Ten Important Things About B2B Sales

Ten Things You Need to Know About B2B Sales

Timothy Solomon Sales

B2B sales is not like selling to consumers. When you sell to consumers, you usually only have to convince one person on the merits of your product. When you sell to businesses, you often need to win over a group of people, sometimes entire departments. That’s why B2B sales can often take a long time, and come with a multitude of obstacles to overcome. Here are ten facts about B2B sales you need to know. Keep them in mind, and tweak your sales process to find success.

1 – Finding the Decision Maker 

It’s the first thing you’re taught when you start selling. ‘Talk to the decision maker.’ You can’t rely on someone else in the company to do your selling for you. You must sell to him or her directly. Of course in reality, there isn’t simply a ‘him or her’. On average, 5.4 people now sign off on a B2B purchase [1].

It’s essential that you build up a picture of how the company you’re selling to works. Who are the 5.4 people you need to talk to? The key is data. Cognism Prospector provides up-to-date information on over 400M business professionals. Data makes it easy to find your decision makers.

2 – The Age of Automation

AI Lead Generation AI for MarketingThe most successful sales teams use automated software solutions at all stages of their sales process. Whether it’s automated lead gen, email marketing or cross-selling, automation helps you generate more B2B sales. Automation software also allows you to monitor and analyse every interaction with your prospect, so you can fine-tune your process.

It’s no surprise that in a survey by Position2, 78% of high-performing marketing professionals who responded identified marketing automation as a key driver of improved revenue.


3 – Information Changed Everything

In the past, B2B buyers relied on sellers to tell them everything they needed to know to help them buy. Not anymore. Now, buyers are 60-90% of the way through the buying process before they contact the vendor for the first time[2]. The availability of information on the internet has changed everything.

The key is to be in control of the information. When buyers are researching companies in your industry, you need to be the one they find, and the one they want to investigate further. Content marketing and outbound marketing make this possible.

4 – The Human Touch is Still Important 

You can’t rely on machine learning and automation software alone. The human touch is still important, along with some good old-fashioned hustle.

According to The Bridge Group, Sales Development Reps make an average of 45 calls per day[3].

5 – Be First or Be Nowhere

Part of the reason the human touch works is because, in B2B sales, speed is of the essence.

  • 35-50% of B2B sales go to the vendor that responds first[4].
  • Leads that are answered within 5 minutes are 21x more likely to be qualified[5].
  • However, less than 25% of companies who receive a web lead will respond by phone[6].

6 – It’s Still ‘who you know.’

B2B buyers like to follow recommendations from their peers. 84% of buyers start the buying process with a referral, and 90% of buying decisions are influenced by recommendations[7].

How can you make use of this information in your B2B sales process?

  • Delight your customers every time.
  • Actively ask for referrals from your customers. Incentivise customers who bring in successful referrals.
  • Build strong relationships with prospects and customers alike, in person and online.


7 – Social Selling is Still an Untapped Market 

is a hot topic in the B2B sales arena. However, a surprising number of salespeople aren’t using this method to generate new business.

In their State of Inbound 2018 survey, HubSpot found only 29% of salespeople ranked social selling as a top priority[8].

Yet, there’s no doubt that in 2018, social selling can be extremely effective [9].

  • Social sellers attract 45% more opportunities than their peers.
  • They’re 51% more likely to achieve their sales targets.
  • Social sellers outsell their non-social counterparts 78% of the time.

Make sure you’re leveraging the power of social selling in your B2B sales organisation.  

8 – 8 Touches to Reach a Prospect 

This figure has more than doubled since 2007[10].

A touch could be an email, a conversation or a voicemail.

Don’t give up. 

9 – Personalisation Pays Off 

In B2B sales, you can’t be all things to everybody. It’s essential to work out your ideal buyer persona, and create a list of leads that match that persona. Once you have done this, you can tailor your outbound marketing and sales process to appeal to them.

Prospector by Cognism helps you build lists of leads to match any persona, with up-to-the-minute data. Whether it’s company size, location, job title or anything else, Prospector can create a super-targeted list of leads that want to buy what you’re selling.

10 – Lead Gen is Broken

It’s a sad fact. In B2B less than 1% of leads become customers[11].

At Cognism, we know that the cause of this is bad data. Sales teams are trying to sell lists of leads that are:

  • Out of date
  • Targeted at the wrong audience
  • Not ready to buy

We believe we have the solution. Dynamic data from a database of over 400 million profiles and 5.6 billion data points administered by AI and human experts. We know who will buy, and when they will buy.

You can use this data to create super-productive lists of leads, and reach them with automated email campaigns when they’re most likely to buy. 

If you’re interested in harnessing the power of data for your B2B sales operation, it’s time to talk to Cognism. Get in touch today.


[1] https://hbr.org/2015/03/making-the-consensus-sale

[2] https://www.artillerymarketing.com/blog/successful-b2b-sales-approach

[3] http://blog.bridgegroupinc.com/hubfs/resources/Periodic_Table_Inside_Sales.pdf?t=1432835194808

[4] https://blog.capterra.com/2016-sales-statistics-to-inspire-your-sales-team/

[5] http://www.leadresponsemanagement.org/lrm_study

[6] https://labs.openviewpartners.com/b2b-sales-stats/#.WykfsRJKjLY

[7] https://hbr.org/2016/11/84-of-b2b-sales-start-with-a-referral-not-a-salesperson

[8] https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/stats-about-selling

[9] https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi

[10] https://www.themarketingblender.com/statistics-every-b2b-company-know-boost-sales/

[11] https://www.forrester.com/playbook/The+LeadToRevenue+Playbook+For+2018/-/E-PLA550