The success of your B2B eCommerce business hinges upon your ability to anticipate and overcome B2B sales challenges. From lengthy sales cycles to complicated product lines, selling challenges can thwart purchasing activity and negatively impact your cash flow. Fortunately, you can overcome most of these challenges by enhancing your content, launching targeted eMail campaigns, and catering to the specific needs of key stakeholders.
Below are the top seven B2B selling challenges and the inbound marketing strategies that can help you solve them.
Challenge 1: Multiple decision makers have varying requirements
Solution: Develop content and eMail campaigns that address stakeholder needs. The growing number of decision-makers and influencers has complicated the B2B selling process. A article in Harvard Business Review points to the increasingly large and varied pool of decision makers as a key factor in a company’s purchasing paralysis:
“…The number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today, and these stakeholders come from a lengthening roster of roles, functions, and geographies.” – Harvard Business Review, 2017.
Because decision makers rarely share the same priorities, it is up to eCommerce merchants to understand the specific needs of key stakeholders and develop useful content that addresses those needs. Here are some content design tips that can help merchants convince multiple decision makers to approve a purchase:
- Identify your top customers and get to know the specific needs of each decision maker
- Create custom specification sheets for each primary stakeholder group
- Use eMail segmentation to ensure that stakeholder groups receive customized content
Challenge 2: A lengthy sales cycle
Solution: Create a sense of urgency by offering time-sensitive promotions.
When coupled with properly planned incentives, time-sensitive promotions are an effective means of motivating customers to take action. You can create an eMail campaign to ensure that your customers receive details about your promotion as quickly as possible. The most effective time-sensitive promotions offer a specific incentive that is strong enough to compel a customer to place an order but not so costly that it is detrimental to your bottom line. Below are examples of effective and ineffective promotions:
- Specific and effective: “Place your order by December 31st and receive a FREE $25 Visa gift card.”
- Uninspiring, overused, and ineffective: “Place your order and receive 10% off.”
Challenge 3: Customers do not realize they have exceeded their credit limits.
Solution: Use eMail notifications to tell customers when credit limits are exceeded.
Busy purchasing agents typically procure products from a host of different vendors, including your company. Rarely will every vendor offer the exact same credit terms, which can make it difficult for purchasing agents to keep track of their credit limits for every vendor.
Fortunately, you can set up eMail notifications to ensure that your customers find out immediately if they have exceeded their credit limits. E-commerce platforms such as Magento are also useful because they allow you to hold orders for your customers until they receive your eMail notification and remit payment. When offered in conjunction with a variety of payment options, these strategies help keep customer satisfaction and sales at high levels.
Challenge 4: Past customers or once promising leads go into hiding.
Solution: Implement a lead nurturing campaign for dormant customers.
Few things are more frustrating for B2B sales representatives than the customer or promising prospect who suddenly disappears. Many representatives respond by amplifying their outreach efforts in an attempt to secure a sale. However, this type of pressure often pushes customers farther away. A lead nurturing campaign is effective because it subtly transforms you from a salesperson into an educator and supporter. Here are some strategies to incorporate into your lead nurturing campaign:
- Use targeted content to appeal to the different segments of your customer base
- Remember that a lead nurturing campaign should be supplemented with human intervention
- Be prepared for the possibility that some customers simply do not want to purchase your products
Challenge 5: Your products are complicated
Solution: Create eBooks and instructional videos to facilitate learning.
Selling complicated products is a challenge for B2B sales representatives because they often possess only a general understanding of their functionality. Customers often expect sales representatives to be product experts and to be able to respond to technical questions about their operation. By creating eBooks and instructional videos, you arm your sales staff with the tools they need to educate customers. You can also supplement your eBook library and videos by following these tips:
- Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) leaflet that answers common customer questions
- Provide links to user manuals on your website
- Feature videos of your products being used by your customers
- Consider eMailing a copy of your instructional eBook or video to your best prospects
Challenge 6: Your products are viewed as dry or boring
Solution: Infuse life into your products with videos and case studies.
Not everyone can sell the latest groundbreaking mobile device or the latest fashion trends. Vendors are also needed to market products like car floor mats, toilet seat covers, storage bottles, and gauze. However, these products are often more challenging to sell because they are not viewed as exciting or interesting.
The key to resolving this challenge is to create a distinctive presentation that tells a story and captures the attention of consumers. You can achieve both of these goals by creating customer case studies and ideos of consumers using your products. Case studies that feature photos of products being used by customers are an especially effective means of promoting products such as sinks, lights, or monitoring devices that are often viewed as both boring and complicated.
Challenge 7: Tackling complex or high-stakes buying decisions
Solution: Enhance your website content.
High-stakes buying decisions often surface when businesses must replace capital equipment used by manufacturers or healthcare providers. High-stakes buying decisions are challenging for B2B sales organizations for two key reasons. First, they typically involve detailed analyses by multiple decision makers. Second, they often have a lengthy sales cycle because multiple stakeholders must weigh in on the decision. By enhancing your website content, you ensure that stakeholders have easy access to all the information they need to finalize their purchasing decision. You can enhance your website content in the following ways:
- Create detailed product brochures that feature photos, specifications, and warranty information
- Feature customer testimonials from industry experts on your website
- Include case studies or videos of your products in operation at well-known facilities
- Reward customers who are willing to serve as a reference or provide a testimonial
The Best Way to Resolve B2B Selling Challenges
The solutions outlined above will provide you with an excellent foundation for resolving B2B selling challenges and reducing their incidence. However, the surest way to tackle B2B selling challenges is to seek the guidance of a website development expert. For nearly 20 years, the team of professionals with InteractOne has partnered with leading technologies to help companies shorten their sales cycles and facilitate complex purchasing decisions.
Contact us to find out how our Magento-certified developers and skilled marketers can help you overcome your B2B selling hurdles. Through our superb content development and our winning eMail campaigns, we look forward to becoming your trusted solution for all of your B2B selling challenges.