Sales aren’t everything but let’s face it, they’re pretty damn important to a business.
Many business owners will have gone back to work this year determined to find new customers and boost their order book. The question is, how can you do this without spending a fortune on advertising?
There are lots of ways a B2B operator can go on a sales drive, just by harnessing the energy, talent and creativity already in the business. Here are a few tips to set you on the right path:
The Challenge of B2B Sales
Says Micah Lally, at sales and marketing agency Blueleadz, acknowledges B2B sales poses a unique set of challenges. These include the natural resistance to change of many buyer businesses; the need to reach multiple influencers and decision makers for a single client; and longer buying cycles inherent in B2B activity.
With so many channels now available to reach potential customers, and all those hurdles to overcome, it is all too easy to waste sales resources. Lally recommends conducting interviews with existing clients to understand how they found your company, what challenges they were facing, and why they chose to do business with you is incredibly powerful for lead generation.
“Listen to the buzzwords they use when answering questions; turning their comments and challenges into content enables you to now know what will be useful because you heard it from one of your customers,” she says.
Kleia Paluka at Wholesale Suite, a specialist in the wholesale sector, points out that offering compelling deals is irresistible to retailers, because they know their customers love a bargain.
However, this strategy is not without risk. Offering large discounts or two-for-one deals will severely cut into you margins and although it will bring you to the attention of new customers, it potentially erodes your pricing power.
A safer bet may be to improve your ordering service and concentrate on ease of delivery. Paluka says this, coupled with some colourful and attention-grabbing marketing, can build a loyal following of business customers who buy from you more and more.
“It’s not about keeping your wholesale business operational anymore. It’s about lifting it up and raising the bars to not just better serve your loyal customers, but to expand your market and venture forth into a whole new range of target buyers,” she says. “With the right business strategy, you can definitely achieve more.”
Jaqueline Wibowo, of inventory management firm Trade Gecko, suggests making wholesale ordering, delivery, and billing as seamless as possible.
“Automate your order management and product distribution processes as much as you can,” she says. “The key value of automation is that it streamlines complex fulfilment processes and reduces the need for manual labor, enabling you to provide better, more efficient customer service from ordering to payment and shipping.”
Additionally, Wibowo suggests streamlining your own operations to match this slick service. This is a potential win-win strategy that will also trim your costs and therefore have a double positive impact on the bottom line.
A strategy like that will of course require investment. However, with smart cash flow financing such as invoice discounting, you could pay for any investments from the proceeds of your growing order book.