When compared to B2C sales, B2B sales are way tougher. In the world of B2B sales, you have to deal with high stakes, long sales cycles, and difficult-to-find leads. And when you do get a lead, you’ll have to deal with quite a few decision-makers before you can close a sale. If you manage small business, then you need to build a successful sales strategy and execute that strategy well.
B2B customers can be tougher to deal with than B2C customers because B2B buyers know what product or service they want. In addition, B2B customers will place higher expectations on suppliers since B2B customers are making a business decision and possibly want a long-term business relationship.
The majority of B2B customers know what solution they need for their problem before they even start talking to a salesperson.
What Is a B2B Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy is the plan you follow in order to sell a product or service by communicating to potential customers about your product or service and then convincing them to buy. You will know a sales strategy is good when you constantly keep making sales by following that sales strategy.
Now, sales and marketing can deliver optimal results when they’re working together, but sales strategies and marketing strategies are completely different.
A marketing strategy is about creating awareness about your products or services among your potential customers, for example, doing B2B live streaming to demo a product or running a B2B referral program. A sales strategy is about persuading a specific customer to buy the products or services you’re selling.
By testing and refining your B2B sales strategy, you’ll create an optimal strategy that will enable you to:
- Identify your target audience.
- Deliver the strongest case for why your products or services should be purchased.
- Approach a lead through the most effective sales channel.
- Close the sale with an optimal sales pitch delivery.
Let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.
10 Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy
Now that we know what a B2B sales strategy is, let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.
1. Pick the Right Kind of Strategy for You
A generic sales strategy can deliver results but will be easily outperformed by a sales strategy built just for your situation and business needs. The goals your business is trying to achieve determine the basic structure of your sales strategy. Do you want to generate new leads, convert leads into customers, or generate repeat sales from already existing customers?
By understanding what your business goals are, you can start to build the right sales strategy around those goals.
2. Determine If Your Strategy Is Inbound or Outbound
When using an inbound sales strategy, your business is marketing itself to its target audience in a way that generates interest and draws potential leads in. Inbound sales strategies work best when your target audience is actively looking for the products or services you provide.
When using an outbound sales strategy, your business’s salesperson seeks out potential customers and approaches them directly. Outbound sales strategies can work well when your business is selling something innovative or disruptive. With an outbound approach, you can make the case that you have a solution to a problem potential customers didn’t even know they had.
Choosing an inbound or outbound sales strategy is dependent on your market position as well as the specific challenges your business faces. Some businesses will implement a hybrid of the two strategies, but the optimal method of implementing the following steps depends greatly on which approach your business has prioritized.
3. Make Sure Sales and Marketing Work as a Team
Usually, sales and marketing teams see each other as rivals, but these teams should be working together as one.
Because sales talks with leads all day, they gain a lot of insights into the issues potential customers face and the product features they are looking for. Sales can share this information with marketing. Marketing can identify high-potential leads and pass them on to sales to reach out to as well as give sales-related content to use.
Sales teams need to acquire new customers in order to ensure your business grows, and the marketing team can support them by generating high potential B2B leads. Sales and marketing can use an enterprise communication solution to talk with each other.
Social media is a very marketing-specific activity; however, sales can use social media to identify potential leads and engage with them. The sales team can help the marketing team identify ideal customers and their issues, which can be very useful while creating social media ads and posts. Meanwhile, the marketing team can identify key conversation points and targets on social media and pass that information on to the sales team to reach.
With your sales and marketing teams working in sync, your business is perfectly positioned to use account-based marketing (ABM). ABM treats every customer account as its own market and uses personalized messaging and content for each potential customer. ABM is resource-intensive but delivers a high ROI.
4. Research Your Target Customers
In B2B sales, building rapport with your customers is very important. This is why you should learn everything you can about the businesses you want to sell to. Try to learn their business goals, pain points, competition, day-to-day activities, and who their decision-makers are.
Have your salespeople make use of buyer personas. Buyer personas are buyer profiles you create of imaginary customers. These profiles can be informed by talking with real customers and hearing their stories. You can use this information to put your buyer personas into context and help sales to develop more effective sales pitches.
Researching your target market and existing customers can also help you identify customer profiles you don’t want to target. This can save time and resources that would’ve been spent chasing unlikely leads.
5. Identify, Qualify, and Nurture Your Leads
Researching your customers will help you identify the leads that are most worth pursuing. You can then go after those leads by either marketing campaigns or cold-calling them using cloud based communications. But before you commit to pursuing those leads, you should first qualify them.
You can qualify your leads by scoring them. Factors that can affect a score could be the customer company’s size, how closely it fits your ideal buyer persona, and the length of their purchasing timeline. Once you know your leads’ scores, you can then more easily prioritize them. Another option is to buy a B2B lead list.
B2B sales can have long sales cycles. By determining what stage of the sales funnel a lead is at, you can nurture them with audience-focused content.
