The Top 22 B2B Sales Tips For 2015 (From 14 Sales Experts)

22 B2B Sales Tips From 14 Sales ExpertsReady to improve your selling techniques?

There are hundreds and thousands of highly successful sales leaders out there. And it just so happens that we recently asked some for their best sales tips!

We took the best nuggets of wisdom we were given and put them into one helpful list. Below, you’ll find a few of my own B2B sales tips, as well as many more from others in sales. Each tip has a detailed description that shares why it’s important and how to carry it out.

22 Top B2B Sales Tips For 2015

1. Maintain a high call volume.

If you’re doing five calls a day and three of them end up being wins, imagine what you could do with fifty calls a day.

Let’s be honest: If you can make just a couple calls a day and spend the rest of the day sitting there doing nothing, and still make your commission targets each month, your boss is wasting money. You’ve been hired to handle a high amount of activity. The more calls you make, the more deals you’re likely to close—activity creates sales.

 

2. Have a good attitude, no matter what.

A good salesperson will have the resilience to keep calling, even if it’s been a bad day—whether they just keep hearing the word “no” or they’ve had a run of bad calls.

Every salesperson I’ve seen that’s worth their salt goes into their next call thinking, “This is going to be my big win for the day.” It doesn’t matter if they’ve already had a couple of wins or a couple of knock-downs, they go into the next call confidently.

Without a positive attitude, it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into a negative spiral. You start thinking, “Yesterday wasn’t that great, and today isn’t going to be either. I’m never going to make my target for this month.” If you have that kind of attitude, you’re right—you won’t make your target. Don’t defeat yourself with negativity. So put your chin up, be upbeat, and look at the day in a positive light—a good attitude will close sales far more often than any fancy product you could offer.

 

3. Don’t take no for an answer.

Sales is a game of pretty high losses, especially in telemarketing and cold calling, which means it’s unavoidable—prospects are going to say “no,” even to great salespeople.

However, the best salespeople—the ones that make target most often—don’t take “no” for an answer. In fact, they need to be told “no” five or six times before they’ll accept it. If you can turn even just 1% of your losses into wins, it will bring you that much closer to your target! So, it’s critical not to accept that first “no.” Instead, keep digging, pushing, and selling until you really get a definitive answer.

 

4. Know your prospect, but don’t go crazy.

Many people say that sales is 90% attitude and 10% preparation. To an extent, I have to agree. Yes, it is important to do your research and know about your prospects, especially before making a call. Don’t ever make the mistake of calling up a prospect with no knowledge of their business and trying to sell them something they’d never use. But, on the other hand, don’t make the mistake of going overboard with research either. Doing so actually wastes your time.

For example, do you really need to spend 10 minutes on a company’s website before making a five-minute phone call? No! That’s time poorly spent. Or, is it really helpful to know what the CEO had for breakfast when you’re trying to show him or her the value of your product? No, not at all.

Don’t misunderstand me—as I said above, there are things you should learn about your prospects, but you don’t need to know everything about them. Be wise and intentional about what you learn, and don’t waste time researching things that have no relevance to your calls.  

 

5. Believe in what you’re selling.

If you don’t sound convinced that your product is the best solution to your prospect’s problems, why should they be? You need to communicate in a way that tells the prospect you are 100% certain that this product—the one you’re selling—is the best thing to help their company.

 

6. Talk often.

Today, people drive decision-making in the B2B world. In our research, the winning companies are the ones with “high-touch” interactions—sales reps that have multiple interactions via phone and email, and in-person meetings with the buyer. Being willing to travel to a prospect gives you a boost, too.

Xand Griffin, Brand Evangelist, PeopleMetrics

 

7. Ask for feedback during the sales cycle.

This will differentiate you from other sellers. Many B2B companies are actively managing their client feedback, but according to our research, 7 in 10 buyers have never been asked for feedback on the sales experience. In fact, the same study shows that 81% of those people who hadn’t been asked said they would definitely or likely respond. This level of attention shows your potential buyer that they will be listened to and well taken care of as a client.

Xand Griffin, Brand Evangelist, PeopleMetrics

 

8. Create retargeting advertisements for your business.

If a prospective client is on your website and drops off, your branded advertisement will follow the user around for a 30-day time span. This is a great way to reinforce your marketing message and stay top of mind to your target audience. It’s also very inexpensive and delivers a great return on investment to deliver more sales.

Jason Parks, Owner, The Media Captain

 

9. Protect your reputation.

Pay serious attention to your social media profiles and updates. Almost every time you contact a prospect, they will look you up online. Will they see a polished, professional image, or a goofy, amateur snapshot? Do you risk alienating 50% of the population by ranting about politics and religion? If so, stop it!

Julie Gallaher, Owner, Get on the Map

 

10. Understand the budgets and budget cycles of your targeted demographic.

Offering a solution outside the range of the prospective customers’ budgets only makes them dissatisfied with what they can actually afford and wastes your time explaining bells and whistles to someone who can only afford to dream about them.

Susan Brown Faghani, Manager, Marketing and Sales Communication, L-Soft

 

11. Send a LinkedIn message instead of an email.

Business owners typically get dozens or even hundreds of emails a day. But, they’ll usually get 5-10 (or fewer) LinkedIn messages. That makes a LinkedIn message that much more noticeable than a typical email. There’s no guarantee your message will be read in an overflowing email inbox, but if you’re the only LinkedIn message someone receives in a day, they’re probably going to read it.

Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, FitSmallBusiness

 

12. Use targeted list building.

Technology like LinkedIn allows us to get names of the exact people we want to talk to. Work hard at getting the right list so you don’t waste time pursuing leads who are not a good fit. The advanced search tool on LinkedIn (some features are for premium subscriptions only) is incredibly powerful.

Luke Miller, Account Representative/Relational Architect, Resound Creative

 

13. Personalize your messaging.

The B2B world is overrun with spam emails and phone calls. Your messaging cannot look like all the other garbage out there—it must be personalized to cut through the noise. This is completely contrary in the world of automated sales strategies, but is vital if you want to be heard. I usually try to personalize by commenting on news related to the company, a mutual relationship, or some other way so the reader knows I’m a real person.

Luke Miller, Account Representative/Relational Architect, Resound Creative

 

14. Be responsive.

How many times have you selected a vendor because they were your first (if not only) response? Frequently, I receive feedback from prospective clients that my timely response is greatly appreciated and builds critical levels of trust. My competitors, by being slow-to-respond, help me look good. For bonus points, add value in every interaction—it amplifies the timeliness (and diminishes the perception that you’re desperate).

Kent Lewis, President & Founder, Anvil

 

15. Have a purpose for each activity.

Know what result you are expecting in each call. Know where you are in the steps of the sale. Prospects want to see a professional, proactive approach to their accounts—don’t waste their time.

Kent Lewis, President & Founder, Anvil

 

16. Learn the difference between a “suspect” and a “prospect.”

Many salespeople fail because they never learn the difference between a “suspect” and a “prospect.” Three things must be present for someone to be a prospect—someone who may need your product or service. They:

  1. Have the money.
  2. Have a real or planned need for your product or service.
  3. Have the authority to buy.

If one of these is missing, you have a “suspect” and will waste valuable time pursuing them.

Mike Smith, Founder, SalesCoaching1

 

17. Send written a thank you note.

It used to be that we all got so much direct mail that you couldn’t read it all—kind of like email is today. A handwritten note shows that you have taken the time to establish a relationship and it’s not just a copy of an email you’ve forwarded to hundreds of others. You’ll get a chance to pitch to them after they’ve received your direct mail letter.

Bob Bentz, President, Advanced Telecom Services

 

18. Never let your sales goals get in the way of success.

If your sales goals are too high, they can be discouraging and after struggling for a while, you’ll be tempted to simply give up. On the other hand, I’ve seen just as many people slack off because they’ve achieved their goal for the day, week, or month, even though they’re nowhere near their long-term goal. Sales goals need to be specific, and they need to be attainable. And, one goal you should always have is to exceed your goals by as much as possible.

Barry Maher, Principal, Barry Maher & Associates

 

19. Always have a next step.

This statement generally gets the response, “But I never know what to say.”

You need to have a repeatable process, where you always know what you’re going to do next.  So, if you’ve met someone at a networking event, have steps in place to get their business card. Ask questions like:

  • “What are your key challenges?”
  • “What would it be like if you overcame those challenges?”
  • “What do you want in your work situation?”
  • “I’ve written an article on the subject that I think you’d find useful. If you give me your card I’ll send you a copy.”
  • “May I call you to get your thoughts on the article?”

When following up after you’ve sent the article, don’t try and sell your prospect anything. Instead, try and get them to agree to a more formal meeting, where you can discuss their challenges in detail and tell them about what you do.

Kevin Oubridge, Director, Blue Chip Coaching Limited

 

20. Connect, convince, and collaborate.

Sellers that win do a better job:

  1. Connecting the needs of the buyer with their offerings as solutions to those needs, and connecting with buyers as people.
  2. Convincing buyers that the rewards are worth pursuing, the risks are worth taking, and buying from them is the best choice.
  3. Educating buyers with new ideas and perspectives and directly collaborating with buyers like they are “working to achieve shared goals as if they are on the same team.”

Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group, and Bestselling Author of “Insight Selling”

 

21. Conduct a “share of wallet” or “percentage penetration” analysis on your customers.

It’s hard work getting account managers to even guess at these figures, but the dividends can be huge.

One of our clients, with a revenue of $60 million, found an additional $14.5 million from just their top five customers. We’d carried out a customer satisfaction survey for them, and of these top five, only one had any issues—the rest were satisfied. They simply needed to go and ask for more business. The one that had issues needed to have a local sales rep sent out, which, in the big picture, cost very little. (To get started, here’s some detail on how to sell to your existing customers.)

John Coldwell, Managing Director, InfoQuest CRM Ltd.

 

22. Don’t just rely on emails.

I tend to use a double-barreled approach when I’m pitching for a prospect’s business—I’ll send them a proposal and call them instantly to let them know I’ve sent it. This adds another touch point for them and means your email won’t be forgotten. Sometimes I’ll call them to go through the proposal over the phone. This allows you to work through their thoughts and potentially close some business there and then.

Working this way, especially in the early stages, builds a lot of trust and differentiates you from your competition. Clients love to work with people that are proactive, and this is a great way to show that.

Seb Dean, Sales Director, The Imaginaire Online Ltd

 

What are your thoughts on these B2B sales tips? Is there anything you’d add? Let us know and it may be featured in an updated version of this article.



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  • Barb Osier Breeser

    This is a terrific list, both a shot in the arm and a kick in the rear. It reinforces the importance of a positive attitude and a steady system for reaching out, keeping in touch and following up. Thanks