Nobody expected COVID-19 to wreck 2020 the way that it did. With an abrupt shutdown of thousands upon thousands of facilities, nearly the entire B2B market went digital.
As a result, more than ever consumers want things on demand and as fast as possible.
Not only has this forced many companies to adapt to a more digital presence, but it also increased the amount of competition in that digital space.
It only makes sense there’s a continued sales and marketing transition heading forward into 2021. To get ahead, you’ll need a strong focus on your relationship selling going forward.
But how do we define “relationship selling” in 2021?
5 Ways to Improve Relationship Selling in 2021
With 2021 now here, it’s time to redefine the traditional concept of relationship selling. Try and avoid looking at B2B prospects as dollar signs, and instead imagine them as what they are: humans who like relationship building as much as we do.
This is the first step to improving your relationship selling in 2021. Some other changes to keep in mind are:
- It’s helping, not selling
- Create new ways for salespeople to connect
- Remember that every company is a tech company
- Use “SMarketing”
- Call and thank your customers
1. It’s Helping, Not Selling
This phrase is the backbone of the modern B2B marketing strategy. Don’t look at your B2B customers as someone you’re selling to, but as a partner you’re helping.
The B2B landscape is full of niche industries, and your content marketing should focus on solving their unique problems.. Through the use of educational blog content, e-books, and other resources, you’re helping a company determine if you’re a good fit for it.
“If you’re a good fit” is a key part of that sentence. Don’t waste time, money, and effort on finding your best sales fit. Instead, allow them to come to you -- with B2B inbound sales and marketing.
2. Create New Ways for Salespeople to Connect
COVID ruined the ability to meet in-person for:
- Sales talks
- Product demos
- Facility tours
The hopes for 2021 being different are still up in the air.. As a result, you have to create new ways for salespeople to connect.
One of the most simple, and effective, solutions to this issue is personalized emails.
Emails became a huge asset in 2020 for isolated salespeople, and should remain a core part of nearly all sales processes. And through the use of sales-enablement software, you can have them sent automatically.
The use of 1:1, personalized videos in email has also become a popular sales tactic. This helps give the email a more personalized feel, puts a face to a name, and keeps the prospect engaged longer.
3. Remember: Every Company Is a Tech Company
It goes without saying that technology has become an important part of any business -- even farmers use robotic milking machines these days.
Sellers who remember how much of the buyer’s journey now takes place online -- and adjust accordingly -- will enjoy a unique advantage.
Through the use of customer-relationship management systems, also known as CRMs, you can find the exact moment that a potential customer opened an email, read a blog post, and so on. This gives you an advantage because you can offer further content to the right people at the right time in their journey.
4. Use SMarketing
Remember the days of old (the early 2000s) when sales and marketing were two separate entities that often had turf wars over whose responsibility was whose?
Well, those days are long gone, and there’s a new concept called “SMarketing.”
This fun, new word simply represents the alignment between the sales and marketing teams. This has become an especially important concept as sales continue to trend toward digital.
This alignment also allows for better communication, and can help the marketing team produce smart content that matches the exact spot of the buyer’s journey that the target audience is in.
In turn, your marketing team should be creating content based on the pain points you’re hearing from your prospects and current customers.
5. Call and Thank Your Customers
It may seem like a small gesture, but this rarely seen act of common courtesy can go a long way toward creating a continuing relationship with your customers.
Everyone loves to feel appreciated, so make sure you take the time to call your customers after a deal has been made and thank them for their business. After all, the goal is to help, not sell. A closed deal is a symbol of two companies helping each other, and the mutual respect should be shown.
You can continue the positive vibes by offering additional educational content through newsletters and such.
This doesn’t mean that you have to then send them a Christmas card of you and your family, or invite them to your Nana’s 92nd birthday party. This simply means that you should take the time to show your customer you appreciate them. If you don’t, some other company likely will.
Hopefully you use some of these relationship selling techniques going forward in 2021. As the future of B2B sales continues to transition toward being fully digital, you’ll have to work harder than ever to offer a personalized sales experience.
In short, like Nana says: Treat others the way you want to be treated. As long as you can follow this general rule, then you’re set to have a helpful, and successful, year in the B2B digital selling.
Want to watch the embedded webinar by HubSpot's Dan Tyre we shared above on-demand? Click below to get the video along with all the other videos from Manufacturing Marketing World 2020: