How to Transition Into the Big Business of B2B


For a fledgling entrepreneur, there’s no greater feeling than building a strong customer base. But after collecting repeat business and expanding to new demographics, what’s the next client frontier?

Almost any customer product or service can be repositioned to tap into the business of business-to-business, and the big risk can reap exponential rewards.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, the following question about the cubicle clientele:

“What’s your best sales tip for B2B companies?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Focus on Existing Clients and Relationships

“In a B2B business, your best clients and relationships will come from networking and referrals from existing clients. Maintaining your visibility at industry events, get-togethers, parties and trade shows is key. The highest-quality and most loyal clients will most often come from personal relationships, rather than traditional advertising.” ~ Richard Lorenzen, Fifth Avenue Brands

2. Realize Buyers Are Not Always Users

“B2B sales are exciting because of the scale — one order could be worth 1,000 B2C sales. However, there is one major difference: Often, the buyer is not the end user! While the benefits of your product to an employee are critical, an equally important part of your story must be explaining to the buyer how your product is going to make his or her life easier.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

3. Leave the Building

“Y Scouts, an executive search firm, was recently written up in Social Media Examiner as a B2B sales and marketing case study. The premise of their approach was to get out of the building to develop long-term relationships with their target audience. They did this through a photo tour around their value proposition.” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

4. Add Value Outside Your Product or Service

“Help build continual value by asking questions, listening and making valued recommendations for other vendor partners that can help your prospects and clients. Even consider making a sheet with your logo that lists other vendors, as these businesses might need a trusted introduction to them (bankers, IT consultants, accountants, health benefit brokers and commercial insurance). ” ~ Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

5. Stress the Value in Your Product/Service

“Businesses place an extreme importance on value over anything else. If your product or service can make their lives easier or improve their business, then they’ll see the value in it. During your sales meeting, don’t worry so much about “wowing” them; instead, present a simple and straightforward value proposition that makes their decision easy.” ~ Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC

6. Stop Thinking Like a Marketer

“When I first launched my B2B software startup, all of my financial modeling included marketing activities that would generate amazing results. As it turns out, it is much harder to market to businesses than consumers. The best tip I can share based on experience: Invest in outbound sales prospecting. I built a call center that makes hundreds of calls a day and have achieved incredible results. ” ~ Justin Spring, BringShare, Inc.

7. Have Numbers on Hand

“Any B2B sale is based on your client wanting to improve his own company. If you can show numbers, particularly numbers reflecting the bottom line, you’re going to make it clear why a new client should work with you. Numbers won’t be everything in the sale, but they’ll provide an easy way to clear out the more common objections.” ~ Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

8. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“If you want the universe to work in your favor, you’ve got to do something different than what you’re already doing. Meet people, talk to them, share ideas, write, blog, exchange ideas and speak at conferences. Create conversations and let them foster. Most of business life is routine, and that is what you need to break from for serendipity to embrace you.” ~ Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

9. Don’t Sell; Instead, Educate Your Buyer

“So you’ve got an amazing product and would be doing the world a disservice if you didn’t do everything in your power to get it out there, right? But here’s the thing: No one likes the “hard sell.” Instead, find people for whom the product is a fit by asking key qualifying questions. After that, offer them something free (e.g., an eBook) that gives value but also shows your product’s benefits.” ~ Matthew Ackerson, Saber Blast

10. Hook More Prospects With Bait

“Copywriting legend Bob Bly says simply adding a free bait piece to your offer (e.g., a free white paper, free special report, free software, etc.) can double your response rates to ads and mailings versus using the same copy without the free information offer. Our experience confirms Bly’s statement: The more you emphasize the offer, the greater the response.” ~ Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

Businesss to Business Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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