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Business to business (B2B) sales in the competitive and ever-changing industrial sector has never been an easy process. But in today’s buyer-led market, you need a forward-thinking online and offline strategy which is based around the needs of your target audience. Especially if you are selling high-value, complex products and solutions.
Successfully selling to key decision makers means you can no longer rely solely on traditional B2B sales and marketing techniques. Instead, you must take a fresh look at your sales teams and their skills, assessing new ways to reach target markets and how you can harness the power of the digital world to transform your sales figures.
To help you do just this, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the ways you can sell to highly specialised and industrial markets renowned for driving innovation and emerging technology. This includes focusing on the challenges you may be facing and how to overcome them. All with one important aim – to give you the ability to develop long-term growth through successful sales and revenue generation.
Here at durhamlane, we’re highly experienced in creating integrated marketing and sales solutions for businesses selling to a range of different industries. Targeting unique market segments with their own highly specialised products and solutions to sell into them, including technology applications, IoT and edge computing solutions, and a database analytics platform. You can find their case studies here.
Using what we’ve learnt, we’ve put together the leading challenges sales and marketing leaders face when orchestrating scalable growth strategies for complex technology, products and services. Together, they give you an insight into how you can adapt your digital marketing strategies and empower your sales teams in order to capitalise on changing markets and buyer behaviour.
But why change the way you sell? Well, technology has transformed the way B2B buyers make purchase decisions forever. As we become digital-first, your audience has more choice than ever before when it comes to sourcing industrial products, services and solutions.
This has become even more evident during the pandemic as workforces now operate remotely and more people than ever are seeing communicating online as the norm. So, as technology changes ways of working, ways of selling must follow them.
The traditional field rep travelling the length and breadth of the country (or countries) making face-to-face visits with clients is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s sales teams need to embrace online capabilities in order to effectively expand their reach, understand customer requirements and then offer the best solutions.
With more choice online at their fingertips, your audience wants you to make their life easier. This could be something as simple as firing up an online chat so they can quickly get answers and see why they should choose you over the competition. Especially as these days, buyers approach businesses further into the buying journey, having researched online for how to solve their problems and the options available to them.
This isn’t to say that field sales will disappear forever. There will always be a need for it with a hybrid approach ensuring the best outcome. But, helping your team transition more into digital sales allows for greater engagement as well as a more cost-effective inside sales strategy.
The more complex your product or service, the more it requires a salesperson who is technically minded, like a sales engineer. These highly knowledgeable individuals are essential for answering all those difficult questions, but normally are not as skilled at selling or developing qualified leads to build on. So much so that they tend to never speak directly to the people making the buying decisions. Which is where the challenge lies as they are the exact members of your team who should be talking to them.
What’s needed is either for sales teams to know when to introduce technical people into the sales process. Or alternatively, create an inside sales team who are there to accelerate your buyers through the sales cycle, with help and support from those with technical skills.
Where’s the first place you look before deciding to buy a new product or service? You probably said online. Well, no surprise that this is where your audience also begins their sales journey. Before you can get in front of them, they’ve already done hours of research, looking up what’s out there and compared the differences between products, solutions and suppliers.
This means, you need to be front of mind by creating an effective digital marketing strategy. One which gives the right content, to the right people, at the right time. By achieving this, you can be the brand that’s already known and recognised for quality and value. Which in turn makes it easier for your sales team to turn leads into sales no matter where in the buying cycle your customer is.
The old tried and trusted two-channel strategy of indirect partner sales supported by direct field sales is no longer a viable option in today’s multi-channel world. Innovation, globalisation and ever diversifying product ranges mean that new and improved routes to market are now needed.
These can include such changes as moving to inside sales, investing in digital channels and improving indirect sales partner channels. If your customers are global, there is much benefit in creating in-country or in-continent inside sales teams. In addition, you should consider the different factors that dictate a sale such as individual budgets and purchase processes so you can use these to shorten the sales cycle, for example by giving customers the ability to buy products as an operating expense instead of capital expenditure.
Agility and innovation have both proved to be key when it comes to growing sales to industrial sectors. Once upon a time, a business could thrive and grow with just a few products. Now, companies are expanding their portfolios to include technology solutions to stay relevant in the midst of digital acceleration.
Having the flexibility and know-how to meet ever-changing market conditions and at the same time continually developing your portfolio creates new and improved revenue streams. Plus, it helps you stay on top of even the most competitive markets.
Especially as the rise in digital technology has not just made the world smaller, but also the number of companies able to compete as larger operations thrive and dominate the marketplace.
When it comes to selling into industrial market segments, the goal posts have quite obviously moved. So much so, that they’re not even in the same field. They’re online and remote.
Which is why it’s vital that you take a fresh look at every part of your sales strategy and reassess it. From pinpointing how your customers now buy to manging your sales resources, you need to consider what improvement can be made to accelerate revenue.
By acting now, you can improve both your online and offline sales strategies either by building or buying a truly integrated sales and marketing team. And in doing so, give your business the power to not just oil the wheels of business, but get them turning faster.
If you’d like to find out more about selling complex products and solutions to the industrial market, download our eBook on the topic that explains in more detail how you can generate more sales and hit your revenue goals in 2022.