Business-to-business (B2B) sales are transactions between two or more businesses. In a B2B sale, the buyer purchases goods and services for use in their business operations, not for personal consumption.
Unlike traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, the B2B selling experience requires a particular focus on building relationships, understanding customer needs, and providing targeted solutions.
What is the B2B Selling Experience?
The B2B selling experience is the entire sales process one business must go through to gain another business as a client.
From the sales reps’ perspective, it can seem like a long and daunting process. Still, with proper planning and execution, it enables sales reps to become more connected with their customers’ needs and expectations, allowing them to provide robust solutions to meet those needs.
The B2B selling experience is characterized by the following:
- Longer Sales Cycles: While direct-to-consumer and B2C sales often involve a shorter sales cycle due to the immediacy of end-user purchases, the B2B sales cycle tends to be longer. This requires reps to build longer and deeper relationships with prospects before closing a deal.
- Complex Solutions: Due to the nature of the transactions, B2B sales involve a much higher degree of complexity. As such, sales reps must be able to understand and explain complex pricing models and solutions in order for prospects to make informed decisions on their purchases.
- Relational Selling: B2B selling relies heavily on long-term relationships between buyers and sellers. This requires sales reps to build trust and credibility with customer contacts to establish a lasting bond.
- Focus on Consulting: B2B buyers need more than just a product or service—they need expertise and advice from qualified experts. As such, sales reps should strive to incorporate a consulting mindset into their interactions with prospects in order to best position themselves as trusted advisors.
- Larger Deal Sizes: Due to the complexity of B2B deals, the average contract value (ACV) tends to be larger and requires more customization than consumer-facing products or services.
The success of B2B selling lies in the ability of the sales rep to build trust between themselves and potential clients and provide a frictionless sales process.
To attract and retain top sales talent, sales leaders do their part to make the internal selling experience as positive as possible.
This includes providing relevant training and development opportunities, curating a supportive company culture, investing in the right technologies to streamline the selling process, and offering a competitive compensation plan.
- B2B Seller Experience – Sales reps face nuances and complexities when working with B2B customers.
- B2B Sales Process – The unique sales process that B2B sales teams must go through to obtain and secure new business.
- B2B Sales Cycle – The timeline for a B2B sale, from the initial lead generation stage through to closing a deal.
The Importance of an Empowering B2B Seller Experience
When it comes to retaining top sales talent, a positive B2B seller experience is essential.
There are a few glaring reasons why top talent leaves a sales team:
- Too much time spent on non-sales activities: 32% of a sales rep’s time is spent looking for and entering missing data. Other non-sales activities like proposal creation and administrative tasks also detract from valuable time spent on actual sales activities.
- Poor onboarding processes: Sales onboarding sets new sales team members up for success. Without a clear pathway to success within the company, most sales talent will leave within a few weeks or months. But 69% of reps are more likely to stay with a company for three or more years with an effective onboarding program.
- Unrealistic quotas: Salespeople are more likely to leave due to unrealistic quotas than they are to be influenced by their overall earning potential, research shows. When managers and team leads set overly ambitious goals, sales reps can feel overwhelmed and undervalued.
- Overcomplicated sales processes: A study from Bain found that when B2B companies make their sales model more complicated, they see an additional 40-60% turnover in sales talent.
Because they spend much of their time on non-selling activities, a sales rep’s experience within the sales organization is just as critical as the one they have while making sales.
Challenges of the B2B Selling Process
In B2B sales organizations, reps face numerous challenges. The complexity of the B2B selling process requires better understanding and more efficient processes to close deals.
- Qualifying Leads: B2B sales reps must qualify leads properly as they enter the sales funnel. This includes analyzing customer needs and understanding budget capacity, decision-making criteria, and timeline expectations.
- Product Knowledge: Sales reps are expected to have an in-depth understanding of their products and services and the competitive landscape. Customers rely on sales reps to provide expert advice when making purchase decisions—making product knowledge essential for success.
- Lengthy Sales Cycles: The average B2B sales cycle can range from a few weeks to several months, and sometimes even up to a year for enterprise sales.
