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Yes, B2B sales is hard. But the silver lining is that B2B e-commerce sales in the US are about to hit $1.8 trillion in 2023.
It means you need an in-depth understanding of the B2B sales process, the psychology behind successful sales, and a bulletproof plan to succeed.
Keep on reading to learn what B2B sales is, how it is different from B2C sales, and B2B sales examples to help you create money-making b2B sales strategies and sell like a pro.
B2B sales or business-to-business sales is the process of selling products/services to other businesses, rather than selling to individual consumers. Essentially, B2B sales can be divided in three categories, based on their sales model:
Supply sales is when a manufacturer or a supplier sells products to help support other businesses. For example, selling office supplies, equipment, uniforms, etc.
These businesses are much similar to B2C businesses, except the quantity and the purchase authorization process.
Example: Staples, Lyreco, etc.
Wholesalers or distributors sell retail products, raw materials, or manufacturing components to other businesses.
Companies like Sysco and JJ Foods are examples of wholesale/distribution companies.
The third type is software sales where a service provider company sells a service or online tool or software (SaaS) to other businesses.
For example, Smartlead is a SaaS business that sells a cold emailing tool to other businesses. Some other popular examples of service/software sales businesses are HubSpot, Quickbooks, Slack, Zoho, Salesforce, etc.
B2B companies usually sell in larger quantities than their B2C counterparts, but the selling process is lengthy and complex as B2B sales involve multiple decision-makers for a purchase.
A B2B sales funnel is a representation of the buyer’s journey. A B2B sales funnel visualizes the stages of a buyer’s journey and indicates the likelihood of making a purchase and the B2B sales cycle by analyzing various aspects.
Usually, a B2B sales funnel is made of 4-7 steps. Let’s take a look at how a 7-step B2B sales funnel looks like:
We have already talked about the three major types of B2B sales. Now let’s take a closer look at each type of B2B sales in detail and give examples of the renowned companies participating in these types of sales.
Companies that participate in supply sales, sell consumables, office inventory, equipment, or stationery to other businesses to help them operate smoothly. As we have already discussed, supply sales is very similar to B2C sales.
The major difference is in the quantity of the product you are selling. For instance, a machinery company that makes forklifts will try to sell their clients (other businesses) multiple at a time instead of selling one.
The other difference is in the decision-making process. In B2C sales, the consumer is the only decision maker for a purchase. But in case of B2C selling, there are usually multiple decision-makers involved in the purchasing.
Even in the era of social media, emailing is still the most reliable prospecting medium for B2B sales reps. In fact, a study has shown that 72% of people want to be contacted via email for business.
Email marketing helps you segment your audience based on preferences, keep in touch with your prospecting clients, build credibility and trust, and even close a deal. And with a cold emailing tool like Smartlead, you can send automated emails to your audiences to see better conversion rates. You can set custom conditional email sending triggers and automate your entire follow-up sequence.
Here are a few tips to up your email marketing game:
The second type of B2B sales is wholesale or distribution sales. In this category, wholesalers sell raw materials or key manufacturing components to other businesses. For example, a food wholesaler company sells raw food materials (raw meat, cooking ingredients, rice, etc.) to restaurants and hotels. Similarly, a mobile circuit making company sells their circuits to mobile companies, which are further used to make phones.
Large scale manufacturers and retailers (ideal customers in the wholesale or distribution space) pay very close attention to the products they are buying. And naturally, B2B buyers are skeptical about new players in the market.
So if you want to sell to major manufacturers and retailers, you need to build connections with key decision-makers in these respective companies. The best way to build connections with various businesses is by investing in a CRM platform.
A CRM and email marketing tool will help you store prospect data, set follow-up emails, and nurture the leads into buying your product. You can easily automate all these tasks with an automation tool.
CRM tools like HubSpot and Salesforce are trusted by thousands of businesses.
Also read: Best Sales Automation Tools in 2023
Not every B2B company sells products. In fact, a major portion of B2B companies are either selling service or software to help other businesses perform better.
Software as service or SaaS businesses build online tools to sell subscriptions to other businesses. For example, cold emailing tools, sales automation tools, CRMs, etc.
Some popular SaaS brands are HubSpot, Salesforce, Smartlead, Smartwriter, Zendesk, Ahrefs, Semrus, Moz, etc.
Unlike traditional B2B businesses, SaaS businesses have a scope of selling through various channels – social media and email to name a few. The first thing you should do is start a blog from your website and publish informative and valuable content regularly.
Ranking on SERP can impact your lead generation positively. Besides, you can host webinars to generate high-quality leads.
Make sure you repurpose your blog content from various channels such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also connect with decision-makers in your target companies via LinkedIn, build a connection, and sell your software or service.
There are numerous B2B sales techniques and sales methodologies. While all of them might be effective, not every strategy will be fit for your business based on your target audience, the industry you are in, and many more factors.
Here are some of the most popular B2B sales techniques used by most B2B companies, irrespective of their industry:
To check if a B2B sales technique positively impacts a business, B2B sales teams identify and measure KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs are performance metrics used to assess performance of a sales organization with different parameters such as efficiency and profitability. KPIs are also used to stay up-to-date with new industry trends.
Some B2B sales KPIs are:
We have already named a few B2B businesses in each of the categories, but what about the biggest ones. Let’s take a look at them:
Here are some essential tips to improve your B2B sales efforts:
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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
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Active leads are the contacts you upload in Smartlead, similar to contacts in HubSpot; if you upload 1000 leads to a campaign, they are considered 1000 active leads. If you upload similar leads to a new campaign, they are not considered a “new active lead” as they already exist in our system.
We don’t offer mailboxes yet. You need to get your own dedicated list of mailboxes using popular providers like Gmail, Outlook, Zoho, and others that exist in the market. Once you get them, follow our detailed guides to connect them quickly.
Absolutely, one of our most popular guides can be found right here. It's been used by a large percentage of users to go from zero to cold emailing experts. Covering all topics from email infrastructure to copywriting and lead sourcing.
No, Smartlead has over 200,000 highly reputed mailboxes connected. The advantage you get along with naturalized AI conversations is access to aged domains you will never find in any warmup tool.
It is used popularly by agencies to automate their entire lead generation process as well as to connect Smartlead to external tools to push and pull data from. You can also connect to 1000s of apps using Zapier.
Anyone that can close deals from demos will succeed with Smartlead. It works for Sales companies, Marketing agencies, SaaS businesses, Recruitment, and offline companies (like construction).
We do not provide you with leads. You will need to use other data providers. These leads can be automatically added to Smartlead using our API or bulk uploaded via our CSV upload system.
We're building native integrations with Hubspot, Salesforce, Close, Pipedrive, and many more. The best part, due to our open API and Webhook infrastructure, you can connect to any CRM in the world without an issue.
You can add an unlimited number of team members, as well as assign them roles and authority access.
Yes, it's common for many people to move to Custom plans after a few weeks. You can view all the options for up to 10M leads on the subscription page once you sign up for free.