How to create a strong B2B sales process
- Reinforce basic knowledge
- Ask your team what they need
- Plan it out
- Train your team
- Implement automation
- Practice and improve
- Leverage Jotform for the B2B sales process
With business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce sales reaching $2.19 trillion in 2020, it’s clear sales drive the world. That staggering number shows that — even while we’re still grappling with market uncertainty — B2B sales are more vital than ever.
But even with strong customer demand, sales efforts in your B2B business will fall short without a formalized and strong sales process — a foundation that organizes tasks and touchpoints to better align with your goals. In 2015, the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a formal sales process earned 28 percent more revenue than those without one.
Whether you sell online or in person, there’s always room to construct a process that will help you reach your revenue goals. Here are a few tips for creating a strong B2B sales process.
No matter how long you’ve worked in sales, your process is only as good as your knowledge. The first step to building a B2B sales process is to learn as much as you can about such processes. Plenty of books, podcasts, and blogs cover B2B sales and give advice for the different stages of the process, including lead generation, prospecting, qualification, and closing.
Share these resources with your team and discuss them often. When everyone learns together, your team will improve. A culture of continuous learning promotes teamwork, a spirit of excellence, and innovative ideas.
Observe how your team currently works to identify gaps in their knowledge. Note any inefficient practices that aren’t getting results, such as inconsistent customer communication. Compare your observations to the ideals from your knowledge base and then work with team members to make them better.
B2B sales isn’t easy. In fact, a 2020 study by Sales Insight Lab found that 54 percent of salespeople believe it’s harder to meet prospects now than it was five years ago. And 61 percent believe it’s harder to sell.
This is why you should ask your sales representatives what they think should be in the sales process. Perhaps they want a better customer relationship management system, or maybe they need more guidance on how to deal with frustrating clients.
Don’t feel beholden to strict B2B sales process standards — feel free to add steps that fit your team and remove those that don’t. Your process will be more successful if your sales representatives feel they’ve played a part in building it.
Technically, you already have a process — it just may be dysfunctional or untenable for long-term growth. Once you fully understand the basics and your team’s needs, you can begin to formalize a stronger sales process.
Start by drawing out the process and detailing what must happen in each step, who has what responsibilities, and which tools everyone needs. Speak with managers and stakeholders about what works best for the company as you refine the details. Also, share progress with your team and ask for their input. After a few meetings, you should be ready to share the new process.
The best strategy to create a B2B sales process that will stick is to equip your sales team to handle it.
Some teams will need additional training to reinforce concepts and understand their responsibilities within a new or improved process. If some oppose the changes, emphasize that the point of improving your sales process is not only to make the company more profitable but also to better satisfy customers.
Though they can’t see your process, both customers and industry peers can feel the results — like miscommunication and missed opportunities — of a weak one.
While you put a lot of work into processes, they should ultimately run in the background. Your sales professionals should concentrate on customers more than anything else. In essence, the less you notice your B2B sales process, the better it’s working for you.
To avoid drowning in tasks, consider automating the process. Many sales automation programs take care of the most tedious tasks, such as lead generation, follow-up emails, initial customer contact, and data measurement.
In the modern workplace, managers can’t afford to waste their employees’ time on manual processes. It may take a while to get used to a program, but the results will be almost immediate.
Your process may look adequate on paper, but unforeseen circumstances will always pop up — no matter how prepared you and your team are.
For example, you may have instituted a way to handle discount approvals only to find you can’t apply it equally to all customers. Or a long-time customer may expect a deeper discount on repeat orders than a newer customer who’s still negotiating. Be willing to carefully modify the rules.
Record as much data as you can to measure your improvement. Your automation program will be especially useful for this, but you should also ask your team to record their personal statistics. Comparing your current data to your key performance indicators and goals gives you concrete evidence of how your process is working and what you need to change.
When sales representatives are juggling customers at different points in the sales funnel, they need tools that keep up. Jotform provides just that, starting with online forms.
From e-commerce forms and sales order forms to sales contracts, Jotform’s customizable online form templates make it easy for sales managers to handle the glut of information they receive at every stage of the B2B sales process. And these forms can serve as the basis of your B2B workflows with Jotform Approvals, which offers several approval process templates for your sales processes.
To analyze your processes, try Jotform Tables, a database-spreadsheet hybrid tool that organizes form information into easy-to-read formats and can even serve as a customer relationship management center. Plus, you can expand Jotform’s flexibility and functionality with integrations to many different tools, including CRMs and payment processors.
Your B2B sales process is the backbone of your revenue and your ultimate resource. With automation and a willingness to improve, your company will attract the customers you want and need.
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