The Best B2B Sales Strategy Might Be the Most Straightforward 1

Two LA sales pros share why driving customer value matters.
Written by Colin Hanner
May 17, 2021Updated: May 21, 2021
Vector image of sales strategy
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Have you heard of the Sandler sales methodology? What about spin, solution, social or strategic selling? 

Do NEAT, MEDDIC or SNAP ring a bell? LAARC or LAIR, perhaps? Maybe FAB, FUD or AIDA? 

In B2B sales, the acronyms are aplenty, and the strategies, tactics and frameworks for notching a sale are virtually endless. Ultimately, what works for your organization might not work somewhere else. But there is one common denominator that unites all sales strategies, one goal that everyone is aiming for: customer value. 

“Regardless of the system, acronym, or approach, delivering customer value is key to success,” Natrian Maxwell, the director of revenue at Weedmaps, said. Maxwell and co. surely seem to have driven value: According to a December 2020 new release, the company expected $160 million in revenue in 2020 and estimated they will bring in $205 million in revenue in 2021.

Emotive Sales Manager Ted Kirk agreed that customer value, through return on investment (ROI), is imperative to a customer relationship. “If your service isn’t providing substantial ROI for your customers, is it even worth selling — or worth investing in — as a potential customer?” Kirk posed. Thanks in part to the revenue-generating team, Emotive notched a $50 million Series B in February.  

In conversations with Maxwell and Kirk, Built In LA found out why working toward customer value is the most important B2B sales strategy and how the strategy has impacted their sales process. 

 

Ted Kirk
Sales Manager

Emotive Sales Manager Ted Kirk follows a very straightforward but effective strategy: return on investment, or ROI. The mobile messaging platform for e-commerce brands is so confident in its strategy, in fact, that it offers customers a 5x ROI guarantee in their first 90 days. If a customer does not see the 5x results, Emotive refunds the difference (Kirk said Emotive customers see an average of 18X ROI in their first 90 days).

 

What’s the most impactful B2B sales strategy you’re currently leveraging in your work? What makes this strategy so effective?

ROI is king. If your service isn’t providing substantial ROI for your customers, is it even worth selling — or worth investing in — as a potential customer? Consumer products typically don’t provide a return on investment. Businesses, on the other hand, have to be certain their investments will provide strong returns. This is why we champion ROI — it’s simply the most impactful B2B sales strategy we leverage.

Consumers don’t look at buying a pair of sneakers, a laptop or even a car as purchases from which they can profit. Businesses, on the other hand, have to keep ROI top of mind for the sake of longevity. Sales strategies like SPIN selling or Challenger selling are only part of the process. Ultimately, the best B2B sales strategy is providing an amazing ROI for the businesses you partner with. 

 

Tell us about a time when this strategy helped you close an important deal. 

The first time I met with the founder of Dugout Mugs, his default reaction was to assume that we were trying to sell him something he didn’t need. We had to show proof of ROI potential, so we built an ROI projection doc based on their site traffic and our customer’s average opt-in and conversion rates. At first, they didn’t quite believe the projections, but they were willing to give us a chance to prove ourselves once we discussed the 5x ROI guarantee. With this safety net, joining Emotive became a no-brainer. Fast forward a year and a half later, Dugout Mugs has made over $2.4 million in sales through Emotive alone!

Ultimately, the best B2B sales strategy is providing an amazing ROI for the businesses you partner with.”


Throughout your career in B2B sales, what has been the most important lesson you’ve learned, and why?

Closing a deal that isn’t a good fit for your customer is just not worth it. It’s one thing for your company to lose that recurring revenue if the customer churns, but it’s also critical to note the loss of money, time and effort put into acquiring and onboarding that customer in the first place. In a scenario where they leave — even having made a profit — that still impacts your business’ reputation. Having a high close rate is all for naught if you have a high churn rate. If you frequently onboard brands that aren’t a good fit, you won’t last long as a sales rep or as a business.

I’d much rather be sure that we are fully aligned on expectations before signing. That means gaining a full understanding of their business needs, how our solution will help, and taking a deep dive into our agreement together before signing. Realistically, we’re all human. You can’t expect every prospect to read every last detail of the agreement, which can cause problems down the line. As such, it’s best to do the contract review with them. It’s not always a walk in the park, but it’s better than skipping it and having a fully preventable issue, or even churn, arise later on.

 

Natrian Maxwell
Director of Revenue

Forget the latest and greatest sales tool or technique and focus on what matters most: value. So says Weedmaps’ director of revenue  Natrian Maxwell, who preaches the importance of customer value as the foundation for a customer’s success with your product or service. 

 

What’s the most impactful B2B sales strategy youre currently leveraging in your work? What makes this strategy so effective?

Over the years, there have been several variations of sales strategies and techniques. Oftentimes acronyms appear commanding the attention of a new system guaranteed to improve conversions and closing percentages by X. While I appreciate the breakthrough of new thought leaders in the space of sales, one consistent thread is at the base of all systems. That thread is called value. 

Value, or the ability to deliver value, will yield more sales results than any other tactic available. As the director of revenue for Weedmaps, I have the opportunity to listen in on several customer calls daily and call after call, I hear a very familiar sentiment: “What is the value I will receive by doing business with you?” Because this question is so important, a company should have strong strategies created to understand how their target customers perceive value and where a company’s products deliver upon that value. Once this piece is clearly defined, the next focus area is ensuring your customer-facing team is fully prepared to speak to that value and your products deliver upon the perceived value. Regardless of the system, acronym, or approach, delivering customer value is key to success.

 

Tell us about a time when this strategy helped you close an important deal. 

Regardless if a company is large or small, operating locally or worldwide, value is the centerpiece to which a business relationship is built upon. At Weedmaps, we work with thousands of customers across the country because value is a core component of the products and services we create. From the small caretaker in Maine who needs help reaching a broader base of customers to the large multi-state operators in New York, we help deliver value by helping customers of our platform engage directly with highly valuable audiences. 

As we continue to grow and develop our platform, we continue to ask ourselves, “How do we create more value for consumers of the platform and customers leveraging our suite of products?” This question is answered by interfacing directly with our customers to understand what pain points they have, areas we can improve our offering and ways we as an organization can help them in other areas outside of the digital landscape. Value is at the forefront of our partnerships and will continue to help us expand and deliver value across new and existing states.

Regardless of the system, acronym, or approach, delivering customer value is key to success.”


Having previously worked in B2C sales, what was the most important shift you had to make in your sales approach when transitioning to a B2B role? 

A sales approach adjustment I needed to make moving from B2C sales to B2B sales was centered around adjusting my mindset around delivering customer value today vs. the future. In B2C sales, a person has a pressing need today and as a seller, your goal is to solve that problem today. When working with B2B sales, not only do you have to solve today’s problems, but you also need to be able to solve tomorrow’s problems and next year’s problems and so on. In many instances, a seller has to solve problems where the customer may not even know they have one. However, history has proven that disruption can come at any moment and if not prepared, your customers will one day become a competitor’s customers. How do you solve this? You shift your mindset from building products and solutions for the immediate need and focus on solutions that will still drive value years from now.

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