What is B2B sales?
B2B sales, short for "business-to-business" sales, is when one company sells a product or service to another company. Unlike selling to individual consumers, B2B transactions happen between businesses, and they cover a wide range of industries—from tech and manufacturing to healthcare and services.
In simple terms, B2B sales is all about building relationships and providing solutions that meet the specific needs of other businesses. It involves longer sales processes, lots of negotiation, and dealing with multiple decision-makers. To succeed in B2B sales, you've got to understand what makes each business tick, earn their trust, and offer solutions that make a real difference.
Whether it's selling software, distributing equipment, or offering consulting services, B2B salespeople are the ones making those deals happen. In today's interconnected business world, knowing how to nail B2B sales is key for companies looking to grow and stay ahead of the game.
B2B Selling Tactics
There’s different approaches you can take to B2B sales—and you can and should implement more than one if you can. From leveraging social channels, to emails, to outbounding, you may be wondering where your team should be focusing their energy to see the highest return. Before we dive into that, let's explore a few of they tactics that B2B sales leaders use to generate revenue:
LinkedIn Social Selling
LinkedIn social selling is a strategic approach to B2B sales that leverages the world's largest professional network to connect, engage, and build relationships with potential clients. Unlike traditional sales tactics, which can often feel impersonal and transactional, LinkedIn social selling focuses on establishing genuine connections and providing value to prospects through meaningful interactions. LinkedIn includes lots of features designed specifically for B2B sales, such as advanced search filters, messaging tools, and content sharing capabilities, so that sales professionals can identify and engage with decision-makers, nurture relationships, and ultimately drive sales outcomes.
Referral marketing in B2B sales is like having your satisfied customers become your biggest cheerleaders. It's all about encouraging them to spread the word about your products or services to their network. Instead of relying on ads or cold outreach, referral marketing taps into the power of personal recommendations and trust. By incentivizing your customers to refer others to your business, you not only expand your reach but also build stronger connections and loyalty.
Networking in B2B sales is more than just swapping business cards at events—it's about forging genuine connections that drive business growth. In today's competitive landscape, building and nurturing relationships with industry peers, potential clients, and key influencers is essential for success. Effective networking allows you to establish trust, uncover new opportunities, and stay ahead of market trends.
Strategic partnerships in B2B sales are invaluable for expanding your reach and driving business growth. By collaborating with complementary businesses, you can access new markets, tap into untapped customer segments, and leverage shared expertise and resources. Whether it's joint marketing efforts, co-selling opportunities, or collaborative product development, strategic partnerships amplify your sales efforts and create mutually beneficial relationships that yield tangible results.
With so many tactics to try, how can you ensure that you're investing your time in the strategies that will yield the highest return? The only option on this list you can commit to anytime, anywhere, is LinkedIn social selling. Let's explore how to build a LinkedIn sales strategy to help grow your business.
How to Build a LinkedIn B2B Sales Process in 7 Steps
Building your social selling strategy on LinkedIn doesn't need to be intimidating. In just 7 steps, you can start turning your valuable LinkedIn connections into paying customers. The 7 steps we'll explore are:
- Identify your target audience
- Create a strong online presence
- Start prospecting
- Begin outreach
- Continue messaging
- Close the deal
- Retain clients
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Before you create a LinkedIn sales process, you need to understand who you’re selling to. This will help you customize your messaging to your audience, so you’re more likely to convert clients. For most businesses, there are two main profiles related to your prospects you’ll want to consider that will inform your strategy: ideal client profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas.
What is an ICP?
An ICP is a detailed description of the type of customer who would benefit most from your products or services. Think of your ICP as a detailed blueprint outlining the characteristics of the customers who are the best fit for your products or services. This profile encompasses factors such as industry, company size, demographics, pain points, and buying behaviors. By clearly defining your ICP, you can focus your marketing and sales efforts on the prospects most likely to convert, leading to more efficient use of resources and higher conversion rates.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It encompasses demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals of your target audience. Creating detailed buyer personas helps your business better understand your customers' needs, preferences, and pain points, enabling you to tailor your marketing strategies, product development, and customer service to effectively engage and resonate with your target audience. Buyer personas humanize your customer and provide valuable insights that guide your sales strategy.
In other words, your ICP describes the company you’re selling to, while your buyer personas describe the employee or founders you’ll be interacting with.
Create a Strong Online Presence
Once you’ve established who you’re selling to, you can create or update your online presence to position yourself as a solution to your future clients’ problems. Since you’re going to be selling with LinkedIn, that’s likely the first page your clients will see. Make sure your personal and (if applicable) company LinkedIn profile is fully filled out with a clear headline, relevant “about” section, a professional photo and banner, and your experience. You can also add a portfolio on LinkedIn to showcase previous work you’ve done near the top of your profile.
You’ll also want a website that reflects similar messaging to the “about” section in your LinkedIn profile, along with images that are consistent with your profile. I.e. if you have a logo anywhere on your company website, include the same logo on your company and personal profiles. Any color scheme you picked for one digital channel should be applied to the others.