- Customization: B2B selling strategies are often highly tailored to customer needs and expectations at every step of the customer journey, making the sales process more complex than selling in a B2C setting.
- Making Final Deals: Closing a deal involves more than just a signature. Sales reps must be able to negotiate pricing, payment terms, discounts, delivery dates, and other details of the sale.
Creating an Effective B2B Selling Experience
When a new rep enters a sales organization, they don’t know what to expect. That’s why it’s important for sales managers to create a practical B2B selling experience by providing the tools, support and resources needed to succeed in sales.
1. Creating a sales playbook
The first step in crafting the best possible selling experience for reps is creating a sales playbook that outlines everything they should know to ramp up as quickly as possible.
A solid sales playbook should include:
- Onboarding information
- Information about the company, its products, and its ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Guidelines for sales processes, messaging, and objection handling
- B2B sales strategies (i.e., sales methodologies)
- Data-driven insights on target customers
- Sales scripts, guides, and templates
It should also include resources for staying up to date with industry trends and customer needs.
2. Building an effective onboarding program
For salespeople to stay with a company long-term, it’s critical that they have an effective onboarding program.
This should include formal and informal training sessions so new reps can quickly learn their way around the sales process and which B2B sales technique works best.
It should also involve practical activities such as role-playing conversations with prospects to help reps become more comfortable in real-life sales scenarios.
3. Sourcing from the right talent pool
Often, companies struggle to find the right sales talent. Recruitment is an often overlooked challenge in creating a positive B2B sales experience.
The exact type of candidate a sales org needs will vary from company to company, but there are some essential best practices to follow when sourcing suitable talent:
- Focus on diversity, including non-sales backgrounds
- Look for candidates who can think outside the box
- Prioritize soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving ability
- Use data to pinpoint potential sales superstars
4. Leveraging technology
Sales automation solves the majority of sales reps’ problems with the B2B selling experience—any tool that makes it easier for them to do their job will be welcomed.
Sales automation tools are designed to streamline processes, centralize customer data, and manage communications throughout the sales cycle. Commonly used tools include CRM software, lead management systems, email tracking tools, proposal generators, and analytics platforms.
Sales Enablement Tools to Improve the B2B Selling Experience
Sales enablement is a crucial element of the B2B selling experience. Sales enablement tools make it easier for reps to close deals and build customer relationships by giving them access to the right content, insights, and data at the right time.
Common sales enablement tools include:
CRM software is the Holy Grail of sales enablement, helping reps track leads, manage accounts, and measure performance.
Every sales organization has its own unique CRM needs, so it’s important to choose a platform that is tailored for your specific team.
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software allows reps to quickly and accurately generate quotes for their customers. This eliminates tedious manual work, freeing up reps to focus on more value-adding activities.
Digital Sales Room (DealRoom)
When it comes to closing deals, digital sales room platforms like DealRoom are a must. DealRooms enable reps to provide personalized experiences to prospects by giving them access to resources such as product demos, customer case studies, and quotes.
Sales engagement platforms (SEPs) are designed to help reps engage more effectively with their prospects. SEPs typically provide features such as email tracking, automated outreach, and communication templates—all of which make it easier for reps to build relationships and stay in touch with customers.
Centralizing content for easy access is another essential part of sales enablement. Content management systems (CMSs) allow reps to quickly and easily find the resources they need to succeed in their job, including product information, customer success stories, and proposal templates.
Mobile-Friendly Sales Tools
Creating a unified digital experience is essential for modern selling. Mobile-friendly sales tools like mobile CRM software allow reps to access customer data, track deals, and generate quotes from anywhere.
People Also Ask
What does B2B sales experience mean?
B2B sales experience refers to the processes and activities that enable reps to build relationships with customers, close deals, and generate revenue in a B2B environment.
This includes sourcing from the right talent pool, leveraging technology, creating a supportive company culture, and using sales enablement tools.
How do you transform your B2B selling experience?
Transforming your B2B selling experience starts with leveraging the right technology, such as automation tools, sales enablement platforms, and mobile-friendly sales tools.
Additionally, sourcing from the right talent pool, focusing on soft skills instead of a sales background, and using data to pinpoint potential superstars will help create a better B2B selling experience.