by Dean de Jongh, CEO at Kamelian Tech
High-value B2B deals seldomly follow a linear path and often take unexpected routes to close. Account-based marketing is proving to be a successful approach to B2B sales. B2B sales happen in changing environments which, regrettably, are now regularly turbulent with the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘Winging it’ or simply ‘going over the top’ to win or keep an important account is far riskier now. There’s also less room to learn from costly mistakes which can be avoided or mitigated with sensible and relevant sales strategies. Preparation and thinking strategically can take the sales team a long way in closing a deal effectively and more quickly.
B2B sales cycles can be long, gruelling and testing – in time, it’s easy to lose perspective while being led from pillar to post. A documented sales-strategy which considers a client’s unique circumstances can be a valuable map for navigating the targeted client-organization and demonstrating value. Even in a basic form, a sales strategy is a ‘battle plan’ to gauge progress, record failed manoeuvres (in order to avoid repeating them), and a map of the possible ways forward. Collectively, your battle plans become a valuable playbook to fast-track current and future deals while aligning the sales team. Your playbook is also a repository of learning experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly, to be built upon.
So, what makes up a sales strategy for an important B2B client or prospect? Essential elements for the client strategy are the positioning statement (supported by current tactics and backup tactics); key options (to access and convince the decision makers and the consumers/users); plausible scenarios (including responses to possible blockages and objections); solutions to the client’s needs (understanding key stakeholders and their demands); dealing with competitors (being ready with counter proposals); all underpinned by sensible and relevant research and analysis (a client-needs assessment, SWOT analysis, market analysis). With the right tool you can quickly craft and share winning strategies with your sales team.
Execution and communication are vital and will bring your sales strategies to life to close those important deals and shorten client sales cycles. Basic execution-planning is essential, taking note of key steps, as is the timing and content of communications. It’s also worth taking the time to put some key-performance indicators in place to assess how the client sales strategy is doing in order to take corrective steps in good time. It’s also important to think about and prepare for the critical success factors which need to be in place for the strategy to succeed – these include things like the client having budget approval and operational approval, and being ready with measures to make these happen.
The great thing about modern technology is that it’s much easier now to craft a sales strategy for each key client account. The era of account-based marketing has dawned so let’s embrace it. We at Kamelian Tech will be working with NAASE to prepare blue-print strategies which NAASE members can adapt and use to build key-account playbooks. We also invite members of NAASE to share their experiences with us and community members. Together, with the right knowledge, strategies and tools, we can all improve our B2B sales and build lasting high-value relationships with clients.