Selling to other businesses can require a very different approach to selling to consumers. The shorthand iterms are B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). At the end of the day both groups are buying goods and services from you, but the motivations, processes and marketing tactics are likely to be very different.
Whether you’re considering starting a B2B company or already run one, here are some tips to keep in mind to help you increase B2B sales.
Target the decision-maker
In B2C the purchaser is straightforward, it is the person in front of you or your website. In B2B, especially if you offer big ticket items, the decision-making process may involve several people. The person you see first is likely to be gathering information to present to the real decision-maker.
A direct connection with the ultimate decision-maker is important for securing the sale. Try to find out who the decision-maker is. If the company is small then go directly to the top. If a straightforward phone call doesn’t work, you could offer a free sample, or a demonstration or presentation. You can also use targeted online advertising, by job title and location, to get your marketing information in front of the right people and warm them to your product prior to a sales communication.
Build Trust with Your Website
Just like consumers, business customers don’t want to be blindsided by extra costs added on at the end of the buying process. Whether you’re selling equipment to businesses or an online service, being upfront and transparent about costs at every step of the process is crucial to building trust with your customers. If you run an eCommerce website directed at business customers, bear in mind that cart abandonment is still high when shipping and any other costs are added on suddenly at the end. Making any shipping costs apparent from the start of the process allows customers to know exactly what they can expect to spend and avoids any surprises at the last moment.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback is important in both the B2C and B2B industries, but B2B customers, in particular, tend to prefer getting feedback and recommendations to read through before they decide which brand to buy from or which product to choose. Make sure that it is easy for all your customers to leave reviews on Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot and embed reviews into your website so that prospective customers can easily find them.
As B2B can also be a more relationship-based way of doing business, you should also make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and, where appropriate, look to connect with customers on the platform.
B2B often means that you have fewer customers who buy more and buy more regularly. Customer service, and relationship-building in those cases, is key. Make sure to follow-up with customers and invite feedback. Make them feel special with, for example, a customer newsletter, Christmas and birthday gifts and customer-only events and offers.
If your B2B outlet is online then following up with website visitors whenever you can is also important. A good way to do this is by offering an incentive for signing up to a mailing list on your website, so that even if a visitor doesn’t buy something during their visit, you are now able to contact them and send them useful information to help them with their research and ultimately their decision. And, following up with visitors who have successfully converted into customers on your website allows you to encourage repeat sales and boost your relationship.
Whether you’re selling products or services to business owners online or in person, understanding your customer’s needs and building relationships is the key to successful B2B sales.