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B2B Sales Strategies to Accelerate the Recovery



Most sales managers we talk to believe that the worst is over.  However, when we discuss the issue with them, it becomes clear that their renewed confidence derives from improvements in selling as much as in general market conditions.

In this post we summarise some of the ways that these forward looking organisations have changed the way they sell to accelerate their sales recovery.

  1. Making Sales A Team Sport: Get everybody in the organisation involved in your next campaign (and we mean everybody who has contact with customers).  Working as a team means you can nurture the veritable gold mine of contacts held in various places through-out your organisation – email address books, business card holders and spreadsheets
  2. Involving Customers In Campaigns. When your customers talk on your behalf customers listen.  When they refer or introduce you then your sales cycle can be greatly reduced.  Referrals are like gold dust, but is your team asking existing customers for referrals?   It is amazing how many people forget to ask for a referral, in our experience six out of ten sales people don’t ask for them consistently.
  3. Adopting A Multi-touch Approach: Managers are forever telling us they tried telemarketing and it did not work.  The same applies to email newsletters and all the other ‘old reliables’. The result is that they have been quickly dropped.  Here is the big secret however, traditional lead generation sources that are applied once off and in isolation are sure to disappoint.  The key to success is a ‘multi-touch’, ‘multi-contact approach’.
  4. Looking Beyond This Quarter: Unless you are to keep the contact going, then don’t start it.  It takes more than one or two interactions with a contact to generate any form of interest, or response.  This is particularly so in a market environment where silence from the customer often indicates that the customer is not ready, as opposed to not interested.  To generate demand, contact with your target customer must be ongoing – it must look beyond this quarter.
  5. Saying Something Interesting.  Most marketing is falling into the nuisance category as far as buyers are concerned.  Yet, the occasional email, or cold call that gets through often fails to grab the buyer’s interest.  The problem is that most sales campaigns don’t have something interesting to say.  Those that rely on the value proposition or standard features and benefits message are sure to fail.  Buyers want valuable information – not partisan marketing blurb.  That means sellers must be able to share insights and tell interesting and relevant stories, regarding, for example, what others in their industry are doing.
  6. Change the way you sell: Buying has changed forever, not only as a result of the recession, but a fundamental shift in how organizations make buying decisions.  Attempting to control the buyer with a slick process WON’T work. That is because today’s buyers are more independent, self contained and in control than every before. Most buying decisions, for example, require a business case – something that traditional sales presentations and proposals do not take into consideration.

salesperson-role-changed buyers-newsflash

How effective are these changed sales strategies.

Well, they appear to be having an important psychological advantage for the sales teams in question, in addition to what is, in many cases, a significant impact on numbers.

Did you like the post? Come on, leave a comment below!



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The Author:

John O’ Gorman is a Business to Business sales coach who works with sales teams and sales managers across Europe to pinpoint sales performance opportunities and barriers to growth. John has recently co-authored “The B2B Sales Revolution - http://b2bsalesrevolution.com/” and “Quick Win B2B Selling”. The B2B Sales Revolution is the first ever book written on selling in conjunction with buyers from Fortune 1000 organizations. http://b2bsalesrevolution.com/

Add Your Comment

  • Virginia

    I agree, social media marketing is an easy and cheap way to promote your company but it is important to be focused and follow a well-defined strategy otherwise you may end up generating a bad image of your own business. Know who you want to approach, how, when and why. And yes, be optimistic!

  • http://www.VisiActive.com Frank Daly

    Although the use of business social media is a growing trend globally and it has noted by Gartner Group as number 6 in its top 10 strategic technologies for 2010, its still worth noting that only slightly more than 50% of the Fortune 100 companies use Twitter and only 30 percent of them use a blog.

    I’m not sure if corresponding figures for Irish companies are available, however its probably safe to say that it may be some time before social media marketing reaches the majority of the Irish market, so I guess that traditional marketing methods will continue to dominate for now.

    Companies and customers need to adopt social media tools before you can engage them, using it. and smaller companies are more likely to adopt them earlier than larger companies.

    Also, everyone has a postbox, a TV, can read printed material, and large majority have an email address, however social media marketing’s impact will be constrained until Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media applications are regularly used by a high percentage of the population. This will happen, in time but not overnight.

  • Anonymous

    Donagh, it is interesting that marketers place such high emphasis on the role of social networks and social media in the marketing mix. Gartner’s recent Hype Cycle Report suggests that technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and Internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users,” said Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner Fellow, and co-author of the book “Mastering the Hype Cycle” (published by Harvard Business Press).

    Click here to obtain a copy of the report: http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=1108412&subref=simplesearch

    Perhaps it is that marketers are ahead of the curve and everybody else has yet to catch up.

    Una Coleman
    t: unacoleman
    http://www.codegaconsulting.com/blog/78-emerging-trends-in-technology.html

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    John, The key point here is that successful sales organisations realise the value in taking a step back and analysing there overall sales strategy – if it’s not working, fix it.

    There are a number of sales organisations however who employ a more head in the sand approach, there solution is to do more activity – more of the same equals a different result??

  • Anonymous

    Hi Niall, as you say more of the same won’t work. As we know all to well buyers have changed the way they buy so the old ways of selling will be ineffective. We all need to put ourselves in the buyer’s shoes.

    I have come across a pretty large sales team over the past few days with lots of activity, it’s not very effective so the challenge is as you say to step back and refocus efforts. In this case the fact that activity is high is better than no activity at all.

    All the best
    John

  • http://www.nrn.ie/ John

    Hi Donagh, very interesting post. Do you have a link to the research by Center for Media Research that you refer to.