Sales Strategies for Small B2B Companies
If you’re a small B2B company in search for systematic growth, a good strategy is to start with a SWOT analysis to look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities in your market, and Threats from competitors and new technologies.
But don’t just perform the SWOT analysis on yourself. Here’s the twist: do a SWOT analysis on your competitors, to see where there are gaps in your market and how you can differentiate yourself. AND, do a SWOT analysis on your clients. With a deeper understanding of their world, you will get new insights on how you can help them.
Only then can you focus on the RIGHT strategies, tactics, and processes necessary to accomplish your goals. Otherwise, you’re just trying the flavor of the day without a north star guiding your efforts.
KP: Frank, thanks for joining us. It’s a pleasure having you.
FRANK: My pleasure. It’s an unexpected surprise. Thank you.
KP: Can you tell us a little bit about what problem you’re solving for people and how do you do that?
FRANK: Sure. What I teach is the psychology processes and strategies of sales. Nowadays people feel commoditized and sales is not an easy thing to do, so what I do is teach people the martial arts of sales.
What makes Frank different?
KP: What is your secret sauce? What makes you different and why do people want to work with you?
FRANK: Yeah, good question. I guess one gift that I have is being able to recognize and reach into people and bring out the best in them. The other is I’m fairly good at training, coaching, and mentoring and I know how to spoil my clients rotten.
How does a new client get started?
KP: If I come to you as a potential client, how do we get started? Is it a what… like what would be the first initial questions that you would you need to know?
FRANK: One of the first things that I do is an assessment. I’ve got to know what the person’s goals are, number one. I’ve got to know what their strengths are, what their challenges are, what is it that keeps them up at night? What is it that they want to achieve? What holds them back? And once I’ve gotten to that and we’ve talked at length at what not only their short-term goals are, but their long-term goals. Where is it that they ultimately want to go? Then we plan out a strategy for them to be able to achieve that.
FRANK: As I always tell my clients, they’re going to do the heavy lifting. I’m just going to be the guide propping them up.
An example strategy for a small b2b company that wants to grow.
KP: And can you give me, I don’t know if that’s possible to share an example strategy for a B2B company that’s small and it needs to grow? Because I’m guessing many clients come to you, “I’m B2B, I want to grow.” Go, help me.
FRANK: Right, go. So let’s say it’s a B2B company, one of the first things that I’ll do is again, look at their goals, look at their challenges. I’ll do a SWOT analysis of their team, see who the players are, and then we examine what the businesses are that they sell to. So it’s not just performing a SWOT on yourself, but also a SWOT on your competitors, and also on the companies that you’re selling to. You’ve got to know what their challenges are as well. By understanding their world, then you’re going to be able to understand how you can help them.
FRANK: The next thing is that you’ve got to know how to be able to get in front of people. And nowadays you’ve got to be very creative. You’ve got to be able to have the gumption, have the strategies to be able to cold call, to door-knock, to hunt on LinkedIn, to be creative in all sorts of prospecting.
FRANK: The other thing too is that you’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to know not just how to lay out the strategies and what to do, but you’ve got to be disciplined about it.
KP: And in terms of the strategies, there are so many strategies for a small company, it’s very difficult to execute all of them. Which one would you prioritize?
FRANK: It really depends on the company. It really depends on the type of a product, service that they’re selling and who they’re selling to. So, for instance, with one particular client, I may say, “Go out and hunt via LinkedIn,” a lot of my clients do that and to a great deal of success. For some it’s cold calling. It’s literally dialing for dollars. It’s 100 to 120 cold calls per day. For others it’s networking. For some it’s a combination of all of the above.
FRANK: For me, for instance, I have to eat my own dog food, so I do all of the above. And so again, it’s not one size fits all. It really is dependent on the type of company, product, service and who the businesses are that they’re selling to.
Why some companies haven’t found what works for them?
KP: I’m in the B2B space. I’ve tried all of them. I’ve tried expensive sales coaches, everything, nothing works. And I’ve talked to many people who are in the same boat. Why do you think nothing works for them? Is that they didn’t do it right or they should be doing something else?
FRANK: I think you’re looking for free consulting here.
KP: Yes. Keep rolling.
FRANK: So yeah, it’s a complex question. Maybe the best way for me to answer it is that you have to analyze your business first, right? I have to understand what it is that you want to accomplish. And all too often I think trainers, coaches, mentors, they’ve got a stock package and they think one size fits all.
