As a B2B sales professional with years of experience, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be successful in this field.
Having a 35-year journey via Calor Gas, Shell UK, Shell International and more recently as a business owner with Plan. Grow. Do. I’m beginning to more and more accept that I am more towards the end of my working life than many that I now help and advise.
Therefore, I thought it might be helpful for me to look back and share some of my insights with those who are just starting out or on the journey in their B2B sales careers.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that B2B sales are not just about making a sale. It’s always been far much more than that.
Don’t get me wrong, we are in the game of selling, making our numbers and enjoying the spoils, but, if you start from that premise you’ll ultimately fail.
Your burn out, you’ll never be satisfied with what you’ve got and you’ll likely not feel the sense of community, professionalism and achievement that is possible.
Let me share my top ten tips for success in B2B sales.
One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that B2B sales is all about building relationships.
This means taking the time to understand your client’s needs and goals, and being able to provide solutions that will help them achieve them.
Building strong relationships takes time and patience, but it is the key to success in B2B sales.
Another important lesson I have learned is the importance of effective communication.
Being able to clearly articulate the value of your product or service and how it will help your clients achieve their goals is critical to success in B2B sales.
This means being able to demonstrate your product or service in a way that is easy for your clients to understand, and being able to respond to their questions and concerns in a timely and professional manner.
Be organised and efficient:
B2B sales can be complex, so it’s important to be well-organised and efficient in your work.
This means having a clear plan for how you will approach each sales opportunity and knowing what steps you need to take to move the sale forward.
It also means having a good CRM system in place to help you keep track of your clients and their needs.
Learn from your mistakes:
One of the biggest mistakes new sales professionals make is not learning from their mistakes.
Over the years, I have made my fair share of mistakes, but I have always tried to learn from them.
Whether it’s a missed opportunity or a lost sale, it’s important to take the time to analyse what went wrong and to figure out how you can improve in the future.
Continuously learn and grow:
The B2B sales landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important to always be learning and growing as a sales professional.
This means seeking out new information and learning about new products and services, as well as being open to feedback and willing to make changes to improve your sales approach.
B2B sales can be a challenging and demanding profession, and it’s important to have the resilience to handle the ups and downs that come with it.
There will be times when you face rejection, but it’s important to not take it personally, and keep pushing forward.
It’s also important to be able to bounce back from setbacks and keep a positive attitude.
Use technology to your advantage:
Technology has dramatically changed the B2B sales landscape in the last 30 years, and it’s important to stay up to date with the latest tools and technologies that can help you to be more effective in your work.
This can include everything from CRM systems to social media and marketing automation tools.
You might have heard me talking about how big the move to mobile phones and the internet have been in my career.
Yep, I worked in a pre-mobile phone and internet world!
Build a strong team:
As a B2B sales professional, you will be working closely with a variety of different teams within your organisation, including marketing, customer service, and product development.
Building strong relationships with these teams will help you to be more effective in your work and to better serve your clients.
Stay curious and ask questions:
I believe the most important quality of a successful sales professional is curiosity. It’s important to be curious about your clients and their businesses and to ask questions to better understand their needs and goals.
This will help you to provide better solutions and to build stronger relationships.
Finally, it’s important to remember that B2B sales is fun. It often involves building long-term relationships with clients that you get the opportunity to meet often.
If you manage your career well, these relationships will you will be able to work together to add value, solve problems and celebrate success.
Enjoying what you do is so important and will translate to your customer interactions.
B2B sales is a challenging but rewarding profession that requires a combination of skills.
The ten that I have shared are some of them, I’d say the ones that came to my mind as the most pertinent to your sales career.
There will be some really helpful lists in other aspects that will help you achieve fulfilment in your career, such as a good work-life balance, and good mental and good physical health.
I hope the reflection I’ve shared will fit somewhere into your future B2B sales career.