Amy Volas is a great example of leveraging your banner space effectively, while using a professional—but fun—profile photo to stand out. Her headline clearly outlines what she does, and her website matches the colours and messaging from her profile to help build her brand.
3. Start Prospecting
Prospecting is the first part of your B2B sales process on LinkedIn. By reaching out to new clients, you build awareness around your product in the context of a solution to those potential clients’ problems. Prospecting involves sending LinkedIn connection requests to prospective clients, along with a personalized connection message.
As you may already know, searching for clients and connecting with them can be a very manual and time-consuming process. Leveraging Sales Navigator Personas can help you sort through millions of LinkedIn users to identify prospects using the buyer personas we mentioned above. Sales Navigator will bring up prospects that match your ICPs—and even let you customize specific messages for different personas.
Sales Navigator is best used when bundled with an AI product that can assist in the prospecting process. Platforms such as CoPilot AI leverage the power of AI to prioritize your search lists based on each prospects' intent to book a meeting with you.
4. Begin Your Outreach
You’ve done your homework on your audience, set up your profiles, and used Sales Navigator and CoPilot AI to build a search list packed with high-quality prospects. Now it’s time to start sending out LinkedIn connection messages.
You may have heard that one of the most important parts of outreach messages is personalization. While that can initially sound time consuming, it doesn’t have to be.
Have you ever received an email from a website with a personalized shopping recommendation based on a previous purchase? Those emails are examples of automated personalization, and you can apply similar principles to your outreach.
In your case, you can leverage AI for LinkedIn to identify groups of people who share a similar problem (rather than a similar purchase history), and send them a message recommending your business as a solution to their problem.
5. Nurture your leads
Your LinkedIn request message isn’t going to be enough to land a sale. Once you’ve connected with a lead, they’re now in the consideration phase. You’ll need to start selling them on your product—while also verifying they’re a viable fit. These stages your LinkedIn sales process require more messages. You may need to send reminders to follow up, as well as respond to potential questions or objections.
If you’ve been selling for a while, you probably already know your most common questions and objections. To save yourself time, the AI tool you use can generate one-click reply messages that align with the context and tone of your existing conversation. This allows you to nurture hundreds of prospects towards booking a meeting in under 30 minutes per day.
6. Close the deal
To land the client, you’ll need to move prospects from LinkedIn to a call. There are three main types of calls in the sales process:
Discovery call: A discovery call is essentially your customer wanting to learn more about your product. They’re in the consideration stage of the b2b sales funnel at this point. Here you want to really listen to their problems and objections, and find ways to respond that demonstrate how you and your business can help.
In some cases, you may also realize a client isn’t a good fit—use this call as a two-way street and make sure the lead is a good candidate for your product or service. You want to focus your efforts on qualified leads. These are leads that are likely to convert and benefit from what you’re offering.
Demo call: These kinds of calls primarily happen if you're selling software and are an opportunity for you to showcase your product to your prospect. During this call, you should understand your prospects' goals, motivations, and pain points and be able to tailor the demo to address them.
Sales call: All of the steps above lead up to this call. Unsurprisingly, this is when you want to seal the deal. That said, you may need to deal with some final objections or questions.
6. Retain clients
Retention is an incredibly important (yet often forgotten) part of building a B2B sales process. Once you land a client, you need to continue to provide great service, request feedback and respond to client concerns promptly. It’s much easier to retain clients than it is to find new ones—and loyal clients are likely to refer you to other clients (also an easier sale than prospecting on your own).
At the end of the day, customer retention strategies combine good customer service, a positive onboarding experience, community building, and an effective feedback loop. This helps to reduce churn and ensure that your customers stay happy and engaged with your product.
How CoPilot AI Helps Build the Ultimate LinkedIn B2B Sales Strategy
With its innovative suite of tools and intelligent automation, CoPilot AI is a b2b sales enablement tool revolutionizing how businesses engage with prospects, build relationships, and drive conversions through LinkedIn. More specifically, the following features are designed to enable sales teams to generate high-quality leads through LinkedIn and guide them towards becoming customers:
- Reply Prediction AI prioritizes leads with the highest conversion potential using Reply Prediction AI, which ranks them based on their likelihood to accept your LinkedIn connection request.
- Smart Reply AI effortlessly initiates and scales meaningful conversations to prime your prospects for conversion by generating contextually appropriate one-click LinkedIn messages.
- Personalized Insights AI scans your prospects' LinkedIn profiles to understand their communication styles and provides tips and templated messages to help you communicate with them effectively.
Harnessing the advanced capabilities of artificial intelligence, CoPilot AI transforms your LinkedIn presence into a strategic asset, amplifying your reach and impact. From prospecting and lead generation to personalized outreach and relationship nurturing, CoPilot AI streamlines every aspect of your B2B sales process, ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Click here to connect with a member of our team and discuss how CoPilot AI can help you generate more revenue through LinkedIn.