How To Approach B2B Clients In An Ever Changing Terrain
In today’s fast-paced, head swiveling B2B marketing world, one of the most important tasks to master is; how to approach B2B clients.
Your success as a B2B marketer hinges firmly on your approach to prospective clients. If your approach leaves much to be desired, then so will your results.
So, why is your approach important?
Think about it; who wants to hear a boring, long-winded sales pitch from an overzealous sales representative whose sole purpose is to get your money? I’ll tell you: no one.
Whether it’s cold calling or any of these B2B marketing strategies, we often tend to avoid salespeople. In fact, most encounters with salespeople are often awkward. The aim is to just get it over with because you’re just waiting for “the catch.”
In addition to these negative feelings about B2B marketers, it is the belief that traditional sales pitching techniques are fizzling and a thing of the past. This is a result of consumers having the power and the “know how” to find, learn, research and actually buy services and products without the use of a middleman.
Whether you are new to marketing your B2B services or you are a seasoned veteran, this article is a must-read.
Steps To Ensure Your B2B Marketing Approach Is Effective
Start at the beginning: Research
The importance of this first step in the B2B sales process cannot be overstated. This is the stage where you figure out who your target customers are, thereby being able to create a “buyer’s profile”. Do the legwork up front to save the trouble later.
Information such as founding dates, finances, culture, pain points, business types, and demographics are all a part of the buyer’s profile.
Gathering this information can seem tough at first. Also, it is likely, a tremendous amount of time will be spent trying to find the right people for your B2B business. However, once found and all information is gathered, this buyer’s profile can then be your focal point.
In times past, finding a client meant a simple phone call which, in minutes, would tell that salesperson whether to pursue that B2B lead or move on.
Well, it no longer works that way as the world of B2B has changed. A phone call is no longer enough or sometimes even needed.
In today’s evolving B2B marketing world, online is the best place to search for businesses that are likely to use your service or product. Once this “target group” has been identified, a buyer’s profile can now be created.
Over time, once you are able to refine your research methods, it will become clearer as to who your ideal customers are and where they can be found. You will not only save time but also find it much easier to get right to your target audience.
Qualifying The Received Information
At some point in your life, you may have been told that there is such a thing as asking too many questions. However, this second step in the B2B marketing process requires asking all the questions you can.
Questions lead to answers and the more answers you receive, the more opportunities you will have at your disposal to craft your pitch, and an educated pitch at that.
Do not ask what can be perceived as a stupid question.
Do not ask obvious questions.
If you have to ask a question like what the company does, then it shows that you did not do your research about said company. This is an almost guaranteed recipe for failure.
Any potential customer that you speak to, you need them to believe that you prepared to deal with them specifically.
Ask open-ended questions as these are the best questions to ask. Do not ask your potential customer “yes” and “no” questions since you want them to divulge as much information as possible. This can give you an opportunity to capitalize on the information received.
A common mistake made by B2B marketers is assuming they know everything about the buyer. Do not let this happen to you. Ask the big questions and as many questions as you can.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Have you ever spoken to a person and it felt like speaking to a wall?
Well, as a B2B marketer, the last thing you want to be is that wall.
Listening is the third step in the B2B marketing process. In your effort to adopt an improved and evolved B2B marketing strategy, ensure you are listening to the answers you’re getting from potential customers.
While questions are surely important, balancing them with listening for answers is an essential part of garnering trust and success. Clients need to feel you understand them, have their best interest at heart and not wasting their time or just trying to make a quick buck off of them.
A rule of thumb is that you should do no more than 30% of the talking. Let the buyer fill in the necessary gaps as you discreetly steer the conversation.
While it may be difficult for you to understand and adopt this important step in the sales process, especially if accustomed to the old way of doing things, the results are worth it.
How to approach B2B clients by teaching, not selling
There is an old maxim that states: “those who can’t do; teach.” The neat thing about the B2B marketing process, however, is you can do both. You can actually market yourself and your B2B products and services through teaching.
Teaching is one of the biggest B2B marketing trends currently. In fact, one way to ensure you remain at the forefront of the thoughts of potential clients is by teaching. Teach them how to do business better without seeking anything in return. This, again, elicits trust and confidence in you.
While practicing step three in the B2B marketing process, take the time to consider what your prospects need to learn and how you can be the one to teach them. Recommend a book or a course, which does not have any affiliation to you.
By doing this, you are creating a bond with the B2B lead which can lead to a preference for you and loyalty to you as a marketer. This is the power of reciprocity and you should take full advantage of it.
Closing Is Not The End Goal
This step in the B2B marketing process teaches that closing a sale should not be your only or main goal. That is if you are looking at long-term success in your industry.
Pressuring or forcing customers to buy something will ensure you never get the sale or any repeat sale possibility. Making your potential customers feel like they have to make an instant decision will only discourage and upset them. Instead, focus on qualifying your approach to selling.
Focus on finding out your potential client’s goals and what is stopping them from achieving their goals. Once this is established, figure out how your products or services can solve their problems.
Then, ask yourself if the solution you are providing your potential client is affordable.
If you cannot answer these questions or the answers are negative, then you will never close.
Hopefully, the steps outlined and explained in this article provided you with the necessary tips on how to approach b2b clients effectively and efficiently, thereby making you a more rounded marketer.
Understand that while customers ultimately wish to buy, they do not want to be sold to. This is why it is important for you to be a knowledgable and helpful B2B marketing consultant.
Make it your duty, as a B2B marketer to make your potential clients feel like they decided to buy on their own with the help of you being a trusted source.
Before you go, are you currently using this largely forgotten marketing channel to generate qualified, warm leads?