Building an Effective B2B Sales Process

Mar 29, 2024 | Listen

Building an Effective B2B Sales Process

A well-structured sales process is a cornerstone of B2B growth. It helps you and your team take control of the journey of your customers through your sales funnel – from initial interest to locking in the sale. 

But because B2B operations are more complex, expect to see the same thing in your sales funnel.  You’ll  have to deal with more decision makers, follow their procurement processes and your sales cycles will become much longer. 

If you don’t have a solid sales process, it can get stressful and confusing and may even lead to overwhelmed teams, missed opportunities, and lost sales. 

So what can you do to get everything organized and in place? How can you regain control of your sales process?  Are there specific tailor-fit solutions for these B2B sales funnel challenges?

and how do you streamline your sales processes so it can get you the best leads – and sales – for your growing business?

 Liz Heiman: Expert Sales Operating System Architect

In today’s episode, our guest Liz Heiman, offers invaluable insights into optimizing your sales resources for maximum efficiency and growth. She shares actionable strategies that will align your sales efforts with what your customer needs, so the path between prospecting to closing deals will actually run smoothly.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

04:06 The four key stages of B2B sales funnels 

15:56  Balancing quantity vs. quality in B2B prospecting

18:58  Addressing sales and marketing misalignment

25:35 The role of buyer personas

34:53 Actionable steps to take to streamline your B2B sales processes


The four key stages of B2B sales funnels 

1. Prospecting

This first stage is when you identify potential clients or look at opportunities within existing relationships. 

2. Qualifying

Once you have identified leads you need to assess them to make sure that they are a good fit with your products or services. You can also check if they find your price points acceptable  affordability, and how quickly or urgently they need your business.

Only prospects that meet this qualifying criteria should move forward in the sales funnel.

3. Cultivating

This is the crucial stage where you focus your efforts on engaging with your clients, their management and other stakeholders. This is when you address their concerns – even before a sale – and customize proposals to meet their specific needs. This is when you build trust with your customers because it will lay the foundation for successful closures.

4. Closing

The final stage is when you formalize deals by securing agreements and payments. Take note though that this process can be complex and take longer than expected due to your client’s legal and procurement processes.

So that last stage of closing, it isn't done. It isn't sold. You don't get a commission. You don't mark it off as done until you actually have whatever it is that you consider closed, a contract and potentially payment.

Balancing quantity vs. quality in B2B prospecting

Balancing quantity versus quality in B2B prospecting can be challenging. It involves both sales development reps (SDRs) and marketing funnels. SDRs need clear guidelines so they can avoid wasting time on low-quality leads. 

At the same time, marketing metrics should focus on genuine prospects, not just activity because activity does not always equal opportunity. For example, the number of downloads does not always mean that your lead is ready to engage. This can result in misguided outreach efforts and frustration for both SDRs and prospects alike.  

Make sure you define what makes a qualified lead to prevent sales teams from chasing unproductive leads. Your sales and marketing efforts should be aligned to optimize prospecting strategies and maximize success.

The rule is that every day, every week, whatever it is, there is a certain amount of time that is prospecting time. Whatever that process is where you get prospects, that has to be happening constantly.” -Liz Heiman

Addressing sales and marketing misalignment

Your sales and marketing teams should always be on the same page. But sometimes they have different ideas about what marketing should do, which can cause problems. Make sure they collaborate and agree on their goals, like is the focus on getting new customers or keeping existing ones? 

They also need to understand the same things when it comes to measuring success, like what “conversion” means exactly. Using tools like CRM systems can help them keep track of leads from start to finish, so they know what’s working and what’s not. If both teams are not aligned and there is a continued lack of communication and agreement, they’ll keep running into the same issues.

A really important part of selling is "How does my buyer want to buy?" And if we haven't figured that out or talked to them about it? Then we are undermining ourselves in the selling process.

The role of buyer personas

Buyer personas are very important in the B2B sales funnels. Instead of creating separate funnels for different personas, you can base it on the type of company your customer is or their unique buying process. 

For example, you can categorize buyers into roles like CEO, economic buyer, technical buyer, or user buyer. This will help you know where each lead stands in the buying process as well as their authority level. 

It’s also important to be flexible. In B2B particularly, some leads move quickly through the funnel, while others may take a longer time and sometimes even skip stages altogether. 

In the end, buyer personas shape how you organize your sales process to meet the varied needs of potential customers.

Actionable steps to take to streamline your B2B sales processes

  1. Establish clear rules for your sales process. Set specific criteria for moving leads from one stage to the next and make sure everyone understands and agrees on these rules.
  1. Maximize your CRM to track leads through each stage of the funnel, and make sure to include detailed notes for reference. This helps maintain clarity and transparency across your team.
  1. Conduct regular funnel reviews so your sales team can see the status of your leads in the pipeline. Talk about the challenges they face, identify areas for improvement, and provide support where needed. These reviews are not a platform for criticism; but communication and collaboration.
  1. Assign the next actions for every lead in your funnel. Whether it’s a follow-up call, setting a meeting, or emailing a quote, make sure that each lead is actively moving forward and not stagnating to keep your sales process flowing smoothly.

Summary

  • B2B sales funnels involve four stages: prospecting, qualifying, cultivating, and closing, crucial for guiding clients.

  • Balancing quantity and quality in B2B prospecting requires clear guidelines and precise metrics.

  • Sales and marketing alignment demands collaboration, shared goals, and consistent measurement.

  • Buyer personas shape B2B sales processes, organizing them to meet diverse customer needs.

  • Streamlining B2B sales entails clear rules, CRM optimization, regular reviews, and actionable next steps.

Transcript

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About guest – Liz Heiman

CEO & Chief Sales Strategist

Regarding Sales

Liz Heiman is the Sales Operating System Architect and the founder of Regarding Sales. Liz guides “Ready-to-Scale” founders and CEOs to take the chaos out of sales and create a more sustainable growth strategy that strengthens the pipeline and streamlines their process to increase revenue predictably.

She speaks to entrepreneurs, CEOs and sales leaders about taking the chaos out of sales and creating a more sustainable growth strategy that strengthens the pipeline and streamlines the process to increase revenue predictably. 

Website: https://www.regardingsales.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizheiman/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RegardingSales

Schedule a call: https://calendly.com/regardingsales/intro

Email: Info@regardingsales.com

Download the Free Sales Funnel PDF from Liz: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aM8rTHzjBReD9rY4AZzG0XFSTN5MkSt9/view?usp=drive_link


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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