What does it take to excel in B2B sales?
This was a question that intrigued Josephine Bennegren, our Training & Skill Development Manager in Stockholm, before she joined Management Events in 2019.
In just three years with Management Events, Josephine has achieved one step in her long-term career goal: she is now leading a trainer team of her own. And as the B2B professional she is today, Josephine knows how to answer the question above.
What was it that attracted Josephine to Management Events in the first place? What has she learned about B2B Sales, a field she knew nothing about just a few short years ago?
Josephine went from customer service to coaching B2B Sales Professionals in 3 years
In 2019, Josephine was finishing her master’s degree. Having worked for 8 years in customer service and business-to-customer (B2C) sales, she was ready for her next career move.
At the time, she was looking for a traineeship. But not just any traineeship; Josephine hoped to find one that would be a starting point for her future career in the B2B field, which she was drawn to. As are many of her peers.
No wonder, then, that Management Events’ Sales Trainee Programme caught Josephine’s attention right away.
Back then, the Sales Trainee Programme allowed trainees to try different functions within the company before starting on their own journey towards a senior position in B2B sales.
This would give Josephine the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of Management Events’ business and the product from various perspectives, before stepping onto her own path to success.
The Sales Trainee Programme ticked all the right boxes for Josephine.
“I was looking for a company where I would be challenged and gain responsibility – to have someone expect things from me,” she says.
“I liked the idea of me growing within the company at Management Events”, Josephine continues.
So, she decided to send in her application. She even called Management Events’ recruiter, to confirm that the application had been received.
By the end of that call, Josephine’s interview was booked.
According to Josephine, she didn’t need to go further than the interview to be convinced that Management Events would be a match with her career and personal aspirations.
The employment papers were signed, and Josephine joined Management Events as a Sales Trainee.
Fast-forward to today, and Josephine has proved her fast learning skills and enthusiasm towards B2B Sales and Business Development. And in her current position, Josephine shares advice and tips to her own team of business-to-business (B2B) Key Client Managers.
What are Josephine’s top 5 tips for excelling in a B2B Sales career?
Josephine’s 5 tips on becoming a B2B sales success
#1 Remember that decision makers are humans too
As a newbie in the B2B industry, meeting new people can be quite nerve-racking. Josephine knows that from her own experience.
Today, Josephine meets several new people weekly in her work. She advises to keep in mind that no matter what the person’s title or position is, they are humans too.
“We are in contact with people in high positions, and for young people this might seem scary at first,” Josephine says.
“It’s really important to always remember that it’s still a human you are talking to.”
#2 Understand your customer
Management Events is a network business – it is based on continuous relationship building.
When building a relationship, it requires more than a handshake as a sign of co-operation – according to Josephine, relationships are formed by a personal connection.
“From a Key Client Manager perspective, it’s really about making the customer feel heard and noticed – on a personal level too. It’s about having a genuine interest in the customer and the outcome”, Josephine explains.
“We don’t just close the sales deals and wish our customers a happy life. We want to understand the customer and really be their trusted person on their way to success”, she adds.
#3 Dare to ask why
A core element in B2B Sales is to understand the customer’s needs. As simple as it sounds, this isn’t always the easiest task.
Josephine says that daring to challenge the customer in these situations is a positive thing – it’s also a way of building trust.
“Finding out customers’ needs requires dialogue. If you dare to ask questions you will understand the bigger picture better. I’ve noticed that it will help a lot in understanding the real needs of the customer”, Josephine summarises.
#4 Get comfortable with what you sell
Imagine the following scenario: you enter a sales meeting happily with high hopes of possible co-operation.
However, it quickly becomes evident that the salesperson has no clue what he or she is selling.
Your questions don’t get answered, and you are not sure what you are being offered…
Quite a party pooper, right?
Josephine says that such a scenario can be easily avoided by a proper induction.
“Knowing what you sell presents a more professional and trustworthy image of you. At Management Events, we have a lot of things we can sell, and the range is expanding all the time.
We know that entering your first sales meetings can be quite scary – and through our in-depth induction process and continuous training we ensure that no one’s left feeling unsure about what they’re selling”, Josephine explains.
#5 Find a balance between being a friend and the expert
As a last tip, Josephine reminds that there is a fine line between being a friend and an expert.
“I think the best advice is to connect with people on a personal level, but still be the expert when it comes to what you want to offer”, Josephine summarises.
Connect with Josephine on Linkedin and ask about working at Management Events.