7 Effective Presentation Techniques to Increase Your B2B Sales
B2B sales and B2C sales stand worlds apart, especially when it comes to their target audiences. After all, B2C is all about selling to customers who are actual end users. In contrast, B2B focuses its efforts on selling to B2C customers. Providing B2B presentation materials to a B2C client can only end up badly. Similarly, approaching a B2B client using B2C presentation techniques won’t get you very far. Understanding the differences between the two markets can help your sales teams avoid wasting time and resources altogether. Connecting to the intended audience requires identifying and understanding the distinctions between B2B and B2C markets.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in creating and delivering sales presentations. When introducing a company or product, you’ll need to ensure the presentation techniques used resonate with the audience. More importantly, the sales presentation should establish an immediate connection with your prospective client. A carefully prepared, properly targeted and highly informative presentation can make your audience react positively. They can choose to move the sales journey one step forward. Or, they can continue engaging with you and learn more about your solutions. Conversely, a flat, uninspired presentation can close the door completely with the client.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C Sales Presentations Isn’t Just About Presentation Techniques
While sales teams should know whether they’re servicing B2B or B2C clients on day one, understanding the differences between B2B sales presentations might require some further review. Keeping your target audience in mind while developing content should help you focus on your efforts.
Consider the Length of the B2B Buyer’s Journey
A B2B sales presentation focuses on establishing a long-term relationship with the client. According to MarketingCharts, a typical B2B sales process takes at least four months when dealing with new customers. Meanwhile, existing customers usually close subsequent deals in 90 days or less. In stark contrast, a B2C transaction can take just a few minutes, especially if the customer already has an idea of what to buy beforehand. Apart from the Awareness and Interest stages, the B2C journey also includes additional points such as Consideration, Intent and Evaluation.
Consider the Decision-Making Process
The additional stages in the B2B buyer’s journey are necessary due to the nature of the typical B2B buyer. Instead of having a single buyer making the decision, modern B2B companies form buyer committees consisting of an average of six to ten individuals. In order for the committee to arrive at a consensus, they will need to meet and deliberate on the merits of any proposal sent to them. This explains the reason why the B2B sales cycle takes much longer compared to a B2C transaction.
Consider The Long-Term B2B Plans
When dealing with businesses, B2B sellers aim to establish long-term relationships with clients. Unlike B2C buyers who mostly purchase individual items or packs, B2B buyers deal with bulk or big-ticket purchases such as specialized machinery or office supplies. In many cases, purchases of consumable items require constant or periodic resupplies. As a result, maintaining a long-term relationship means more opportunities to refill present orders and generate new ones. This means not just being there to offer a product. Instead, B2B clients expect the sales representative to be there when needed, whether to fill orders or to provide advice. In contrast, B2C sellers don’t expect much from their buyers. Investing in a long-term relationship with all customers does not make sense for either party.
B2B Presentation Techniques to Apply to B2B Audiences
When developing a B2B sales presentation, the content should keep the target audience in mind every step of the way. As a result, the sales presentation should consider applying the following presentation techniques:
- Focus on establishing trust with the client instead of pushing for a quick sale. The goal isn’t to get a one-time purchase order but rather to convince clients that a long-term partnership will serve their interests far better for longer.
- Position your brand as a provider of solutions and not a vendor of products. Present your solution as something that addresses the buyer’s specific problems instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Each client might have highly-specific issues that require custom solutions. Offering them a generic solution is often not the answer they’re looking for in a B2B buyer.
- Provide or offer technical information about the solution instead of simply focusing on the features and benefits. B2B buyers are either technically proficient in their purchase requirements or have resource persons on standby to assist them. Buyers will need this information once they reach the product evaluation stage. Who better to provide that information than the sellers themselves?
In a nutshell, B2B sales are a lot more complex than their B2C counterparts. The latter typically involves selling products to individual end users who can make purchase decisions on the spot. This is why B2C sellers usually design their materials as an emotional plea to buy now. In contrast, B2B buyers are more disciplined in that they need time and information to evaluate solutions. Since there is no quick sale in a B2B market, sellers should make sure the presentation provides as much information to buyers as possible. More importantly, the presentation should position your company as a long-term solutions provider, instead of just a vendor of a generic product.
What Elements Should You Include In a B2B Sales Presentation?
When developing a B2B sales presentation, you should include certain elements that work well for your target audience. While results may vary depending on various factors such as industry, audience, or product, these presentation elements can help establish order and consistency in your presentation.
A short overview can help set the agenda so that the audience can set their expectations without getting lost along the way. For presenters, the overview also works as a handy presentation guide to prevent you from straying too far off-topic. A brief outline stating the major points will suffice.
