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Winning at B2B: six steps for small businesses

In the first of a three-part series, PwC’s Jonathan Hollis looks at how small businesses can sell their products and services to larger corporates in today’s business environment. This month, six steps on the road to winning new business.

Jonathan Hollis

May 2019

Selling to a corporate can lead to much bigger deal sizes than going straight to consumers. However, it’s not without its challenges. Multiple decision makers, complex procurement processes and lack of communication across different business units can make growing a business particularly difficult.

However, although each organisation is different, there are a number of things you can do to maximise your chances of signing clients and ultimately, growing your revenues.

  1. Nail your value proposition and positioning

    Ensure that your solution focuses on your customers’ issues and is a real problem they are struggling with. Position your product as something that they cannot live without.
  2. Get basics right 

    Identify a customer relationship manager (CRM) system (e.g. Pipedrive) that feeds into your marketing software (e.g. Mailchimp) and create a sales process with defined stages and actions. Consider learning about a sales methodology to apply a proven method to your strategy. 
  3. Become corporate-ready

    When making a purchase decision, many organisations demand a Request for Proposal (RFP) document so ensure you have a templated RFP document prepared so that you can focus your time on tailoring it for any specific requests.
  4. Assign clear roles 

    Identify salespeople responsible for identifying new leads, those responsible on closing them and those with existing relationships to on-sell further work.
  5. Build an online presence 

    Having a website is no longer sufficient, even if you’re a B2B company; ensure you are visible to your targets as they will often research you and the company before any meeting. 
  6. Research your prospects and build a list of your target customers

    Who are likely to have the pain points your service or product is addressing? You can do this by first defining marketing personas - their profile, title, sector and seniority, then identifying organisations with good market fit. Research the individuals at your target organisation and try and find out who are the decision makers, the influencers and the connectors. 

Jonathan manages PwC's Scale and Raise programmes, helping early stage companies work with PwC's corporate clients and raise institutional funding. 

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