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Spotlight

Connect and Nurture in B2B Sales

The B2B sales process has changed tremendously over the past years. Potential customers have many opportunities to inform themselves about products and services before taking the first step and contacting a salesperson. On the first Expert Talk, an online event that aims to explore the key elements of the B2B sales cycle, Britta Lorenz from PDAgroup interviewed Peter Schwazer about what this development implies for salespeople when they want to connect with the customer and nurture the relationship.

These are some of the insights that Peter Schwazer, Professor at the MCI Management Center Innsbruck, shared with us during the first Expert Talk.

Today's average B2B buyer consumes 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Considering that one person has thousands of touchpoints with commercial messages per day, getting the customer's attention is not an easy task. This has enormous implications for sales and marketing departments that are trying to connect with potential customers. The first challenge consists of delivering one of these 13 pieces of content that get the customer's attention.

Today's average B2B buyer consumes 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision  

For this matter, sales reps have to approach the customer with the right message, through the right channel, and at the right time. There are several common mistakes to avoid:

1st Mistake: Channel

Many sales reps still rely on email as their single channel of communication. Email can deliver excellent results, but it is essential to not rely on just one channel and look for other ways to reach the customer, like social media.

2nd Mistake: Timing

Many salespeople only address potential customers during office hours. Nevertheless, studies have shown that the best time to reach c-level managers is 8 pm.

3rd Mistake: Message

The one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work when we are talking about the message. Sales reps need different messages to address the client throughout the stages of the sales funnel. Sales reps also have to align the message they are communicating with the message of the company.

Once we have established the first contact, the right skills will determine if we can move the deal forward on the sales funnel. In order to gain the trust of the customer, sales reps need to be empathetic and authentic. They need to understand the customer, actively listen, and genuinely care about their pain points. The better salespeople know the customer and understand their needs, the better they can react and deliver solutions on time.

The next step consists of nurturing the lead. To do this right, we must avoid delivering endless messages to our customers, or otherwise, they will be quickly annoyed. Our messages should not be ambitious, have a clear focus, and show the value for the customer. Through the message, sales reps must show that their company cares about them.

Summing up, sales and marketing departments face a significant challenge when trying to establish the first contact with the customer. If sales reps want to be successful in reaching new prospects, they must deliver the right message, through the right channel and at the right time. Being authentic and empathetic and providing just the right amount of brief messages that show value for the customer is critical to move the deal forward through the sales funnel.

About Peter Schwazer

Peter Schwazer defines himself as a data enthusiast. As a university Professor at the MCI Management Center Innsbruck, he is an advocate of lifelong learning. Conducting research and sharing his knowledge are his two passions. Market research, social media marketing (especially influencer marketing), and web analysis are among his research topics. If you wish to contact Peter Schwazer, you can send him a message via his Linkedin account, and he will be happy to answer your questions.

We can help you take your B2B sales to the next level. Get in touch!

Britta Lorenz

Britta Lorenz

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