How to Overcome 5 Common B2B Tech Sales Challenges
Your sales team has a tough job. In some cases, they have to convince total strangers they need technology or software they’ve never heard of. In other cases, they need to take the baton from marketing and cross the finish line. (Thanks, sales and marketing alignment!) And in some dreaded cases, they invest time and resources into a thorough sales process, only to have their lead go dark.
And, if they hit some obstacles along the way, it can make the process all the more difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. Here is our roundup of the most common challenges your B2B tech sales team encounters — and how to help you overcome them.
Challenge #1: Competing with Noise
Does anyone else get phone calls almost daily from unfamiliar phone numbers? Because I do — and only a tiny percentage of them are legitimate people I need to hear from. The same can be said about my inbox. The number of unsolicited emails I receive is unnerving.
I’m not alone.
DMR reports show that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day — and it is a mix of event invitations, blog posts, subscriptions, work-related emails, and of course, sales emails.
Needless to say, it is pretty easy for a sales email to get lost in all the noise — especially if it is coming from an unfamiliar name or company.
So how does your sales team overcome this challenge?
- Write better subject lines: The only part of your sales email that gets seen in an email inbox is the subject line (and maybe the preview text), so make it a good one! Personalizing the subject line with the recipient’s name or company is proven to increase click-throughs. Other great subject lines ask questions, propose a time to meet, use emojis, and keep it right around 50 characters. A colleague of mine has her writers suggest 25 different subject lines. She says the process is worth it because the end result is sharp and helpful. I run all my subject lines through these two AI analyzers ( CoSchedule; Sharethrough). The advice of one conflicts with the opinion of the other, but the tools are good reference points as to whether I’m on track or not.
- Keep the email short and relevant: If someone is sifting through more than 100 emails every day, don’t send them a book. Be personal and get straight to the point. We recommend referencing a piece of content about a subject they expressed interested in or a pain point they mentioned when filling out a form. Don’t let your email feel “random.”
- Go for the soft sell: The main issue with sales emails is that you’re assuming someone wants to hear and learn about your product, and that isn’t necessarily true. Rather than going in for the hard sell first, go in for a soft sell with a content offer to see if that gets their interest.
Challenge #2: Humanizing Your Brand
Sales people get a bad wrap for not being “human,” yet they are the individuals who interact with your prospective clients the most. It is essential to ensure that the people on the “front lines” of business development appear relatable and human. And because we are all human, it is easier than you think.
To overcome this challenge, you first need to tap into the soul of your brand — the “why.” According to Golden Spiral’s CEO John Farkas, “The ‘why’ is the heartbeat of your company. With B2B technology products, buyers put their careers on the line to advocate for a particular solution. They want to know that the vendor they have chosen cares enough to stand with them in that board room defending their decision and is every bit as concerned as they are that this is going to win. Your solution is backed by a company full of people who care and are committed to going and growing with you over the long haul. Because of this, soulful brands also tend to have higher levels of loyalty and show higher conversion rates.”
In addition to developing your brand soul, there are numerous other tiny changes you can make to highlight the humanness of your sales team:
- Including their headshot in every email: Headshots are a great way to prove there’s truly a human on the other end of that email. It also helps to build a sales rep’s personal brand, because their name and face become more recognizable in inboxes.
- Use video in your email: If you really want to humanize your sales reps, ask them to use video. Free tools like Soapbox from Wistia and Go Video from Vidyard empower your sales team to create custom videos for their sales emails.
Challenge #3: Understanding Unique Buyer Pain Points
No two buyers are alike. Every buyer comes to the table with a different set of concerns, pain points, hopes, dreams, and resources — and it is your sales team’s responsibility to understand the differences from buyer to buyer, and appropriately tailor their messaging.
However, you and your sales team likely already know that. You face a real challenge: Learning what those concerns, pain points, and resources are. But, it is easier than you think.
- Ask about pain points on forms: While it is important to keep your forms on the shorter side — especially for content downloads — if understanding the pain points is integral to your sales process, ask about it up front. The same can be said about any information that is critical to developing a personalized sales approach. For example, ON24 asks about the number of webinars prospects host each year.
- Develop personas: Developing personas can help your company understand pain points, needs, desires and resources at a high level.
- Offer a free consultation, assessment or quiz: Free consultations are an excellent way to push new prospects into your funnel, while getting the information you need from them to personalize the sales process. For example, Amplion Alert offers a free nurse call readiness assessment. This assessment helps the company learn more about its prospects to create a personalized approach, while also providing something of value in return. It is a win-win.
Challenge #4: Competing with Your Competitors
Whether your sales team is sending cold emails, or following up with MQLs, they will likely have to prove why your B2B tech product crushes the competition. For most tech companies, this is the toughest challenge they face — especially if you’re working in a saturated marketplace.
To help in this challenge, consider creating “Competitor Battle Cards.” These “battle cards” are your sales team’s go-to resource for all competitor intel, including their pricing and functionality. Most importantly, they include your company’s well-thought response to each item. You want your response to position yourself apart from your competitors. These cards can be created after you’ve completed a competitive analysis.
Challenge #5: Show, Don’t Tell
Selling and communicating the value of technology can be difficult without a demo, which can make sales emails and phone calls tough. Therefore, it is important to visualize how your technology can improve the lives of your prospects. For example, in this sales email from Conductor, a B2B tech company based out of NYC, the representative shares a screen shot of how website content is performing. Seeing all that red would make someone want to respond with a resounding “yes!”
Perhaps your technology isn’t easy to capture in a screen shot. Think of how you can “show” using words. Rather than listing product features, share how those product features can help your target audience and/or prospect. For example, in the case of Conductor, some of their product features include: competitor investigation, content performance analysis, and reporting. While these features sound compelling, when they are not made relevant to a particular prospect in the sales process, they fall on deaf ears. For example, instead of saying “competitor investigation,” the company would benefit from saying “We’ll help you learn how your competition is ranking in search, and develop a plan to bean them.”
Your sales team has a tough job — but your company depends on them to grow and thrive. Aiding them throughout the sales process with the right tools, information and processes can make their jobs easier, and ultimately increase revenue.