Every business-to-business (B2B) company needs a sales strategy that identifies objectives as well as the outreach tactics that the sales team will use to connect with prospects and convert them into customers. A B2B sales strategy for a company in the cannabis industry is no different.
With that said, creating a B2B sales strategy, developing a plan to execute the strategy, and measuring success can be challenging. The factors and tips discussed in this article will help you create a strategy that works for your business.
Why You Need a B2B Sales Strategy
Data proves why every B2B company, including yours, needs a sales strategy. First, there is a disconnect between what customers want and what salespeople do. Research shows 80% of prospects prefer to communicate with salespeople using email, but 41% of salespeople believe the most effective sales tool they have is their phone.
Second, salespeople give up too soon. Research shows 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the first call, but 44% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up call.
Third, salespeople aren’t communicating with prospects at the right time. Research from Hubspot shows 19% of prospects want to communicate with a sales representative during the early awareness stages of the buyer journey when they’re conducting their initial research and first learning about specific products to solve a problem or meet a need they’ve identified.
On the other hand, 60% of prospects want to communicate with a salesperson when they’re in the later stages of the buyer journey – when they’ve narrowed down their choices to two or three possibilities. The remaining 20% of prospects want a salesperson to contact them when they’re in the final stage of the buyer journey – after they’ve decided on the product or service they plan to purchase.
The data is clear. Salespeople need to connect with consumers in the right ways, at the right times, and with the right messages.
How to Create Your B2B Sales Strategy
You need a sales strategy to keep your sales pipeline active and growing. Your sales strategy and plan to implement that strategy will help your entire sales team be more productive and successful because they’ll have a roadmap to follow. Following are key steps you should take to create your B2B sales strategy.
Set Your Sales Goals
The first step when developing your strategy is to define your sales outreach goals. There are many different types of sales outreach goals you can set for your company, such as:
- Number of closed deals
- Closing rate
- Number of new leads
- Number of sales qualified leads (SQL)
- Number of cold calls (or emails, social media, or other sales outreach to new leads)
- Number of follow-ups
- Number of social media connections with prospects
- Number of meetings
- Number of demos given, free trials, etc.
The key is to make sure you’re setting goals that you can actually measure and ensure they’re all time-bound and realistically achievable. There is nothing wrong with setting stretch goals, but if the goals you set are completely unrealistic, you’re setting everyone – and your company – up for failure.
Coordinate with the Marketing Team
If your company has a marketing team, they can help you with a variety of strategies and tasks related to your sales goals to ensure you get the best results. That’s why it’s so important to integrate sales and marketing teams.
The sales team and marketing team can work together to create B2B buyer personas, so the sales team can prioritize leads and focus most of their efforts on the company’s ideal customers – those who are most likely to buy from the company and be happiest with the companies products or services.
For example, a company selling products to cannabis business license holders could have an ideal customer profile based on the prospect’s type of license, employee count, location, and more. If the ideal customer is a large company with a cultivation license in a state that allows outdoor commercial cannabis growing, then the sales team should prioritize leads that match this ideal customer profile.
This doesn’t mean businesses that don’t exactly match the ideal customer profile are all unviable. Many of them are likely to be valid leads, but the sales team needs to prioritize all of the leads available in order to reach its goals.
Personalization is critical to successful sales outreach today. The days of reading generic cold call scripts or sending generic email messages to bulk lists or possible leads are over. Today, B2B and B2C customers aren’t willing to waste their time parsing through generic messages and communications to try to find something that is relevant to their wants and needs.
To that end, your sales communications must be personalized to the companies and contacts you reach out to. Leverage the information in your buyer personas as well as engagement behavior related to any email marketing campaigns prospects have received, their social media activities, and so on to make all of your communications as personalized and relevant as possible.
You can create templates for different types of sales outreach communications. Just make sure you edit the content of those templates to speak as directly as possible to any prospects you communicate with. For example, you can create an outreach email template for each of your ideal customers and modify it to include the prospect’s name, company name, and other personalized information that will show them the message is specifically for them – not a generic message sent to a list of people.
If your company has a marketing team, they can help you craft personalized scripts and messages for each of your buyer personas. If you don’t have a marketing team, it’s definitely worth it to outsource script and message writing to an expert B2B writer.
Together with the marketing team, the sales team needs to agree on how leads will be qualified. What constitutes an unqualified lead versus a viable lead, a marketing qualified lead (MQL), or a sales qualified lead (SQL)? The marketing team’s efforts should help identified leads at every stage of the buyer journey, so salespeople spend their time on leads they have the best chance to convert into customers.
You can use lead scoring to qualify leads in your email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tool. For example, every time someone opens an email marketing message from your company, they should receive a certain number of points. If they click on a link in an email marketing message, they should receive more points. If they request a free download, like an ebook or checklist, they should get points. If they request a demo or free trial, they should get a lot more points.
The scoring system is up to you based on the types of actions and engagement you plan to track. Positive engagement with your brand should earn a prospect points. You can set up thresholds to identify viable, MQL, and SQL leads based on the number of points prospects earn within specific timeframes (points that are more than three or six months old may be outdated). Once a prospect earns enough points to be considered sales qualified, it’s time for the sales team to start direct outreach!
Develop a Strategy to Track and Analyze Results against Goals
Your sales strategy should also include information about how you’ll track and analyze results, so you can identify what’s working and what needs to change. This data will also help you determine whether or not you’re hitting your sales goals.
The key to make tracking and analysis easy and accurate is to use a CRM tool. The Cannabiz Media License Database is the best B2B CRM tool for the cannabis industry. Not only does it allow you to set up deals, notifications, tasks, and alerts, but it also includes an email marketing tool. The License Database comes preloaded with tens of thousands of cannabis and hemp license holder leads in the U.S., Canada, and international territories, including each lead’s type of license, location, license status, contacts, companies, employees, social media profiles, roles, levels, and more.
You can use the Cannabiz Media License Database for all of your sales outreach and email marketing, and you can score leads and track all of the data to ensure you’re meeting each of your sales goals.
Key Takeaways about How to Create a B2B Sales Strategy and Measure Your Success
Once you develop your B2B sales strategy, you can create a plan to execute your strategy using the many communication channels available to you. However, if you don’t have a strategy to work from, you won’t know if you’re sales team is focusing on the right prospects or communicating the right messages to those prospects. Follow the tips above to create a B2B sales strategy for the cannabis industry that works.
Ready to learn more about how a subscription to the Cannabiz Media License Database can help you reach your sales goals? Schedule a demo to see it in action.