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We’ve talked plenty about how the B2B buying process has changed - buyers are becoming younger, more informed and more collaborative with their teams in reaching purchasing decisions. But many businesses have yet to change alongside their buyers.
Transitioning to a new way of selling will be a gradual process for your B2B business. There are many different factors you’ll need to take into consideration, all of which will impact on how you formulate your new selling strategy.
In the previous part of this series, we looked at what the New Rules of Selling mean for your business, and how you’ll need to adapt to succeed in a changing B2B environment. But once you know what needs to change, you’ll have to develop a strong strategy to help your business make the transition. We’ve identified 6 key steps to developing your new sales strategy.
The key to developing your new sales strategy is being able to effectively identify your ideal customers. You’ll need to be able to use data to identify target audiences and build strong customer personas .
Many businesses often generalise their customer base with an ‘anyone is our customer’ approach, or identify only one persona. To adopt the new rules of selling, you’ll need to identify multiple, detailed personas that can inform your strategy and direction.
You’ll need to be able to target your identified customer personas with useful and valuable content. This is where knowing your customer well becomes an essential part of your new strategy.
You’ll need to produce high quality content and ensure that it reaches your identified target customers. This is the key to placing your business in the mind of the buyer and ensuring you are part of their thought process.
Digital marketing and advertising may also need to be factored in as a great way of accelerating the process, reaching your target customer more easily.
In order to effectively target your potential customers with content, interact with them through the correct media and make contact at the right stage of the sales cycle, you’ll need to collect data.
Many businesses start the process of incorporating the New Rules of Selling into their organisations but do so without properly considering how they’ll identify their future prospective leads.
Your new B2B strategy will have to include methods of collecting and storing lead data at different stages of the sales process. You’ll need to be able to track leads as they move through the process and monitor the strength of their interest.
An effective system for scoring leads is important for identifying the potential worth of each prospect and allowing your sales team to spend their time efficiently. You don’t want to be wasting your limited time on targets who are unlikely to become customers.
The better the data you are able to collect, the more effectively you’ll be able to target and identify B2B leads in your new strategy.
You’ll also have to consider how your strategy will be resourced. With plenty of content to write, prospects to monitor and new methods of selling, how you resource your strategy is key.
It’s likely that you’ll require extra staff to write content and analyse the data you collect, so you’ll have to decide whether to build an in-house team for content creation, or hire an agency to write content for you.
Your sales staff will also need to adapt to a new way of selling, so training will probably be necessary, and some new sales staff may also be needed. On top of this, careful consideration will be given over to whether your legacy sales teams, such as telesales personnel for example, are still required or whether they can be re-trained.
When making so many changes to your sales strategy, controlling your overheads, effectively funding any changes (and being sensitive towards your existing team members) will also need to be part of your new strategy.
As previously mentioned, totally changing the way that your business sells is not an overnight fix; it’s a steady and gradual process. Because of this, you’ll have to carefully plan out the time frame for transitioning to new selling methods.
You’ll need to evaluate where your business currently is and what resources you have available, where you’re aiming to go and by when, and what you need to do to get there.
Sometimes, the insight of an agency or expert could be a vital part of building your new B2B strategy. They may be able to assist with everything from recruiting the right staff to building you a solution for capturing data.
Finally, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to measure the success of your new strategy. What does success look like for your business?
Essential to good measurement of your strategy is using the right metrics. You need to understand what metrics are important to your business and be able to analyse and track them over time.
If you don’t have access to the right data at the right time, you will be unable to inform the effectiveness of your content, lead generation activity and engagement.
Any solution to the issues raised above will have to include the ability to collect and monitor data as well as produce content and generate leads. Your business needs a solution that allows you to handle and process data, whilst not getting in the way of regular business operations, and not turning away visitors.
At Statement, we’ve devised a new package that allows you to effectively do all of this, and we call it ‘Active Websites’.
Having an Active Website gives you simple and effective ways to collect lead data, follow them through the sales process, monitor their behaviour on your website, and turn them into loyal, engaged customers.
While most websites are ‘passive’ and only typically convert 1% of website visitors into contact enquiries, an active website actively encourages visitors to interact and share information so conversion rates are generally much higher. This makes an Active Website a fantastic tool for the modern B2B sales team who are constantly in need of new leads in the sales pipeline.
In fact, we’ve found an active website to be of huge value to our own business, something we’ll explain in a separate article over the next few days.
There are plenty of hurdles that you’ll have to overcome if you want to build a successful, efficient and growing B2B business in the coming years. You’ll need to implement a sales strategy that can identify your ideal customer profiles, produce content, collect data, monitor results and enable you to plan for the future.
We think that an Active Website should be at the core of this strategy.
While most websites are passive, and rely on leads to making the first contact, an Active Website offers something totally different. It allows you to attract visitors, identify potential leads, monitor them and then act at the right time to convert them into customers.
Next, we’ll look at our experiences of implementing an Active Website strategy and how an Active Website has allowed us to attract engaged and valuable leads, while monitoring them throughout the sales process.
We are also going to be releasing a comprehensive eBook over the next few weeks dedicated to the transformed B2B buyer and what both SMEs and enterprises need to do to make sure their sales team are well-equipped, well-trained and well-informed to meet the needs of this buyer.
To register your interest and to be notified when the eBook is available, complete the form below.