B2B Technical Sales Techniques: Building Your Pipeline
In today’s B2B sales landscape, the biggest issue is that many technical sales engineers have become complacent. Most of them are older technical sales engineers and industrial sales engineers, about 35 years old and above. They enjoy a fixed salary and have regular customers they work with. Most likely, they also have a company car, a company credit card, and they’re comfortable with the amount of money they are making.
If this sounds like you, and you and your boss doesn’t see the need to change anything, that’s fine. However, if you want to make more money and find motivation, you need to push yourself to become a better technical sales engineer. Stop being complacent. You need to continuously work on building your sales pipeline and keeping it full. Read on to see proven technical sales training techniques that can help you work on your pipeline, and perform better.
1) Technical sales engineers need to be commission-based
Money is a proven motivator. All technical sales engineers should be on a commission plan. If you are the boss, you need to start a commission plan immediately to see better results from your industrial sales engineers.
If you are working for a B2B sales company that doesn’t have a commission plan in place, you need to speak to your superiors about it. If earning through commission is not an option for you where you currently work, you might want to consider looking for a new job. For technical sales engineers, it’s extremely important to have a commission plan.
If an industrial sales engineer is just working for a fixed salary, there is no incentive for them to go above and beyond the minimum. You need to decide how much you want to make annually and work backwards from that. How many deals do you need to reach your target? Have this number in mind and work towards it.
2) Use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool
LinkedIn is a great prospecting tool. All technical sales engineers should be using it to prospect companies that can become possible clients. When you identify them, LinkedIn can also be used to reach out to influencers and decision-makers within these companies. There is an entire course dedicated to LinkedIn on Technical Sales University if you’re interested in learning more.
Many industrial sales engineers still resort to cold-calling and email to reach out to prospective clients. These still work, but they are no longer as effective as they used to be. They are also not as effective as using LinkedIn.
Trade shows are another traditional sales strategy that is no longer as effective as they used to be. Don’t expect to head into a trade show and leave with a sealed deal. This may have happened in the past, but it is no longer a norm today. If you do go to a trade show, make sure you are working the crowds, trying to meet as many people as you can. If you have a booth, don’t just stay there and wait for people to come to you. Do your rounds and make sure people know who you are and what your company can do for B2B sales.
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What’s most important is to use all available strategies to reach your goals. Use LinkedIn, call prospects, and email them. If they don’t reply, try to visit their office and see them face-to-face (COVID-19 restrictions allowing), and even send them direct mail. When you’re trying to reach out to a prospect, put them in your sales pipeline and make sure you constantly touch base with them. If you have people working under you, make sure these techniques are part of their technical sales training. There is no room for complacency in B2B sales.
3) Level up with a CRM
In B2B sales, being organized is key. This will help make sure that nothing, including prospects, slips into the cracks. For example, you had a promising conversation with a prospect last month, but thanks to other circumstances, you completely forgot to get back to them. Before you know it, it’s been 3 months since you last got in touch with them and they are already working with your competitor.
Situations like this can be avoided by using a CRM, or a customer relationship management system. When you input all your prospects and customers into a CRM it can automatically send them emails, remind you to get in touch with them, and keep all pertinent details in order. For a technical sales engineer, using a CRM can mean the difference between closing a sale or not. There are a number of CRMs available in the market with different pricing and features. Among the most popular ones are Salesforce, Hubspot, and Sharpspring. Choose what works best for you the invest in using one. A CRM is well-worth the price.
4) Start moving and stop being lazy
Now you know what you need to do, start moving. In B2B sales, there’s no time be lazy and complacent. If you want to build your pipeline and inevitably start closing more sales, you need to start now. Make sure you spend time each day reaching out to prospects and your contacts. Build it into your muscle memory.
One way to look at it is, “Are you a hunter or are you a farmer?” Maybe you realize that you used to be a hunter, but thanks to complacency, you’ve turned into a farmer. A hunter is proactive and goes after prey, while a farmer just waits for things to grow. There is always a real danger of becoming a farmer in technical sales so this is something you should always fight against.
When a prospect asks you for a quotation, act with a sense of urgency. Some technical sales engineers take weeks to get back to their prospective clients. Don’t be like this. As much as possible, get back to them within two to three days. The longer it takes for them to get a quote from you, the higher the chance it is that they’ll lose interest.
Remember that building and maintaining the sales pipeline is extremely important in B2B sales. The technical sales techniques above can help you move forward in your career and reach your sales goals.
With over 15 years of experience, Technical Sales University offers actionable lessons on the most in-demand skills that technical sales engineers need to succeed. In just 8 hours, you’ll be armed with the tools to significantly increase your personal income and become a top performer in your industry. Click here to learn more about our technical sales courses!