How to increase B2B sales: 5 factors you should keep in mind

b2bIn our previous article we talked about how reinforcing your top of funnel can increase your SaaS sales. That’s important because more and more prospects today are researching about a product prior to contacting the vendor. In fact, the Google CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council reported that 57% of the purchase has already been completed, that is, a buyer has formed an opinion about the product long before he calls you. That’s why you need to build a rock-solid credibility online.

We also talked about that one fast and effective way to achieve this is by getting a stamp of trust from a review site as your social proof. For instance, FinancesOnline.com has a Verified Quality Seal that is awarded to software that demonstrates overall quality of features and excellence in customer service, plus the vendor exemplifies proven legitimacy and reliability. This seal is displayed on your product review page on our site, but you can also post it on your website or social media channels to reinforce your credibility. A vendor that can show this type of trust seal can generate 14% more sales.

Building user trust aside, this time let’s take a look at other ways that inform you how to increase B2B sales. Specifically, here are five ways to improve your sales and marketing process to help you accelerate growth.

1. Make sure your sales and marketing are aligned

It sounds obvious but it’s not uncommon that sales and marketing teams have their own funnels with their respective terminologies to add to the confusion. Even if they are using the same process, accoring Pamela Vaughan of Hubspot sales and marketing can have different views of a single funnel because of mistrust and miscommunication between the two traditionally polarized teams. This is unfortunate because in a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies whose marketing and sales are aligned experience 20% annual revenue growth, while those with misaligned teams saw a decline in sales by 4%.

So, how do you align both teams? One way is to use a single funnel with clear-cut definitions of each step. The funnel should encompass the whole process from raw leads to conversion. To ensure the ideal customer is being targeted properly, marketing should qualify the leads that sales should pursue. Likewise, all sales-accepted leads should also be qualified by marketing to identify the opportunities out of these leads. You should also quantify the leads, that is, set a goal for the number of marketing qualified leads (MQL) per month and follow-ups made by sales on MQL. This way it’s clear which team is falling behind the target. A good CRM software should address these issues.

How HubSpot ensures its marketing and sales are looking at the same funnel

How HubSpot ensures its marketing and sales are looking at the same funnel

2. Simplify your sales process

The fewer steps you have from qualified lead to conversion the easier to track and measure success rate or identify and address bottlenecks. In general, if you have five steps or above to convert a qualified lead, that’s one step too many. Most sales reps would rather take on a prospect brimming with promise, than track an open-ended opportunity. With each step added you’re also adding the need for more tracking; hence, the likelier it is that sales reps will lose interest on these opportunities. Likewise, the more steps you have the more muddled the funnel can get. Looking where an opportunity is lost is also more difficult. One great way to cut down on sales steps is to utilize a CRM system. Even a small business today has access to the most robust CRM software, thanks to the proliferation of low-capital, high-value SaaS solutions.

Read more:  Top 10 Alternatives to Procore: Leading Construction Management Systems

3. Does your CRM match your sales process?

CRM is a powerful way to identify opportunities and qualify leads in your web, live chat, phone, email, and social media customer interactions; in short, increase your sales. For instance, it can reveal to you a random IM message from a web visitor, which you can later draw into the funnel. You can also identify who among the current customers is primed for an upsell. The opportunities to unlock leads are only limited by your creativity.

But before you get a CRM software, make sure it matches your sales process. Often, the most robust CRM software isn’t suitable for a small business because you might not need all the features you’re paying for. To get the CRM software with the best fit, take a closer look at your sales process. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Can the CRM accommodate your order process?
  • Can it analyze customer data that you want to focus on (example, phone calls, IM messages, email metrics, etc.)?
  • Can you add more features based on your strategy or growth projection?

One effective and efficient way to discover the best-fitting CRM solution for your business is to check B2B software directories. For example, our review system at FinancesOnline.com will make searching for a good CRM easier because of our proprietary SmartScore System that aggregates factors such as overall functionalities, customization, integration, customer support, and mobility and comes up with a score between 1 to 10. At the same time, our Customer Satisfaction Algorithm collates user reviews, comments, and opinions across the Internet and calculates an overall rating. Both features give you a quick assessment about the software and save you time.

Proprietary scoring system by a review site helps B2B buyers get a quick assessment of the product

Proprietary scoring system of a review site helps B2B buyers get a quick assessment of the product

4. Cross-sell to your existing clients

Did you know that less than 10% of B2B clients buy the whole package that vendors offer? That’s a goldmine at your doorstep. Imagine if you could convert at least 10% of those to buy more from you. You just increased your sales by 10% without looking for new customers. The most common reasons why B2B companies don’t upsell as much are:

  • Sales reps are not trained or afraid to go around existing customers
  • Sales reps are not trained or afraid to talk to the customer’s other key decision makers
  • Customers have limited knowledge about vendor’s other products because of vendor’s lack of strong positioning of its key messages

With a good CRM program and open communication with active clients you can unlock these upsell opportunities. Open communication means constantly engaging active customers with new updates or plans about your product that can benefit them. For instance, instead of merely announcing a new mobile tool for your helpdesk software, show them how this tool can improve their customer service. Better yet, cite case studies that your customers can relate to. This is where your content marketing should kick in. With a steady stream of content about the B2B landscape, your customers are regularly connected to you even in between sales pitches. You’re, in fact, building a long-term relationship and trust by adding value to your client communication. When the time comes to upsell, it’s easier to get their attention since they have developed this connection with you.

Read more:  Detailed Review of Freshdesk: An Award-Winning Help Desk Software

If you don’t have time to develop and execute a content calendar–Content Marketing Institute reported that developing engaging content with consistency and lack of skilled staff such as writers and researchers are one of the main chalenges faced by B2B marketers–simply tap a specialist B2B marketer like which has an editorial team that can help you create engaging B2B news, stories, analysis, opinion, and more. For example, have a look at detailed reviews and press releases we prepared for Freshbooks. This solution can save you a ton of time and allow you to easily create quality content about your product. Even more so, because such content is created by independent writers it will look more trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.

Here's our media release about FreshBooks achievements published on Yahoo! Finance.

Here’s our media release about FreshBooks achievements published on Yahoo! Finance.

5. Measure the right key metrics

Kissmetrics reported that, to track your business growth better and implement adjustments where needed, you should measure no more than five key metrics. The most important factor it said is the monthly recurring revenue (MRR). It makes sense to check how much you’re losing or earning month over month, right? Well, not exactly said Jason Lemkin, a high-profile SaaS marketer. MRR, he said, is a reasonable metric, but it’s not enough because it only shows your present growth, not the future. If you want to see where your sales is heading one, two, or three years from now, Lemkin advised to track your lead velocity. This is the rate of how much you churn out qualified leads month over month. In short, it’s the growth area that you create each month. If your lead velocity slows down, so, too, does your growth; conversely, if it picks up, expect your sales to grow at a faster rate. As long as your lead velocity is maintained your business is on steady growth. However, if your MRR and lead velocity close in, that means your sales are plateauing. It’s time to seek more growth areas. Without knowing your lead velocity, you might miss the urgency to seek new markets.

CONCLUSION

We hope this article answers the question, “How to increase B2B sales?” As the B2B market gets crowded, the more marketers need to seek new strategies to ensure their steady growth. But sometimes, re-visiting old-school techniques like the ones we mentioned above is just as effective. If your sales are going nowhere for a few months now, it’s time to take up some or all of the tips we shared.

Category: B2B News

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also Comments Feed via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Page last modified