Acknowledgment of the Problem
Providing a solution requires a thorough understanding of the problem. Remember, B2B buyers prefer not to listen to offers of generic, all-in-one solutions. Given that today’s generation of buyers are digital natives and prefer to do their research, they already know that off-the-shelf solutions are not what they need. Instead, they need to know if a buyer really understands the specific problems they need to address. This includes discussing the pain points that the client currently experiences while a solution remains pending.
This section is critical in establishing a seller’s credibility. The more a seller can relate to a prospective buyer’s pain points, the more inclined the buyer is to hear them out and ultimately pull the trigger.
Company Information and Establishment of Authority
Before providing your proposed solution, your presentation will need to establish your expertise on the subject. Aside from introducing the company, you will need to briefly explain why your company deserves to be heard. Use this section to share your experience and expertise on the subject, including the number of years of industry involvement and previous success stories. You should also briefly introduce the team members involved in providing the solution, including their individual industry experience.
After all, establishing company credentials strengthens overall credibility in the subject matter at hand. Given the opportunity to solicit expert advice, many buyers won’t think twice about accepting your input if you establish authority from the start.
Once your presentation finishes establishing credibility, it’s time to provide the solution. This is not just presenting a product or a service. Rather, the presentation should be clear about how the seller plans to address the problems outlined earlier. While an extensive solution proposal is ideal, limit the presentation to a short, easily-digestible version that doesn’t leave the audience bored or hanging. Once both parties reach an agreement, they can iron out the details later.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Of course, some clients can object to your proposal by saying other sellers are also offering similar solutions. Your sales team can counter by including your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) as part of your sales presentation. This section is a great opportunity to show your client what makes you different and better than your rivals. By highlighting the attributes that make your organization stand up among your competitors, clients can get a better idea of your value relative to the other industry players.
Process and Onboarding
This section provides the client with an outline guide to how the solution will roll out. It includes data such as estimated timelines, major milestones, onboarding processes and planning/alignment requirements. While this section is initially brief, the full details and plans should be fleshed out once the deal is made.
Ideally, pricing information should form part of the presentation. Buyers will always look at the price as a major consideration and in some cases, identify it as a pain point immediately. The pricing information section should help engage a client and lead to further conversation. They should also know if there are options such as variable pricing, bulk discounts, or other arrangements.
Once the presentation has been delivered, be sure not to leave the conversation hanging. Your client should never be left wondering what’s next. Present a clear call to action including the exact next steps to move forward and formalize the deal. If it’s not putting pen to paper, it could be a commitment from the client to give feedback within a set number of days.
Presentation Techniques That Help Increase B2B Sales
Now that you’ve identified the required sections for your B2B sales presentation, below are seven presentation techniques that can help make your message louder and clearer. Use the following presentation techniques to improve how you present your content.
1. Tell a Story
Given the choice of presenting a success story, is it better to show or tell? By telling, you’d simply be spouting off numbers and figures while explaining how your solution can improve efficiency by X% and increase revenues by Y dollars. Meanwhile, showing means telling the stories of how your clients managed to solve their problems by engaging your services. You can start by sharing their initial problems, which are likely similar to the pain points your prospect is facing. Then, you should look to add a short introduction of how you got wind of the situation and approached them with the solution you’re currently pitching. By aligning your solutions with their problems, you managed to lay new concrete on what was once a dead-end! Adding a narrative helps make a case study or anecdote more interesting and engaging. And when the topic is something that the audience can relate to, they can get the impression that a solution might be forthcoming for their similar problems as well.
2. Use Statistics and Data
Audiences listening or reading your sales presentation will find it easier to process your information if you include a sprinkling of statistics and data in your presentation. This is where excellent research plays an important role during the development of your story. For example, discuss how your audience’s inability to solve their problem can cost them X dollars every day in terms of lost revenue or lost productivity. Consequently, your solution that costs $Y can achieve an ROI within Z number of years and save you X dollars! Adding real numbers to the story helps the audience better realize the effect of not acting on a problem as well as visualize the benefits of acquiring your solution. Importantly, make sure to always have data on hand to support your claims.
At the same time, talking about previous success stories with other clients becomes a more engaging story when numbers enter the picture. How much did your solution save client X? Or, how much revenue did client Y generate when they took your advice? While hearing about these stories, your audience will likely run these numbers in their heads and visualize how they can enjoy similar success.
3. Utilize Interactive Elements
Interactive elements are a great way to increase engagement with your audience. You can start each section by asking an interactive question. Alternatively, you can also insert a few survey questions in between slides to gather insights on how viewers find your presentation. Interactivity can also come in the form of clickable objects that can open up new sections, share before and after images or provide additional information. This helps creators develop less-cluttered layouts, as extra information only appears when a user clicks on a button. Giving your audience additional control of the presentation through buttons, action items or pop-up menus that can help keep them engaged and on the lookout for more surprises.
