This April up your Sales & Marketing efforts! Follow along here for winning strategies.
Business-to-Business (B2B) selling requires an entirely unique approach to direct-to-consumer selling.
With advice for nailing your B2B sales strategy is Zipho Sikhakhane who dedicates her time to helping some of the country’s biggest organisations to solve their most pressing challenges, including mastering their sales strategies.
Sikhakhane is a speaker, writer, strategist, and investor. She is the founder of EMZ Advisory & Investments, a training, advisory and investment firm.
Before launching her consulting firm, Sikhakhane who was the first black South African to obtain an MBA in Business Administration from Stanford University in the US, held various strategic and management positions in organisations around the world, including global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company and Johannesburg-based retail group, Edcon.
“The challenge with B2B in South Africa is that the world of business is very small. There is therefore that much pressure to make sure that your offering and customer experience is consistent,” she says.
Design your offering in a way that comes across as a partnership, not a one-off deal for winning a single transaction
Make the most of every lead. Here are Sikhakhane’s top 5 strategies for B2B selling.
1. Build relationships
In B2B sales the focus should be less on the closing sale and more on establishing a relationship with the client.
“Sometimes in the rush to close off a deal there is a tendency of skipping the opportunity to get to know the client better. What I mean is actually going beyond the key client contact and actually meeting the decision-makers and the management team of that organisation. This helps you in not only increasing the quality of personal relationships with the client, but it also helps you understand their business better,” Sikhakhane says.
2. Think long-term
Consider your business client interactions as long-term commitments rather than short-term transactions, says Sikhakhane.
“Oftentimes transactions with an individual can be one-off, but with a business they can be long-term repeat business. The way to tap into that opportunity is to design your offering in a way that comes across as a partnership, not a one-off deal for winning a single transaction with them. This long-term mentality might steer you towards co-creating business terms that result in win-win situations, instead of a win-lose set up – which is not sustainable in the long term.”
3. Keep the customer as the focus
While there are differences between B2B and B2C selling, Sikhakhane says what the two do have in common is the customer has to remain at the centre of your focus.
“This means treat each business in the same way that you would treat any other end user and be consistent at it,” she says.
4. Cross sell, cross sell, cross sell,
Limited leads mean you have to make the most of each one, says Sikhane. One of the ways entrepreneurs can do this is by cross selling.
“Businesses are complicated in many ways and it can actually help the entrepreneur to go out there and figure out what they can sell to the same client that has been buying their primary product. This can be far more profitable than trying to find new clients for your existing products. An existing client, with a proven success record with your current product is more likely to be open to additional product opportunities that you are bringing into the market because you have a pre-existing level of trust with them.”
5. Take care of the legal work
Remember that a contract of sale is a legal contract, says Sikhakhane.
“Entrepreneurs are quick to make the mistake of not having the right paperwork in place when they start working with businesses. It is important to make sure that the right contract is in place and that critical documents such as outlining the scope of work that is being paid for or signing confidentiality agreements is critical.”