Making B2B Sales Less Onerous for Startups

Capria VentureBasecamp spent time with Pravin Agarwala, founder and CEO of a successful startup, BetterPlace and we unearthed some practical tips to answer those questions about B2B sales that everyone faces, but no one asks! Here is a glimpse into that conversation.

“Sometimes, we end up seeing every B2B deal as a transaction – it’s not a deal, it’s a relationship..build that.”

Pravin Agarwala, BetterPlace

1. The B2B sales cycle is typically 6 months long with lots of meetings. What are some of the best practices for such meetings?

Typically your first meeting is about generating interest. A good strategy is to target the lowest hanging fruit. The second meeting is about presenting a solution for solving a problem. Map out your stakeholders well – you should know who the decision makers and saboteurs are: HR, finance, IT, etc. and ensure all of these are well represented in the room. Please don’t sell too many things from the get-go. After the second meeting you should be able to judge customers’ interest in the product, based on the meeting participants or by the kind of questions they ask. You need to understand the different types of customers and their criterion for purchasing. For e.g., a small enterprise is interested only in a cost-effective solution while a large enterprise will look more at factors like process, innovation, etc.

2. B2B pricing is not straight-forward since it depends on volume, strategic customers, etc. How does one arrive at pricing?

3. When should I hire a sales team as a young startup?

I believe founders must do B2B sales themselves till they get their first 50-100 customers. At BetterPlace, as we started scaling, we started building local teams. Sales is driven by revenue and KPIs. set aspirational KPIs and align incentives.

4. How do we handle long sales cycles in B2B, esp. wrt accounts receivables?

Accounts receivables becomes an issue with large accounts, but there’s no escaping it. The only way out is to bite more than you can chew and chew it – get the credit line. There are many options available these days to fund your working capital.

5. What role does content marketing play in B2B Sales?

Brand building is a day one activity. People like to partner with leaders and you have to start behaving like a leader. Also, have a process to publish reports and blogs to be seen as a thought leader. At BetterPlace, for instance, we recently organised ASEEM, our annual event with 500 guests and released our report on Blue Collar Jobs and Migration Trends.

6. What is the one mantra you follow for B2B sales?

Keep the customer at the forefront. Don’t sell anything, solve a pain point and build relationships.

Do you have any burning questions around B2B Sales? Send it to us via your comments and we’ll try to answer them for you!

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