In “Business to Business Sales” (otherwise known as B2B), there are many checks and balances to keep a sales team on track. In the manufacturing and distribution industry, it is critical that you understand this process prior to getting in the field. The following are some simple B2B selling tips to stay in the game and garner a competitive edge.

8 Tips for Effective B2B Selling

1. Thought Leadership

There is no better way to demonstrate to a prospect that you are an expert in your field than to establish thought leadership. This can be as simple as hosting your own blog or sending out a newsletter. The more you show the client how knowledgeable you are in your industry, the more they are going to want to work with you.

2. Personalization

Consumer expectations have drastically changed, and personalization is key. The world of B2B sales is overrun by generic e-mails and communication. Researching the company and finding any information you can use in your approach, is the first start to customizing the sales process. Among best-in-class B2B sales and marketing teams, 71% have reported tailoring their content to the customer.

3. Think Ahead

You should have at least a 90-day plan for dealing with your sales funnel. B2B sales can be an incredibly lengthy process—with a lot of people involved. Understanding the progression and having patience for each step, is the key to successful B2B sales. For existing customers, it’s also important to establish the ideal cadence of customer visits and outreach to maximize revenue while minimizing costs.

4. Set Appropriate Goals

B2B sales can be overwhelming, especially in the fast-paced environment of manufacturing and distribution. Setting goals that are too high can result in overwhelming feelings of stress, and people may be tempted to simply give up. Finding a balance between goals that are both challenging and attainable is a critical aspect of B2B sales.

5. Handwritten Communication

Sometimes, it makes sense to go against the grain. In a world where everyone is sending e-mails, the written word can go a long way. People whose inboxes are routinely inundated may miss your follow-ups. However, they are sure to remember a handwritten note. Sending a card or quick written message to a potential client speaks volumes.

6. Time is Money

Although B2B sales can indeed equate to a drawn-out process, your level of responsiveness is crucial. Being responsive is the key to getting attention in B2B sales. Prospective clients that are incredibly busy (like those in the manufacturing and distribution space) don’t have time to wait around for answers to their questions. If you want to seal the deal, you have to get answers to people quickly and effectively.

7. Other Avenues of Communication

People are likely to miss a message if it is strewn amongst a thousand new e-mails. Finding other avenues to connect with your customer is essential to effective communication. Discover where they might also be located on social media channels, and reach out there. LinkedIn is a perfect platform for this, due to its professional nature. It’s the difference between competing with hundreds of e-mails, or just a few messages in a social media inbox.

The process of B2B sales is constantly changing. The manufacturing and distribution industries are fast paced, limited on time, and are looking for thought leadership. As an effective salesperson, understanding how they operate is the first step to getting them the products and services they need.