Three Elements of a B2B Sales Strategy that Drive Sales
Have you spent a lot of time or money building a Strategic Plan, and you're still struggling with sales? Chances are, you're missing three critical pieces that often get left out of Strategic Plans; Market Position, Ideal Customer Criteria, and Value Proposition. It isn't enough to leave these elements in the hands of sales and marketing. Getting Clarity at your company's highest levels is critical if you want your sales team to succeed.
If your B2B sales team is floundering, this is a perfect place to start.
If a strategy that drives revenue must include Market Position, Ideal Customer Criteria, and Value Proposition, then let's take a minute and make sure you understand what they are and how to develop them.
Your market position is where your company and offerings fit in the market landscape among your competitors. Market Position is powerful because it helps you understand where to focus and what words to use. The three things that will most help define your positioning are your product, the market, and your competitors. You are probably pretty solid on your product, how it works, and, hopefully, what problems it solves. So, start with the market.
I shouldn't have to say this but, you don't sell to "everyone who…." It is your job to carve out a niche where you can build a loyal following. It's not every company with a computer or even every restaurant. The more specific you are, the more productive your sales and marketing teams can be. Of Course, anyone who wants to can buy your product, but carefully positioning your company in the market, will help the right customers find you.
There are lots of choices when it comes to positioning. You might be the economical choice, the sustainable alternative, the tried and true choice, the cutting-edge choice, the simple solution, or the one with the most bells and whistles. You might align around values or something else. Understand where you fit and make sure your messaging speaks to that segment of the market.
Next, look at the competition. How are they positioned? What segment of the market are they pursuing? Your best bet is to find a space where your competitors don't have a foothold or aren't successful then own that space.
If your competitors have all the bells and whistles and want to sell to enterprise companies, perhaps your straightforward, less expensive product is a better fit for small businesses or startups. Know your space and message, so your target hears you loud and clear. Position yourself so that the segment of the market relates to you.
Knowing your space in the market is a step in the right direction. Now you have to decide. Of all the customers in that space, which are the ones we want. The better the fit between your product and the customer, the shorter the sales cycle, the longer the relationship and the happier the customer. All of those things add to the bottom line. Your ideal customer will fit neatly into a set of demographic and psychographic criteria.
Demographics are the things you typically think of first. Company size, industry, geography, and revenue tend to be the first ones to consider. Technology systems that connect with your product or service might fit into this category. It might matter who their clients are. Client or staff turnover might be an essential consideration. Whatever it is, demographics are facts or measurements. Within your slice of the market, you can narrow down to the ones that will be the best fit.
Psychographics aren't as easy to measure. They often refer to attitudes. These could include their ideas about how they treat clients and vendors. Do they pay bills on time? Do they partner with their clients and vendors? Do the people that work there have integrity. Are they just interested in the lowest price or are they looking for the best solution? Do they blame past vendors for all their problems without taking responsibility for their role in the relationship? These things you often don't find out until you start asking questions and begin the sales process. Other things are easier to find. You can usually find values in their advertising, on their website, and in their strategic plans. The company initiatives will tell you what is important to them.
Unless you are Coca-Cola, you can't afford to market to everyone, so you need to focus on the slice of the market where you are best positioned and are the most likely to be successful and have profitable relationships. Focus on selling to those clients who are the best fit for your product. When you state your value proposition, your solution should be the best fit for those people/companies.
There a several definitions for value proposition. The one thing that most professionals agree on is that your value proposition starts with your customer and ends with your solution. The problem is that most sellers start with the product then try to find a problem it solves.
Building a compelling value proposition that motivates your buyers to act needs to start with their problem in their language. If that connects, you can move to how you solve the problem and why that is the best solution for that customer.
Value propositions are powerful tools when designed and delivered with the customer at the core. Sellers fall short by assuming what their customer's problem is instead of researching and confirming.
Build the Right B2B Strategy to Grow Your Company
Having a great product, a great team, and even a great strategy won't help if you don't have the right focus. Homing in on the part of the market where you will be most successful, the customers in that part of the market that are the best fit, and the messaging that will get their attention will significantly impact sales. First, it will help get everyone pointed in the right direction. Second, it will make everyone more productive because they will focus on the clients that close the fastest, stay the longest and are most profitable.
Take the time to align your sales and marketing team around a strategy and market that will be the core of your growth.