The B2B sales process — it’s a maze, a labyrinth.
You can easily get lost while trying to wrap your head around this dynamic cycle. To help, we’ve created a brief guide on the stages of B2B sales process — both inbound and outbound, best practices, and tools to accelerate the process.
You’ll also get a look at monday sales CRM, the ultimate tool to manage and track your contacts and optimize your sales process.
What is the B2B sales process?
A B2B sales process is a series of steps that salespeople create to sell a product or service to another business. It typically starts from prospecting and ends when the deal is closed. A B2B sales process can also include post-sales actions (especially in B2B SaaS).
The length of the sales cycle varies according to the method of approach, individual buyer, and contract value. According to Hubspot, the average length of a B2B sales cycle is 84 days — approximately two and a half months.
You need a clearly defined sales process for your B2B organization because it encourages consistency among sales reps, builds transparency, creates a predictable system for the team, and ultimately generates better ROI.
Based on lead generation, there are two types of B2B sales processes — outbound and inbound.
Outbound sales process
Outbound sales is when sales professionals actively search for ideal customers, launch outreach efforts, and drive sales.
Here are the main stages of outbound sales:
Prospecting: With the help of lead generation strategies like PPC ads, SEO, and email marketing, find companies who will be interested in buying your product or service.
Preparation: Research your prospects, understand their pain points, who the decision makers are, and find out how you can establish trust.
Connecting: Set up initial contact with prospects through their preferred method of communication.
Presentation: Present your sales pitch and do a product demo, if applicable. Actively listen to the prospect’s needs and respond accordingly.
Address objections: Be prepared for any objections, listen attentively, and show that you truly understand their concerns.
Closing: The deal gets closed once the customer signs the contract and you receive the payment.
Inbound sales process
B2B leads who initiate the first contact with the company go through a whole different sales process. Inbound sales cycle is also shorter and cost-effective. A recent report shows that inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads.
The sales process that inbound B2B buyers go through is based on certain sets of discrete tasks that customers must satisfactorily complete. Gartner termed these “buying jobs.”
Here’s how the inbound sales process looks like from the buyer’s perspective:
Problem identification: Buyer understands they have a problem that needs a solution.
Solution exploration: Starts searching for ways to solve the problem mainly through organic search, social media, and referrals.
Requirements building: Confirms what solution the company needs and decides the specific features needed.
Supplier selection: Compares different companies to finalize their buying decision.
Validation: Buyer tries to validate their decision by looking for social proof like reviews or case studies.
Consensus creation: Getting the decision maker(s) onboard to make the purchase.
For each of these steps, there are tactical ways that your sales team can use to speed up the sales process.
B2B vs. B2C sales: the difference
B2C is a business model where businesses sell products directly to individual consumers for. Both B2B and B2C salespeople follow a selling process to connect with prospective clients. However, they are different in many technical aspects.
Firstly, B2B sales come with a comparatively high price point and longer sales cycle.High price points in B2B products and services means higher level of trust needs to be established for successful sales, thus resulting in a more complex sales process.
In most B2C sales cycles, there’s only one decision maker. This is not the case in B2B. There are multiple stakeholders with decision-making abilities — which means a longer sales pipeline. Buyers go through multiple touchpoints before they convert.
Another distinction in B2B sales is that purchase decisions are made rationally, and not based on emotions.
Tools for B2B sales
According to LinkedIn’s sales report, 76% of B2B salespeople say that sales technology is “critical” or “extremely critical” in closing deals. Making use of technology can help you speed up your sales efforts and make your life easier as a sales professional.
Here’s a list of tools available in the market that you can consider:
Buyer enablement platform: A buyer-centric platform that aligns selling with buying.
Performance management tool: Manage your team’s performance and understand factors that deliver the biggest impact on your sales velocity.
Forecasting tool: Accurately predict future sales growth based on your potential leads.
Communicating platforms: Streamline all outreach workflows from different medium under one platform and automate post-sales processes.
Content management platforms: Organize and manage all sales, marketing, and training content.
Customer Relationship Manager (CRM): A platform that helps you manage the time and resources necessary to build effective sales and marketing processes. Many of the functions of the above-mentioned tools can be centralized with a CRM software.
monday sales CRM help you manage all stages of your sales cycle and unite sales communication. Other sales tools can be integrated so that your team can streamline workflows from a single platform.
Best practices of B2B sales
Here are a few general tips to create a successful sales process for your company:
Clearly define your ideal customer and ensure your sales team knows it. Get to know their key challenges and the decision points.
Acquire warm leads through inbound marketing. Make sure you have good systems in place to guide inbound leads to sales.
Train your sales team regularly.
Personalize customer journey.
Use case studies, testimonials, and other social proof to convert prospects who are further down the sales funnel.
Automate manual and repetitive tasks so that you can use more of your time to find and convert prospects.
Constantly analyze your sales process based on customer feedback and data. Translate it into better sales pitches and post-sales interactions.
- Consider target-account based selling (TAS)
Dominate B2B sales with monday sales CRM
With monday sales CRM, sales teams can spend less time on administrative tasks and more on optimizing the sales cycle, improving customer journey, and closing deals.
With an intuitive interface, every stage of the sales process can be customized and visually represented in a single tab. It’s easy to update and provides visibility to all stakeholders.
With monday sales CRM, your sales team can:
- Track long B2B sales pipelines with clarity by visualizing stages
- Store contact information of customers and prospects
- Get visibility in one view
- Bring all your sales materials in one place and access them easily
Frequently asked questions
How to increase B2B sales?
There are different strategies you can follow to increase B2B sales. All these revolve around acquiring better leads. Once you define your ideal prospect, make a list of companies that would benefit from your product. Align sales and marketing teams to get high-quality leads. Invest in inbound sales to get leads who are highly interested in your product.
What is B2B sales experience?
The experience customers get when they buy from a B2B company is called B2B sales experience. The prospecting stage, deal closing, onboarding, customer support, and all other interactions with your company come under sales experience. More B2B buyers expect personalized experiences from companies based on their specific needs.
What are examples of B2B sales?
The most common examples of B2B sales are companies that provide software services (B2B SaaS), companies that provide professional services, and companies that distribute raw materials.
Design a successful sales process with monday sales CRM
There are many factors, actors and complexities to be considered in the B2B sales process that rewards a consultative, collaborative approach. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution or process that works in every organization.
monday sales CRM can bring value by streamlining the sales process across all departments for heightened productivity, closing deals faster, and improving all other processes involved in the sales cycle.