas of strength and improvement over time. Gradually fine-tune the procedure until you achieve the desired outcomes.

7 tips to improve a B2B sales process

B2B sales process

In the past, the B2B sales process was much simpler. When looking for a solution, a buyer would find a vendor, speak with a salesperson about their requirements, and then seek advice from decision-makers. If they were happy, they’d shake hands on a deal.

For vendors, marketing would generate leads, which sales would then contact and close. It was a linear buying process. However, the internet has imploded the complexity of the B2B sales process, as it has in most industries.

Sales and marketing teams are getting increasingly intertwined. Both now play a coordinating role in generating qualified leads and completing agreements.

Buyers have unprecedented levels of control in today's B2B sales process. They have complete control over how they enter and exit the funnel, how they retreat from the point of purchase, and how they change between phases.

The B2B sales process has evolved from a linear funnel to a multi-platform approach with a zig-zagging number of touchpoints with buyers.

So, what can B2B companies do about it?

A flexible sales process allows you to adapt it to changing demands and objectives. Keep in mind that what worked in the past might not work anymore. The core framework of the process you are following does not need to change or get more complex. Simply consider the steps and elements that may be modified to increase the efficiency of each process.

To continually improve your sales process, follow these best practices:

1. Take a look at your current sales process

Dissect your current sales process, just like you did when you initially created it, to see where changes are needed and how you can assist your sales team to perform better. You can listen to the previous 10 calls or sit in on prospect calls to see how your reps engage with prospects in practice.

2. Create and share best practices

Get advice from industry experts and even your own top salespeople. You can replicate what top performers are doing correctly across your whole sales team to maximize their output by knowing what they are doing well.

3. Analyze your processes from the buyer's point of view

Is your sales process in line with the discovery and purchasing experience of your ideal buyer? Do you know what their problems are and why they're seeking a product like yours? Understanding these factors may help you create your sales process so that your team has all of the knowledge and tools they need to build great relationships and sell your products to meet the demands of customers.

4. Investigate pipeline issues

To figure out why deals are becoming stuck in your pipeline, you must first figure out where your sales professionals are having trouble. They may not always come to you with their problems, so ask them and remove bottlenecks as soon as possible.

5. Provide actions to accelerate sales process steps

Determine what motivates potential customers to advance to the next stage of the B2B sales funnel. It might be anything from bringing up their concerns at the appropriate moment to successfully resolving their problems.

6. Provide the sales team with the necessary resources

There are a variety of sales enablement tools and intelligent customer management systems that may assist your sales force in following the sales process more efficient and closing more deals faster.

7. Regularly measure the result

Measuring the right metrics to understand where the process may be modified to improve efficiency is the key to refining your sales process.

Now that we have reviewed what a B2B sales process is, including steps on how you can create one, with tips on how you can improve the process for maximum success — let’s discuss how you can start your B2B sales journey.

Start your B2B sales on Alibaba.com

The eCommerce opportunity for B2B sales is six times larger than the opportunity for B2C (Business to Consumer).3 The B2B industry, like B2C, is undergoing a digital transformation.

If you opt to sell your products on a global eCommerce platform like Alibaba.com, you can avoid much of the stress and complexity of the B2B sales process. You won't have to worry about prospecting because the businesses are already available.

Alibaba.com provides you with the exposure you require for your business, enabling you to reach more businesses, boost your product sales and build new customer relationships. Open an account and start selling today.

References:
1. https://www.cognism.com/blog/8-stages-b2b-sales-process
2. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/beginner-inbound-lead-generation-guide-ht
3. https://queenschamber.glueup.com/event/selling-b2b-with-alibaba-com-19404/

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