Key Account Managers: How to Deliver the 1-2 Punch for Making the Salein Key Account Management /
In B2B, how do you make a sale? Long lead times, choosy customers, and long-term commitments all contribute to a difficult sales environment. But, you can still overcome it and make the sale when you take the right actions at the right time.
Don’t Start Out Selling
If you engage a B2B client with sales talk and the numbers right away, there’s a good chance you’ll scare them away before making any actual progress with the sale. It’s usually not a good idea to start out with the sales pitch in the beginning of the B2B selling process, whether they are a new client or an existing client. Instead, you need to spend time building a good reputation and credibility with them first.
Begin by engaging the buyer is make sure you fully understand their needs. Listen to what they have to say and get familiar with their goals and intentions in buying your products or services. By listening to your clients and asking the right questions, you can get the information you need to make the sale more relevant to their needs, which will make you a more attractive vendor.
Credibility also makes you a stronger option in the line-up of vendors because the buyer will already be more familiar with you and what you can do. This will work to your advantage when it comes time for the buyer to select a vendor to work with, even if they don’t immediately choose to work with you.
Engage the Buyer’s Emotions
Emotions play a strong role in the buying process, so it’s important to acknowledge that and use it to your best advantage. Don’t ignore the impact of emotions on buyers. Instead, work with them.
Start out by using your knowledge of their goals and intentions, as well as your own independent research, to speak to the pain points they are experiencing. Identify the largest pain points that your company solves and how your product or service solves it. Relate this back to the buyer’s goals and desires they expressed already, because they are more likely to buy something that will advance their progress rather than just solve a problem.
Talk about the potential consequences of not going through with the sale, focusing on the consequences the buyer will experience. If they don’t make the sale with you, what negatives are they likely to encounter? When operating without your product or service in the future, what hindrances or negative consequences are they likely to face that would have been eliminated if they made the purchase?
Finally, speak to the positives that they will gain from working with you in this sale. Talk about the improvements they will see once they start working with you, which should be directly opposite of the consequences of not working with you, with the addition of a few more positives. It’s good to mention the positives that can come from a partnership. But, avoiding pain can sometimes be a stronger motivation for a buyer than gaining something good.
Offer Up Case Studies
Case studies can be a compelling way to show the successes that other customers have had when working with you. It’s best if you have case studies that are somehow related to the specific buyer, such as case studies from other customers in the same or related industries. When a potential buyer can see the success another customer had using your product, it can convince them to also give you a try.
Give the Buyer Multiple Options
You want the buyer to feel like they’re in control of the whole process. You can promote this feeling by giving them multiple options to choose from, with or without a specific recommendation. One way many companies have success with this is by using the so-called sandwich theory.
The sandwich theory says that you should give the buyer between 3 – 5 options, with one in the middle as the most preferred option from most other customers. You should make it known which choice is the most preferred by other customers, but don’t try to force it. Include options of greater and lesser value on both sides, so that the buyer can see the range they can choose from.
It’s important that you don’t give too many options to choose from, because it can become overwhelming and make the buyer indecisive. With a few options to look at, they can feel like they’re taking the choice that makes the most sense for them without ignoring the other options that are available. For many buyers, it’s easier to accept an option that they choose for themselves, even if there are only a few limited options given.
Provide the Buyer a Safety Net
Buyers will be able to make a decision more immediately if you offer them a way out of a bad deal. A safety net of some sort, as long as it’s appropriate for your product or service, is a good way to encourage an immediate sale. If the buyer takes time to go and think about the purchase, you may lose the sale to someone else. A purchase safety net gives them less reason to hesitate and more incentive to buy from you.
Safety nets can be anything that will make the buyer more secure in their purchase if things go wrong or if the purchase doesn’t fulfill their needs. A common example is a 30-day money back guarantee. In practice, it allows a buyer to try out the product or service risk-free for at least 30 days before they make a final decision. If at any point during that 30 days they are unsatisfied with what they bought, they will get their money back.
Whatever type of safety net you offer, make sure it apples well to your product. It should match well with the product and suit the buyer’s needs well in order to be compelling enough for the buyer to make an immediate purchase decision.
Look for small commitments from the buyer before they make the large purchase, and follow up with them to keep them engaged. Try to get them saying “yes” as often as possible, even if it’s only for a small step before the sale, such as a trial run of a SaaS product or a free sample of a product. Once they have committed to these small things, follow up and keep coming back to the sale. Bring them back into the conversation about making a larger purchase.
Following up with buyers can lead to a much higher rater of purchase. Buyers give up on making a purchase for a number of reasons, whether it’s disinterest, forgetfulness, or even issues with price. It’s your job to make the first move every time to try to draw them back in again and address any concerns they may have, or simply remind them about the purchase and why they should make it. Consistent follow-up can make a huge difference when you’re trying to convert a lead into a customer.
It’s not easy to make a sale in any B2B industry. If you have the right tactics, you can make it a little easier for yourself and become more persuasive to potential buyers. Sales is all about taking the right steps at the right time, and these steps can help you get more out of your leads.
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.