We know that B2B selling can be challenging especially with so many competitors with similar products. As competition gets tougher and products start to lose their unique attributes, you will need to come up with new sources of value for your buyers. Identifying the rational and emotional elements that impact a B2B sell is the first step to come up with a value added proposition.
In this article you will find out what makes B2B sales different and why you should approach them in a different way than B2C. Additionally we’ll show you the categories where you can level-up your value proposition. After this, you’ll be able to identify which value elements matter the most to your buyers and how to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Finally, we’ll provide you with a strategy to deliver an impressive customer experience and increase your B2B sales!
What are B2B Sales?
Before introducing you to the value elements of B2B sales, you need to understand what makes B2B selling different from other sales. The B2B sell consists of one business offering its products or services to another business. What makes B2B sales different boils down to four factors: a longer sales cycle, professional buyers,multiple decision makers, and higher sales volume.
But don’t be intimidated, we’re here to help you close more deals and craft your own B2B selling strategy!
Bottom-Up B2B Sales Strategy: 40 Elements of Value to increase your Sales
So now that you know what B2B sales means, you are ready to uncover the elements that matter the most to B2B buyers. These elements are part of a five-level pyramid where the elements at the bottom are the most objective ones, and as you move up the elements turn more subjective and personal. Remember that even in B2B sales, decision makers choose with their emotions and justify their choice with logic. Keep in mind subjective elements can be the turning point to close a deal.
Read on to learn the 5 Categories of Value Elements.
1. Table Stakes Elements
These elements are at the pyramid’s base and are nonnegotiable, so you will need to make sure that they are part of your B2B selling strategy. The elements in this level include meeting specifications, having an acceptable price, agreeing with regulations and respecting ethical standards.
2. Functional Elements
The elements in the second level of the value pyramid are focused on meeting your prospect’s economic needs (such as cost reduction and improving sales) and on how your product’s performance (quality, innovation and scalability) aligns with their business metrics. B2B sales have traditionally focused on these elements, but there are other ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
3. Ease of doing Business Elements
In the third-level, you will come across with subjective elements associated to the buyer-seller relationship. These elements involve a good cultural fit and the sellers’ commitment, stability, responsiveness and expertise. Nevertheless, there are also objective elements like productivity (time savings, reduced effort, transparency, and information), operational performance (simplification, organization, integration, and connection), access to the products (availability, variety and configurability) and a strategic component (risk reduction, reach, flexibility and component quality).
Altogether, these elements make business between companies less complicated. For example, from your buyer’s perspective, it’s easier to work with an enterprise that shares their values and understands them, because they can trust that their suppliers will deliver them what they need. Moreover, the capacity of your product to integrate with your buyers’ system makes selling way more manageable.
4. Individual Elements
In this category you will bump into authentic subjective elements linked to the individual buyers’ personal and career needs. The personal elements are related to fun and perks, growth and development, reducing anxiety and appealing design/aesthetics. The career elements include reputational assurance, increased marketability and network expansion. All together, these elements can be decisive for your B2B sell.
5. Inspirational Elements
At the top of the pyramid the elements get even more personal. They are related with improving the buyer’s vision of the future (like delivering market insights), giving them hope and helping their company’s social responsibility.
However, it’s important to never lose sight of the most fundamental needs of your buyers. Sales strategists should tackle their customers by using both objective and subjective elements. This is especially important in a B2B sales context where competition keeps intensifying and closing a deal becomes increasingly rare.
How to integrate the B2B selling elements into your sales strategy?
To get to the bottom of what your buyers truly value, you’ll need to find out as much information about their needs as possible.This will give you an idea of which areas you need to focus on to deliver an outstanding customer experience. You can even bring to light new elements to your value proposition.
Doing this will also help you pick up on differences between what you thought were value elements and what your customers actually care about. Always remember to base your sales strategy on your buyers’ point-of-view. Keep in mind that no matter how well your product works, if the purchasing process and technical support aren’t good enough, it’ll be hard for you to close the deal.
If you're part of a field sales team, you should double-check that your sales enablement tools eliminate scheduling labor. You need to be able to focus on the sales activities that create the most value for your customers. To increase your productivity and stop spending time in routine tasks we recommend for you to use sales enablement apps like Badger Maps. For example, this app empowers salespeople to eliminate scheduling labour and allows sales managers to be in touch with their team movements in real-time. By using an app like this, you and your team will have more time to take care of your customers’ needs.
5 Steps You Need to Take to Build Your Sales Team
We know that as a sales manager, you care about improving your team’s outcome. By following these 5 steps you’ll be able to outperform in your sales strategy and deliver your customers the best experience!
1. Benchmarking: Understanding how your product performs against competitors will reveal insights that will help you lay out your strategy. This will also help you to measure the impact of your new sales strategy.
2. Talking to customers: Follow-ups provide insight about your customers’ needs and their causes of satisfaction and frustration. Remember that in B2B sales, there are usually always multiple people involved in all buying decisions, particularly at big companies. So you will need to pile up the feedback from everyone on the buying team.
At times it can be complicated to have record of every encounter you and your sales reps have had with potential customers. One good way of keeping track of all the interactions would be to take advantage of something like the Badger Maps check-ins feature. This will provide the means for you to gather the right data from your reps in the field and to get detailed insights that you can take action on.
3. Think of new ways to communicate value: Use what you’ve learned from the benchmark surveys and interviews to carry out an ideation session. We recommend that you invite product planners, pricing experts, salespeople, service representatives, other customer-facing staff and even your customers. It’s always better to have a mix of participants so that you have multiple points of view. You’ll be surprised by the flow of ideas!
5. Refining, testing, and learning: You will need to look over the best ideas and contrast them with your company’s resources. This will give you a clue on how prepared you are to achieve your strategy. Don’t forget to adjust your value proposition with the customer’s experience and make sure to communicate your strategy to everyone in your sales team.
6. Applying the final test: As with anything in business, you’ll need to evaluate if the changes you’ve made are actually delivering the results you wanted. You’ll need to measure your actual performance against your expected results. We recommend you repeat your original benchmark research and compare your position to your competitors. This way you’ll be able to adjust your strategy and make the correct changes.
Your team is now ready to deliver exceptional customer experiences. You’ll stand out from your competitors and your team will crush their quota!