6. Determine Key Activities
Here is where your strategy moves into practice. There are three areas of activity you can focus on:
- Social Media: one of the first things buyers will check is your social media presence. Make sure they find high-quality posts, product information, valuable resources, and active engagement.
- Understanding the buyers’ journey: the better you understand your buyers’ decision-making processes, the better you’ll be able to lead them to purchase.
- Building customer relationships: B2B is not about quick, one-time-only purchases. It is important to build relationships with customers to ensure repeat business, satisfaction, and recommendations to others. Use a corporate email signature to stand out.
7. Create Valuable Content
Many B2B customers would rather trust their own research than a sales pitch. To reach these customers, you need to provide valuable, informative content that offers value and addresses their concerns.
Try to provide content that doesn’t “expire,” such as ebooks, whitepapers, and product demos.
8. Have the Essential Software Tools
The right software tools are needed to help your sales reach their full potential. Some essential software tools are:
- A CRM tool: this tool will capture lead information, organize your customer data, and automate sales outreach processes.
- Analytics and reporting programs: these will help you extract insights from your CRM data, enable you to measure your performance, and answer the question, “What is bounce rate?”.
- Social media management software: this will let you monitor your accounts, check for relevant social conversations, and post on a schedule.
- A content personalization tool: this will tell you where your leads are coming from, provide a map of their customer journey, and deliver personalized content.
9. Gather a Team and Make a Plan
A sales strategy is great, but in the end, it’s just a plan on paper. You need a great team of salespeople to turn your plan into actual sales and profit. Your sales team needs to be experts in your products or services, armed with knowledge and insights gained from market research.
To start, define a sales process, which is the specific actions to repeat to execute your strategy. Then create an action plan, delegate tasks, and observe how your B2B sales strategy plays out.
10. Measure and Adjust
You measure your success by your goals. The last step is about monitoring your sales strategy, measuring its performance, and adjusting things where appropriate. If some methods or activities aren’t delivering results, swap them out for a new approach.
A successful B2B sales strategy is one that is custom-built for your business. This strategy is made for your business goals and your customers with a great team to execute it. The ideal strategy is also able to change and adapt when it needs to.
If you follow the 10 steps listed above, then you can build a successful B2B sales strategy for your own business.
How to Use Product Synonyms to Build Use Case Awareness & Scale SEO
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Let’s move back in time to your third grade English class — lesson of the day: synonyms.
Synonyms (not to be confused with cinnamon) are words that have a similar or the same meaning as another word.
But, you already know this. What you might not know is how synonyms help you build use case awareness.
It all comes down to talking about your product in multiple ways, all of which are useful to your target audience. By expanding the ways you talk about your product, you attract more users, which in return scales your SEO strategy by giving you more relevant keywords to rank for (ideally even with high purchase intent – yes please!)
In fact, by finding and targeting product synonyms, you can even tap into a new unique selling point for your target market.
Let’s find out product-led SEO with synonyms can slingshot your growth forward.
What is the value of synonyms for SEO?
First off, using synonyms is a common SEO best practice recommended by Google.
SEO guru and webmaster trend analyst, John Mueller, explains how synonyms work, particularly in connection with search intent and context:
“…especially when you’re looking at something like ‘edit video’ versus ‘video editor,’ the expectations from the user side are a little bit different. On the one hand you want to edit a video. On the other hand you might want to download a video editor. And it seems very similar but… the things that the users want there are slightly different.”
So, when it comes to using product synonyms to scale your SEO strategy, the key is to align user search intent with a product use case that helps them.
I’d like to highlight how well this works not just for e-commerce, but also B2B, because those are the businesses that often struggle the most with low product-related search volume, making it seem like SEO just isn’t worth it. To add to that, there’s often a gap between what your audience calls your product and what you call it internally, so this strategy ensures both angles are covered.
Do this over and over again and not only will it expand your brand awareness, but it’ll also take a niche product with low search volume and turn it into a lead and sale generator — all from compounding hundreds of thousands of organic monthly searches (or more, depending on the topic).
Let’s go over some examples.
Examples of product synonyms for SEO
A use case (or a roadmap for how your audience will interact with a product) is a fantastic way to apply product synonyms. If people learn how they can use your product, the more likely they’ll feel it’s relevant to them. The more detailed the use case, the more personal it feels to the reader.
Examples of product synonyms in e-commerce
Product synonyms for e-commerce are pretty straightforward. For example, “occasionwear,” “wedding guest wear,” and “party wear” are all product synonyms that can be found as focus keywords at a made-to-order men’s suits store.
An online sport store may use synonyms such as “tennis shoes,” “sneakers,” and “trainers” to capture all target markets, for different levels of athletic wear.
Now let’s put it into practice.
What product synonyms would you use for “webcam” and “Bluetooth headphones”?
Maybe, “streaming camera,” “e-meeting camera,” or “Zoom camera”?
For Bluetooth headphones, what about “impermeable headphones” or “running headphones”?
It’s all about the use case that matches the same search intent.
Examples of product synonyms in B2B
In B2B, use cases become even more relevant, because one of the most common questions in the buying cycle is: “Is this truly relevant for my particular business?”
