Every business uses a combination of sales channels as per their business model to be successful.
If you are looking to pick suitable B2B sales channels for your business, you have come to the right place.
Before we step in, let’s brush up on some basics.
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What is SaaS?
Software as a Service or SaaS is a cloud-based platform that is available for the user throughout the day.
Yes, you heard it right, throughout the day!
To add to this, SaaS platforms provide a wide array of features and services that the customer can use with ease.
You must have used quite a few of them, such as HubSpot, Google Workspace, and Dropbox.
What is B2B Sales?
Although many sales terms might sound intimidating, they are in fact very practical in nature.
Sales transactions fall into various categories, such as B2B sales, B2C sales, enterprise sales, direct sales, and more.
B2B sales is as literal as it sounds. It is the sales proceedings that take place between one business and another.
Let’s understand this with a real-life example.
One fine morning, while walking around your neighbourhood, you notice a new vegan organic restaurant. You decide to go in and have a fancy plate of mango sorbet. The essence of the mango and the richness of the dessert prompt you to ask the owner the source of the mangos.
She says that they order freshly grown, organic mangoes from Ratnagiri. This is a live example of B2B sales.
Think of more such relatable examples from your life. I’m sure you will find them!
How can you visualize a B2B SaaS?
Do you enjoy listening to music and podcasts on Spotify?
Well, you have found an example for B2B SaaS that you use on a day-to-day basis. Spotify started as a music streaming platform, developed on AWS. They migrated to the Google Cloud Platform in 2016. Netflix is another example of a B2B SaaS platform.
Now that I have grabbed your attention and explained the basics, let’s move toward the elephant in the room.
Imagine yourself as a genius coder who creates an app named “Trafficy” that solves road traffic issues in India. You use a SaaS platform and are all set to launch your app to the world. Your marketing team has done a fantastic job to get the word out.
P.S: Here is something about different types of marketing your business can experiment with.
But, you haven’t thought about the most important question.
How do I hit the weekly sales numbers for my app?
That’s where this blog post comes in handy. The sales world has a few strong pillars that make the basis of a rock-solid foundation.
Without the right sales channels, you can get stuck in a financial maze.
What are the different types of B2B sales channels?
Imagine you are rolling out your “Trafficy” app and are looking for a smooth channel to boost the number of active users. It is at this juncture that picking the right sales channels for the B2B segment will help you reach the right numbers.
Key things to look out for: Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
The following overview of different types of B2B sales channels will help you make the right decision for your business.
Direct sales is self-explanatory. In this sales channel, you will be selling your product directly to the customer.
For example, if you decide to purchase an iPhone from an Apple retail store or the online website, it is a form of direct sales.
Remember that the direct sales channel will work for you if you have a well-defined strategy for B2B sales in place. The revenue will be under your roof and the entire sales funnel will be under your control.
Direct sales can be further classified into two types: inbound sales and outbound sales.
1. Inbound Sales
The inbound sales channel is a sureshot way of acquiring new customers. In this sales approach, only the interested audience is targeted as there is a chance of building a long-lasting relationship with them.
The best way to understand this is through an example.
Isha creates an app that sources novels from second-hand bookstores and delivers them across the country. She wants to increase the sales numbers and doesn’t want to follow the conventional approach.
With her limited budget, she wants to target only those audiences who would be interested in her app and would turn out to be frequent users.
She runs an ad campaign on various social media platforms targeting book lovers and fiction enthusiasts. A large target audience clicks on the ads and lands on her website. They then sign in and start using it.
This is how your B2B inbound sales funnels get activated.
2. Outbound Sales
The opposite of inbound sales, a business following outbound sales approaches the audience directly to gain sales numbers. This is done through cold calling, emailing, and the likes.
Say, you open an EdTech startup named EdyBuddy which helps graduates skill up in STEM subjects. Your startup runs well amongst young IT graduates.
But you realize, there might be a market of individuals who skill up and shift their career line. Hence, you start approaching them on LinkedIn. Surprisingly, a vast number of people click on the link and sign up for the upskilling course.
Hope you got the idea on how outbound sales works.
Many businesses use channel sales to reach a wider audience. This acts as a medium between the seller and the buyer. This medium can either be a retail store or an eCommerce website.
Businesses can use both the above sales channels as well. In case you decide to purchase your iPhone from Amazon or other eCommerce websites, it falls into the category of Channel Sales.
There are three sub-categories of channel sales.
1. Value Added Resellers (VAR)
Value Added Resellers (VAR) purchase software from the original manufacturer to sell to the end user. They generally sell this as a bundle with add-on features.
2. Managed Service Providers (MSP)
Managed Service Providers (MSP) are similar to VAR, but they stick for a longer time and offer more services. These include network maintenance, hardware repair, help-desk services, email management, and more.
3. System Integrators
System Integrators provide you with IT support while integrating your SaaS product for their customers.
Let’s go back to the imaginary world and assume that you create a new and innovative approach to work on databases. Sadly, you aren’t able to reach the masses that require this solution.
So, you approach Oracle. They assist you with software and network support and enhance your product. They purchase your product and customize it to gell with the rest of their products. This way, you get constant sales from the IT line.
Certain companies award individuals who recommend that product to their audience. You can see this with social media influencers every day.
The popularity of these individuals is so vast that it helps to attract customers from an untapped market.
As the creator of the traffic app, let’s assume that you have managed to create a buzz amongst the office goers from the age of 25 – 55. But you realize that the app might reach a higher sales number if you could bring in college students.
You immediately reach out to a YouTuber who is very popular among the teens to promote your app. Overnight, you find the affiliate channel has worked and teens have signed up.
This channel is a great way to build a relationship with a new audience while retaining existing customers.
When it comes to picking the right sales channels for your startup, or a small to medium-sized business, I would suggest choosing wisely. Always go with the sales channels that best suit your B2B business model.
At times, a single sales channel is never your answer. Rather, it is a harmonious blend of multiple sales channels. Every business has its own path. Follow what is true to your USP to reach the right sales numbers.
If you are unable to determine the best sales channels for your business, you can hire a consultant such as The Clueless Company to assist you.