4. Use the Rule of 3
The Rule of Three is one of the few presentation techniques that has stood the test of time. Simply put, the Rule of Three relies on listing items in threes. Whether you’re listing items, attributes, or ideas, limiting the list to three makes it more interesting compared to any other number. When you think about it, many popular and collective ideas come in threes. Baseball has three strikes before you’re out and the Three Little Pigs storyline would be very different without their ever-practical third. Even famous idioms use the rule of three. Body, mind and soul. Location, location, location. Even our most widely-used countdown is limited to “Three, two, one!”
Using elements that follow the Rule of Three can help your presentation become more familiar, fluid and memorable (that’s three!). For some reason, applying the rule of three turns the content into a pattern that the viewer finds relatable and easier to engage with.
5. Use the Pareto Principle
Aside from the Rule of Three, another technique that helps enhance sales presentations is the Pareto Principle. The idea of the Pareto Principle is that 80% of any output is the result of only 20% of the input. This concept’s origin lies in the observations of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. In 1896, he famously declared that 80% of Italy’s total lands were owned by a mere 20% of all Italians. Centuries later, it turned out that Pareto’s observation accurately applies to many situations.
But how does the Pareto Principle apply in sales presentations? It doesn’t, but it does apply to actual sales. Around 80% of a company’s sales usually come from 20% of its customers. More specifically, just 20% of the sales team generate 80% of the company’s sales. While there is a limit on how many times you can invoke Pareto in your sales presentation, you can try identifying situations that apply the principle to the subject at hand. For example, your sales presentation can identify 20% of problems shared by the client that cause 80% of the negative effects such as a lack of referral leads that may only make up 20% of customers but account for 80% of lost revenue. Once the smaller problem is identified, part of the presented solution can focus on this area.
6. Prepare To Address Objections
For every proposal comes an equal but opposite objection. Part of coming up with solutions is anticipating the inevitable objections. Is the solution great but pricy? Objection! Is the solution cheap but complicated to use? Objection! Is the price within our budget but some issues are not covered? Objection! However negatively objections seem to look, there are silver linings to them. One is that getting an objection from a client means engagement. In other words, they were actually paying attention to what you presented and even had time to respond. Second, the successful handling of an objection can help with the client’s conversion process. Weak salespeople see objections as an end to their hopes. However, the confident sales rep sees objections as opportunities to convert.
As the old saying goes: “Forewarned is forearmed.” Members of the sales team should always be on the lookout for objections. Similarly, those who created sales presentations should always review carefully and anticipate where the objections will likely come from. If they can pre-identify potential areas for objections, they can prepare the rebuttal ahead of time. So when the time comes and the client issues the objections, the sales team can confidently reply immediately and confidently.
7. Make It Quick and End With a Call-To-Action
Even the most engaging sales presentation can take its toll on its audience when it runs too long. Sales presentations should completely, concisely and clearly communicate their message in as few slides as possible. After all, your sales presentation should act as the start of a conversation with your client and not a closed loop. If for any reason the audience did not respond or leave feedback, then any further conversation isn’t likely.
This is why any communication, especially sales presentations, should end on the right note. In particular, the ending slide of a sales deck should make it clear what the expectation is. This is why when finalizing the presentation draft, collaborators should insert a Call-to-Action (CTA) at the end slide. Has the sales team said all it needed and will now await the client’s feedback? Or, is the sales team confident enough with its presentation that they are now ending it with a CTA about signing an order form? Either way, always make sure that the CTA contains contact information so that all parties can resume the conversation. It should clearly indicate which party is now responsible for picking up where the conversation left off. Whoever it is, the CTA’s messaging must be very clear about the next step.
Use Effective Presentation Techniques to Increase Your B2B Sales
Presentation techniques are critical in turning bland sales presentations into great, engaging ones. In addition to applying these presentation techniques, make sure to use up-to-date presentation software that can provide the interactivity and collaboration tools needed to pull off an awesome deck.
Ingage is cloud-based, interactive presentation software that allows you and your entire team to create compelling sales presentations for your clients. Cloud systems mean that users can log in anywhere there’s an internet connection. Meanwhile, its powerful collaboration features allow team members from all across the globe to collaborate and share a presentation document. This allows any team member with access to help out with the creation of sales materials. They can share ideas, help with editing and make reviews all while connected to the same document. Last but not least, Ingage’s data analytics features enable you to gather insights into how clients reacted to the presentation you shared via email.
Learn more about how Ingage can help you create sales presentations and maintain a winning edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Contact us and we’ll happily work to solve the problems and pain points that are keeping you from leveling up. We’ll also arrange a free demonstration so you can see the power of Ingage yourself.