B2B, or business-to-business sales, is a type of sales model that focuses on selling products or services to other businesses. It differs from B2C, or business-to-consumer sales, which involves the sale of goods to consumers.
B2B selling requires a different sales strategy than B2C sales, and there are challenges unique to B2B sales. For instance, selling to a B2C buyer often involves targeting emotions and temporary needs to influence purchasing decisions. However, B2B buyers often make decisions based on logic. How can the product or service benefit their business for years to come? What kind of edge does it give them over the competition?
Top 6 Challenges in B2B Sales and Their Solutions
Let’s look at the main challenges in B2B sales and how your company can overcome them.
1. Identifying Qualified Leads
Research shows that 40 percent of salespeople consider sales prospecting to be one of the biggest challenges in the B2B sales process. It involves identifying potential customers and reaching out to convert them to buyers.
Business owners and salespeople often have a broad network that includes other company owners, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those connections will buy their products or services.
This often means salespeople have to start from scratch to find leads. This is easier said than done—if you even know what sort of leads to look for.
Solution: Before the sales team starts contacting prospects, develop B2B buyer personas. Buyer personas are research-based profiles that describe your ideal B2B client. They help you gain insights such as:
- Prospects’ needs and goals for their business
- How they prefer to be contacted (email, phone, in-person, etc.)
- Challenges in their business
- Position in the company
These serve as blueprints for developing guidelines on reaching out and converting leads to buyers.
2. Catching Lead’s Attention in Cold Calls
One of the top challenges in B2B sales—and in B2C, too—is getting a prospect’s attention during a cold call and successfully converting. What makes cold calling difficult is that the sales team contacts someone who has never interacted with them before. The prospect might not have the authority to decide at the moment, and there’s always the chance that they’ll shoot down the sales pitch before it can even get started.
So how can you make sure that the prospect pays attention when you cold call them?
Solution: Studies show that being too assertive deters over 80 percent of leads from buying into the caller’s sales pitch. You can avoid this with a trained call center sales team that doesn’t push the product on the first call. After all, it’s not likely that they’ll buy the product or service right away.
Instead, the team will focus on getting to know the prospect—what their company culture is about, their goals, and their business’ needs—before giving a short intro on the product. Having a cold caller that’s a good listener can create a great first impression with the lead that makes them open to more calls in the future.
3. Booking an Appointment with the Prospect
After the caller has gotten the prospect’s attention, the next B2B sales challenge is setting up an appointment to discuss the product or service in further detail.
However, B2B leads are likely to have a stacked work schedule, so the sales team’s job is to attract the prospect enough to prioritize the meeting. The team has to make sure that they’ve got openings in their schedule for another appointment too.
Solution: If the sales team took the time to listen and understand the prospect’s side during previous calls, they’ve likely learned about the business’ pain points as well. Pain points are particular problems faced by the lead, such as workflow or operational cost issues.
The team can bring these points up and tell the lead that they have something (the product or service) that could help with the problem. This makes the meeting appealing because:
- It shows your salesperson genuinely listened to the prospect.
- It demonstrates that the sales team cares about the prospect’s needs.
- The appeal of alleviating the pain point is attractive.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, the sales team can use an appointment-scheduling tool. It’ll give the prospect the freedom to choose the most convenient meeting time out of all the slots available to them. Appointment schedulers also save both the caller and the lead’s time when agreeing on a suitable date.
4. Enduring Long Sales Cycles
A sales cycle refers to the different stages in the sales process, from generating leads to reaching out to prospects, delivering sales pitches, and eventually converting the prospect to a client.
B2B sales cycles often take longer than B2C cycles. While a B2C sales cycle might take just a few minutes or hours to complete, B2B can go as long as several days, weeks, or even months. This is often caused by several factors, such as:
- More research is needed before the prospect can actually be contacted for the first time.
- The business has many decision-makers deliberating on whether to buy the product or service.
- It may take several calls, emails, or face-to-face meetings before the deal can close.
- The B2B buyer has to stick to a timetable before they can make the purchase.
Solution: Because it can take a long time before a prospect moves on to the next stage of the cycle, it’s the sales team’s responsibility to keep nurturing their relationship with them. One of the ways they can continue engaging with prospects is by scheduling follow-ups every couple of weeks or months. This way, they can still connect with the leads without neglecting other prospects that have already advanced to the next sales cycle stage.
5. Revealing the Price
A major challenge in B2B sales is disclosing the product or service’s price to the prospect. First, there’s the matter of when to disclose pricing information, and then there’s the issue of how to keep the lead from leaving once they know the price.
Solution: The prospect is more likely to break away if they learn about the prices without knowing if the product or service’s special features and perks are worth the money. As such, the sales team should reveal the product’s price only after they’ve clearly explained how it can bring more value to the lead’s business compared to other similar products that might be cheaper.
Should the prospect still hesitate to close the deal due to budget constraints, the sales team could also offer a customized package that has the features they need while staying within budget.
6. Mitigating a Poor Client Retention Rate
Getting new prospects isn’t the only task that B2B sales teams worry about. They have to work on retaining existing clients as well. Keeping a client can save your business from having to go through the effort of yet another B2B sales cycle.
Solution: Assigning experienced sales team members to handle existing B2B client accounts gives you a better chance of maintaining a good relationship with clients. These sales reps will be more knowledgeable on keeping the client happy, whether by helping them identify new pain points or modifying their current product or service package.
A trained call center sales team will also assess their performance for shortcomings to help them improve on their customer retention methods.
Struggling with B2B Sales? ROI Is Here to Help
Identifying your business’ challenges in B2B sales is the first step to improving your sales team’s performance and achieving the sales goals you’ve set for the organization. But if your business has trouble handling its B2B sales needs on its own, it might be time to get in touch with a third party that has sales experience and can provide qualified personnel.
ROI Call Center Solutions has a highly trained call center team that can collect data to understand your target audience and generate qualified leads. We also engage with prospects and existing customers to help improve your business’ performance and retention rates.
For more details on our B2B call center services, you can contact us on our website or call (877) 542-4465.