Sales x Min read

What is B2B sales ?

Summary

Let’s chat about B2B sales. From the concept’s definition to metrics to measure success, let’s demystify a core concept of every company.

Whether you run a manufacturing company or sell products online, sales is the backbone of every organisation. B2B brands looking to grow need a constant stream of leads, prospects and paying customers to sustain their ambitions.

But what exactly are B2B sales? And do you know how they differ from B2C sales? Let’s go over the basics, from what B2B sales entail to the sales funnel structure and a few metrics you should look at to drive your business forward.

Definition of B2B sales

B2B sales, short for business-to-business sales, is a transaction between two companies. It can involve raw materials, finished goods or services such as software, hardware or professional services.

For example, Leadinfo is a B2B company. We’re a software solution, and we offer it directly to other brands, not individuals. Selling directly to people is known as business-to-consumer sales or B2C.

So whatever you’re selling, if you’re selling from one business to another, it falls under the umbrella of B2B sales.

How does B2B differ from B2C?

It’s all just selling, right? Not so fast. Yes, the B2B and B2C sector share some basic similarities. They both work with target audiences, have similar marketing tactics, and, ultimately, need to communicate and appeal to individual people like you and me. But that’s about all they have in common.

In general, B2B sale purchases are larger and more expensive than B2C sales. For example, a person will buy one extra monitor which they can hook up to their laptop. However, a startup will most likely purchase 20+ screens for all of their employees, and a retailer may buy 100+ which they will sell throughout the year.

Higher value transactions bring with them a more complicated sales process. B2C brands only need to convince one person to buy from them. But a B2B company typically needs to convince 6-10 people within one organisation. All of whom have varying opinions and priorities.

Because more people are involved in the decision making process, the B2B sales cycle takes more time and requires more nurturing. Meaning more strategic planning and adapted marketing tactics are a necessity. Because, unlike B2C, B2B brands can’t tap into emotions to trigger an impulse purchase. So specific techniques such as cold calling, cold emails and broader strategies like account-based marketing need to be used to appeal to your audience.

Who conducts B2B sales?

Given the lengthy sales cycle associated with B2B, companies that want to succeed need a dedicated and skilled sales team to ensure everything is running smoothly.

So, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are usually the people responsible for prospecting and converting a qualified lead into a sale. Their success is dependent on marketing departments that handle most content and digital marketing strategies. But by working together, you can speed up the sales cycle, ensure a constant flow of leads, and increase your company’s bottom line.

The B2B sales funnel

To better plan your sales and marketing strategies, it’s essential to understand the different stages that a potential customer will go through. This is where a sales funnel comes in handy. A B2B sales funnel depicts each stage a prospective customer will move through and the approximate number of companies that go from one stage to another. Helping you understand challenges in the conversion process and spot opportunities.

From becoming aware of your brand

to making a purchase, the B2B sales funnel looks at the customer journey as a whole and represents the number of prospects who make it through those stages. That’s why the shape of a funnel is wide to narrow.

Han Kleppe
Han Kleppe Founder of Leadinfo

No two sales funnel will look exactly the same as every company’s business model and target audience are different. However, every sales funnel can be divided into three phases: top of the funnel (ToFu), middle of the funnel (MoFu) and bottom of the funnel (BoFu).

Top of the funnel (ToFu)

The top of the funnel is also known as the awareness phase. In this stage, you cast a wide net and aim to gain attention from potential customers while making them aware of the fact that they have a need. This can be achieved via traditional advertising or using organic content such as blogs, social media posts, landing pages, introductory videos and podcasts.

While striving to be top of mind, it’s important not to overwhelm users with information. Companies are still far from making a purchase decision. So don’t sell. Instead, use content and messaging to position yourself as an expert in your field.

Middle of the funnel (MoFu)

Your target audience is aware of your company, recognises that they face a challenge, and are now looking at their options. This is the consideration phase, also known as the middle of the funnel.

Your focus now is finding the perfect balance between information and persuasion. In-depth content that’s also educational such as whitepapers, webinars or market research, are perfect for this. In addition to retargeting campaigns to keep you top of mind. This content further positions you as an expert that is also aware and empathetic to your audience’s struggles.

Bottom of the funnel (BoFu)

The bottom of the funnel is also the most important phase as it’s time to convert undecided prospects into paying customers. These companies are well aware of their problem and are informed about the various solutions on the market. So now it’s time to pull out the big guns and demonstrate why you’re the best company to solve their challenge. Client success stories, product facts and pricing information or free trials help prospects make an informed purchase decision while convincing them to buy from you.

Important B2B sales metrics

With a plan in place, it’s time to measure your success. By knowing how well your sales team is performing, you can improve your sales strategy. So below are some must-track sales metrics to keep you on track:

  • The number of emails sent, calls made, and LinkedIn inmails sent.
  • Response time – how long it takes for your SDRs to contact an inbound lead. This can be as low as minutes for live chat options or 24 hours for emails.
  • The number of meetings booked with leads during a specific time period.
  • The number of demos held.
  • The number of opportunities won.
  • New vs returning buyers.
  • Average deal size.
  • Customer lifetime value.
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Revenue per representative.

Demystifying B2B sales

B2B selling doesn’t have to be a mystery. The process involves a longer sales cycle and more decision-makers, but with a strong sales funnel and matching metrics in place, you can have leads cycling through continuously in no time.

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