FRANK: I don’t see it that way. Every business is different. Every business owner is different. I’ve owned several companies. So for me, one of the first things that I tell people is, “Just like you, I’ve got to be able to understand your business, your why, the why behind the what. I’ve got to understand what your goals are and I’ve got to be able to understand what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, what your strengths are.” If I start there, then I can custom tailor. So again, it’s not, I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the book smarts, I’ve studied this, it’s a discipline. It’s a martial art, but it’s not one or the other.
FRANK: The reason that I’m successful in helping my clients become successful is that aside from studying this for over 30 years, I’ve done it and I realized that it’s got to be on a case-by-case basis.
FRANK: So, who are your clients? Who is it that you’re targeting? What’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you? What are your strengths? And not just yours, but also your team. And that could be your strengths, could be in terms of production, the value that you bring to the table, but it could also be your interpersonal skills, right? Or in some cases the lack thereof, and I’ve got to be able to work with people on that as well.
What works for Frank?
KP: You mentioned you’ve tried different tactics for yourself. Which one works best for you?
FRANK: A good question, and I’ll answer it this way, I really don’t care because I have to hone each skill. And I’ll give you this example. I don’t like networking at all in any way, shape, or form, yet I do a lot of it, and I teach my clients how to network properly. Even though I don’t like it, I do it because just like martial arts, I’ve got to be good at kicking, at blocking, at punching. I’ve got to know how to turn a kick into a block and a block into a punch. So I’ve got to do all of them.
FRANK: And the other key… You asked about secret sauce, here’s the other key secret sauce. It’s not just laying out the plan and then executing it. It’s holding yourself accountable by keeping track of what you do. So I, like my clients, keep an accountability log. I keep track of what it is that I do just like they do. And I track from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year, what it is that I do so that I can analyze what works and what doesn’t work, and whatever doesn’t work, I tweak, I recalibrate. Whatever does work, I figure out how to augment. And it’s the same thing with my clients. Everyone’s got different strengths and challenges and that’s what you’ve got to be able to pinpoint and work with.
KP: Is there a tool that you use to track these things?
FRANK: Yeah, and actually the easiest thing, the simplest thing, believe it or not, is just an Excel spreadsheet. We keep Excel spreadsheets online, Google Docs, and both myself and my clients look at this and I hold them accountable. And sometimes I have clients that don’t fill in their accountability logs and I kind of bop them on the head. My goal really there is for them to develop the habits so that they ultimately, two, three, four, five, six months down the line are doing it themselves without me, without the training wheels. So that they’re looking at what they’re doing, they’re analyzing that and they can trace back, “You know, I sold this deal because I went to this networking fair. I sold this deal because someone gave me a referral because I made this cold call. Gee, I think I’m going to do more of that.” So that’s how it works.
How to be better at networking.
KP: And you mentioned about the networking, that you hate it, but you do it.
KP: And you teach others to do that. Can you give me one tip on how to be a better networker?
FRANK: Sure. Number one… I’ll give you several. Number one, you’ve got to have a strategy going in. You’ve got to have a strategy. You’ve got to have goals. So for instance, I’m going to a networking event tonight. I’ve got certain goals and I’ve mapped them out.
FRANK: The other thing too is the three-foot rule. If you’re within three feet of someone, reach out, shake their hand, “What do you do?” But the biggest key for me, the biggest key, and this is the biggest mistake that people make, the biggest key is not to talk about yourself. It sounds counterintuitive, but what I want to do when I meet someone is ask them about them. I want to know about them. They don’t need to know about me. I’m a boring guy. I want to know about them.
FRANK: I want to know what their business, and the funny thing is I tell my clients, “Everybody’s listening to WII FM. All right, what’s in it for me?” So they want to tell their story. And what I want to do is bring out their story. I want them to tell me about themselves and people are an open book. If you take an interest, people are in our society are stroke deprived. And when we give them those strokes and we say, “Oh, what you do is interesting. Tell me more.” They do. And that’s all the ammunition you need.
How to find Frank.
KP: Perfect. And how does somebody get started with you? How do they find you and work with you?
FRANK: Yeah, well they can go to my website, which is coachingwip.com and that’s again, my company is Coaching Wip, not W-H-I-P, but W-I-P as in work in progress. So I don’t use an actual whip, I’m just a work in progress.
KP: Sounds good, thank you very much.
FRANK: Thank you.
KP: Thank you for sharing.
FRANK: My pleasure.