New Study Reveals Key Opportunities to Strengthen Relationships with B2B Buyers

July 23, 2018

B2B Sales Study

We can’t say enough about the importance of relationship building when it comes to selling in the modern world. While we will continue to promote proven ways to build stronger connections with today’s prospects, we always welcome others to join the chorus. It’s even better when they add a perspective grounded in data.

That’s what ValueSelling Associates brings to the table with their report based on a survey of 260 businesspeople in buying-decision-making roles. Read on for key findings on building connections with buyers, along with tips for using LinkedIn to make stronger relationships a reality.

Lead With (Relevant) Value

Providing value should be a top goal for every sales rep, because it’s a reliable way to make inroads with prospects and establish yourself as a go-to ally. Unfortunately, the study shows that some reps might not be fully considering value from the buyer’s perspective. Specifically, the survey found room for improvement in key areas, noting that only about one-third of buyers strongly agree that their rep does these things well:

  • Provides relevant business insights to inform buying decisions
  • Is helpful throughout the buying cycle
  • Cares about the buyer’s financial performance/ROI

By conducting research on LinkedIn, you can dig up relevant information that positions you to engage insightfully. Perusing your prospects’ LinkedIn profiles will give an idea of their roles, achievements, and even current initiatives. Pair this with the information you glean about their organizations’ priorities through their LinkedIn Company Page and their companies’ websites.

Calling upon this dossier, offer relevant insights to help your prospects navigate every step of their buying journey. Or, use the info to ask smarter questions that move the conversation forward. When it comes time for a prospect to make the business case for your solution, step in to help shape a data-backed story outlining the potential ROI in realistic terms. Remember: Your prospect will hopefully become your customer, and you both will get the most value from the relationship if it’s customer-focused throughout.

Connect Better When Interacting Virtually

Considering that you rely on virtual interactions to build relationships with prospective buyers, it’s essential to hone your written communication skills. Being proficient at communicating via email is what makes it possible to pique buyers’ interest and keep them engaged. Yet, according to the study, most buyers feel reps aren’t effective when communicating over email and social media.

You can sharpen your skills by studying winning email templates and staying up to date on the email marketing tactics that work for salespeople. For starters, stop sending emails if you haven’t done any research, because only through research can you be confident that you’re writing a personalized, buyer-focused message with a clear subject line and logical call to action.

Go above and beyond your peers and competitors by leveling up with InMail. InMail messages have a 10% to 25% hit rate when it comes to soliciting a response from prospects, 300% higher than emails with the same content. One reason is that InMail messages don’t get lost in a flooded, filtered inbox. Plus, it’s easy for the recipient to quickly validate your credibility by clicking through to your LinkedIn profile.

You can also take advantage of PointDrive within Sales Navigator to set your messages apart. Instead of burdening a prospect with an attachment-heavy, link-filled message, you can send them a single link to a personalized package of content they can easily access via any device.

Stay Grounded in Trust

When buyers consult a sales rep for guidance, they want to feel like they are turning to a trusted advisor. Unfortunately, 58% of buyers believe reps alter the facts to get what they want, with 62% saying they feel reps apply too much pressure. In other words, a majority of buyers question the integrity of their sales reps.

Increasingly skeptical and overwhelmed buyers are going to extend their trust to a chosen few during their buying journey. Since trust plays a pivotal role in relationship building, it’s critical to build credibility incrementally, with every interaction.

In addition to being authentic and honest, keep your prospect’s needs and priorities front and center. Do this by saving prospects as leads in Sales Navigator so you get alerted to their activity on LinkedIn, including when they publish new posts, comment on other posts, and get promoted or change jobs. Expand your understanding of what’s happening with your prospects by also following their companies on LinkedIn to stay abreast of announcements and other updates.

When the time comes to interact with prospects, your well-rounded view of their role and business situation will be much surer to impress. By demonstrating a commitment to fully understanding your buyers’ business, strategies, and concerns, you can build credibility while simultaneously erasing doubts about your integrity.  

For more ways to strengthen relationships with buyers, subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.