Best Practices for B2B Technology Sales
March 30, 2022
The B2B technology solutions market is demanding, highly competitive, and a challenge to sell into. For one thing, B2B tech solutions tend to be very expensive. For another, the implementation of tech solutions can be a long and arduous process. Potential buyers are going to want to see demos, have an evaluation period, and require a lot of consultation as part of the service they’re buying. And, despite often having a strong impact on business, the immediate value of a solution (as compared to a product) isn’t always easy to quantify. If you want to boost your bottom line when it comes to selling B2B sales technology, you have to get creative.
Understanding the Fundamentals of B2B Technology Sales
Selling technology in the B2B market requires a deep understanding of the technology being sold. Additionally, there are several fundamental ideas you should be aware of to help turn B2B technology sales leads into customers in a technology industry.
- Companies purchase in teams, not individuals.
A study by Gartner has found that between 14-23 people are involved in the purchase of new B2B technology, with 80% of them in senior product or operations roles. That number goes up the higher the cost of the technology. Often, those people will represent multiple teams that will use—or at least be affected by—the technology or service you’re selling to them. It isn’t about just winning over one decision-maker, but rather needing to appeal to multiple decision-makers along with other stakeholders who will have a say in the final decision.
- Marketing-speak won’t win customers.
Potential customers are going to be conducting more in-depth B2B technology market research than your average B2B consumer. Because of this, generic marketing material isn’t going to cut it. According to that same Gartner research, 93% of B2B technology buyers want to see how your product or service has made others in their same industry successful. They’re not going for emotional appeals, either. They want to see hard numbers—measurable success on real business metrics—that they can replicate for themselves.
- Companies struggle with B2B purchases.
Many companies still struggle when it comes to purchasing B2B technology solutions. Gartner’s “How to Market to B2B Technology Buyers” report discovered that 74% of tech buyers find the buying process extremely complicated. Part of the reason is the technology itself. Software-based solutions often have complicated setup processes and specific requirements that need to be met (and sometimes paid for). That complexity jumps several notches if you’re selling hardware solutions.
Meeting the Challenges of B2B Technology Sales Head-On
Given these three key points, a consultative, “solution selling” approach is often more successful than a “product selling” approach.
- Focus on long-term, quantifiable benefits.
Don’t waste resources producing content and other marketing materials that don’t educate or showcase the benefits of your B2B technology solutions. Whitepapers and case studies—both in written and video form—are some of the best formats to accomplish this. These types of assets offer rich, substantive content that educates, not sells, and should give your target leads a solid understanding of what you’re all about from the beginning. This makes it easier to hold their attention,
The primary role of a whitepaper is to present a well-researched, authoritative perspective that will educate your target audience on a particular topic, one that’s related to their business (and to which you provide a solution). It allows you to project expertise and credibility while presenting information that’s of critical and timely value to your potential customers. The depth of analysis and information in a whitepaper goes well beyond a typical article or blog post. In complex buying decisions, such as in B2B technology solutions, your ability to educate buyers before initial contact can powerfully influence your conversion opportunity.
- Address the concerns of ALL stakeholders.
One of the trickier aspects of selling B2B tech is that there are multiple people (stakeholders) involved in the decision-making process, and you have to sell to all of them. This means you must frame the business interests of the different people involved in the purchasing decision, taking their different goals into account. Understanding the unique requirements of the different stakeholders can help you to address their different needs and show how your solution can be a win-win for everyone.
It might take a little more effort to establish personas for everyone involved, but it’s worth it. You’ll be able to answer everyone’s questions, ensure that everyone understands exactly what they’re getting and what’s involved in the purchase. It’s really about getting buy-in from all the different stakeholders involved in one go—decreasing the chances of one detractor holding up the purchase decision.
- Be more involved in the entire purchasing and onboarding process.
You need to ensure everyone understands what needs to be done to get your B2B technology set up after purchase. This includes the installation process, resources that might be needed, timeframes, and whatever other key information they need to know. This will significantly smoothen the customer onboarding process no matter how complicated it might actually be.
Beyond that initial installation and setup, a dedicated account manager should always be on-call to provide support. This should cover everything from using your product to basic troubleshooting. This is a critical part of managing the customer experience.
- Pre-sell with syndicated content.
What we haven’t talked about so far is how to get your potential buyers interested to begin with. Given how often specialized B2B technology solutions are, you’d often find that people don’t necessarily know what to search for—especially for newer products and solutions. If that’s the case, we recommend DemandScience’s PureSyndication. What we do is to build up a list of verified B2B contacts that match your ideal customer profile and target them with content developed specifically for them—following the guidelines above.
We will then track readership/viewership of your content, so you know what’s of interest to your leads. We even track engagement and shares of your content, among other indicators of intent to purchase. That way, by the time we hand over the leads list, you know who to reach out to for further nurturing—as well as what specifically they’re interested in. You can then apply all we have discussed above to establish a deeper connection and, ultimately, make the sale.
Selling B2B technology solutions comes with a unique set of challenges. It’s a highly competitive market and customers have high expectations when it comes to tech solutions. B2B customers want to know they are talking to someone who will be a trusted advisor. Want to become a helpful B2B consultant? Talk to us today and we’ll be happy to find the best solutions for you.