Take a look at these phrases:
Conversational AI chatbot
Customer support automation
Product recommendation software
Omnichannel engagement platform
Even though these have vastly different use cases and are semantically different, the technology used produces the same outcome as what each phrase describes. In fact, it’s actually the exact same product (in this case a chatbot), only described with a different phrase.
The trick in this particular example is to talk about how the main product, the chatbot, relates to all the above phrases. Rinse and repeat and now you’ve gone from a niche product with limited search volume to HubSpot level organic traffic — all of which is highly relevant for your target audience.
How to find & rank for product synonyms
Finding synonym opportunities for products requires a deep understanding of the market and the search behavior of buyer personas. In other words, learn what your audience wants and explain how your product gives them that in multiple ways.
Understand your product use cases
Let’s start with your product use cases. Where should you begin?
First, compile all related brand themes and then build topic clusters based on that.
Let’s say you sell eco-friendly swimsuits for all types of bodies and your topic clusters focus on eco-friendliness and swimsuits per body type. All topic cluster pages are connected to the central brand themes and your products, but talked about from different angles.
In B2B, it’s common to cluster product use cases by industry or method. For example, the “conversational AI chatbot” mentioned earlier might target e-commerce managers, while “customer support automation” is a use case aimed at customer success. In the same way, “product recommendation software” grabs attention from a product team and an “omnichannel engagement platform” captures the marketing team.
With only these few keywords, we’ve described how nearly an entire business benefits from using a chatbot — sales here we come!
Aside from generally making note of words that are being used on their website, it’s helpful to perform a competitor keyword gap analysis. This helps you determine words they’re ranking for that you aren’t (yet), which helps inspire new use cases.
Understand the language of your audience
Do some research to see how your target audience refers to your products in their own words. Often in B2B there is a big gap between their descriptions and yours. Take note of the words, phrases, and any other insights pertaining to the language being used.
Some places to poke around include Slack communities, social media (especially LinkedIn), and Reddit. Don’t shy away from in-person events, too! When you talk like your audience talks, you’ll resonate with them because your products are simple to understand. Walk their walk, and talk their talk!
Pro tip: Talk to your customers on a regular basis! Ask to set up a 15 minute feedback session and record it. It’ll bring you massive insights about how they talk about and use your product.
If your business is big on social media, then social monitoring and listening tools will be crucial for compiling lots of information quickly. Social monitoring obtains information that has already happened in the past, while social listening keeps an ear out for current conversations about your brand. Hootsuite offers an extensive social monitoring tool to “dive deep beneath the surface”, while Talkwalker offers social listening so you can keep up in real time.
Review People Also Ask and related searches
Google SERP features are a treasure trove of synonym opportunities. If you’re looking for “shoes”, you’ll probably see people are also searching for “sneakers”, “tennis shoes”, etc. You can use this feature to understand user search intent (which will help you find more aligned synonyms) and ensure you create the right type of content based on what’s already ranking.
The People Also Ask feature is similar to the “related searches” at the bottom of the SERP, and you can also use this to curate synonyms.
Last but not least, utilize the auto-complete feature that suggests what you might type in the search bar:
Pro tip: Use AlsoAsked to dig a bit deeper into the People Also Ask questions from your potential consumers, and export the data graphically and in bulk. Answer all those questions and that’s a clear path toward SEO scalability!
Do keyword research
Without keyword research, creating your content and optimizing for SEO is like throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping that it sticks. Use a keyword research tool like Moz to find keywords based on use cases. This ensures the keywords are relevant, have search volume, and have relatively low competition. For a more in-depth guide on keyword research, be sure to check out this guide!
Once you’ve finished keyword research, turn the semantically-related keyword groups into clusters to create individual content pieces for each cluster.
Differentiate keyword placement based on your site structure
All websites have core product pages, so the exact match of high-purchase-intent keywords should go on those to maximize the potential for sales.
Product synonyms that are semantically unrelated, but still have a relevant use case, can go in an area like the blog, where you can explain them more thoroughly and then link back to your core product pages to incentivize conversions.
To go back to the chatbot example, “conversational AI chatbot” works best on an evergreen product page, while “product recommendation software” might make more sense in the blog, because you’ve got to give some explanation about how the two are connected.
Let us wrap this up with a quick recap
First off: why use product synonyms? Synonyms for SEO increase the relevancy of your product pages for a specific search query. At the same time, they can also help you scale out content strategies in the future, thus strengthening your SEO game and brand awareness.
But never forget, first you must understand your product use cases. How do your customers use your product? How do they describe it? Go deep into this process to get those granular details. Look around to see what language your customers are using, scope out your competitors for inspiration, and do some extensive keyword research. Review the People Also Ask feature and related searches to gather more information and ensure you differentiate your keyword placement based on your specific site structure.
Now you’ve got the basics of using product synonyms to build use case awareness. Class dismissed!
How to Use Product Synonyms to Build Use Case Awareness & Scale SEO
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