B2B Sales

12 B2B Sales Best Practices

In a world filled with distractions, from emails to social media notifications, what makes prospect care about what a B2B salesperson has to say?

What techniques and strategies will make you one of those salespeople that commands attention and delivers value that gets your prospect sitting up in their seat?

In this article, you’ll find out. 

You will take home some new B2B prospecting philosophies, strategies, and actionable tips that will help you beat your quota, starting tomorrow.

So, here are 12 B2B Sales Best Practices:

1) Know Your Product

It’s simple advice, yet some salespeople forget to freshen up on their product knowledge, which can lose them opportunities. It’s critical to be an expert on your product because ​people want to buy from an expert.

Also, if you know your product inside and out, you will gain some “Prospecting Superpowers.”

best sales practices - prospecting

Superpower #1: Confidence

Cold calling is hard, and those who do it deserve respect. It requires confidence to dial into the unknown.

So if you aren’t knowledgeable about the functions and benefits of your product or service, worries will distract your mind before a call with a prospect.

You will have thoughts like, “I hope they don’t ask me about this feature,” which will kill the confidence necessary to make 60 calls a day.

Luckily, while diving into the unknown, you can lessen the stress by knowing your product. That way, you are confident that you can handle anything that comes your way, including objections.

Superpower #2: Quick-Witted Objection Handling

A lot of the time, when prospects have objections, it’s because they don’t understand the full functionality of your product. If you can think quickly about how other features can fulfill the prospect’s needs, you can overcome more objections.

Being able to spin different features of your product or service to fit their needs requires creativity that comes only with full product knowledge.

Superpower #3: Understanding

A more intimate relationship with your product will create a deeper connection with your prospect. You will develop a deeper understanding of how your product helps your clients.

Features vs. Benefits

You should know the difference between a feature and a benefit. And, when talking with prospects, especially cold ones, your focus must be on the benefits.

Here is a comparison of iPod’s features and benefits.

best sales practices - features vs benefits comparison

Here are some other examples of features and benefits:

  • Feature = iPhone Text Messaging
  • Benefit = You can talk to anyone in the world instantly
  • Feature = Customer Success Manager
  • Benefit = You’ll always have someone to answer your questions

As you can see, the benefit is how the feature will change a prospect’s life for the better. The benefit will spark more interest and emotional reaction than the functionality.

best sales practices - saas tips

If you sell SaaS, for example, then it’s best not to talk about the fancy features on a cold call. Instead, talk about the problems your product solves and the benefits. Wait to show the tech in a demo.

A Useful Exercise

It’s a good idea to write out some of the most common pains that your target audience suffers, the associated features that will solve them, and the benefits received.

If you write those out and internalize them, on-the-spot, you will be able to match features and benefits to their pains, and book more meetings!

2) Identify Your Qualified Target Audience (Ideal Customer Profile)

Like with your product, you have to know your prospects. To do so, the best B2B salespeople develop an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). So what does that mean?

An Ideal Customer Profile in B2B sales is the description of the businesses that would gain the most value from your product or service.

These companies suffer the pains that your solution removes. They are the folks who would be happy to give you money when introduced to your product.

For example, the ICP for McDonald’s is a starving person rushing to catch their flight. The ICP for an SEO agency might be a B2B SaaS Company that employs 50-100 people and doesn’t currently have any content marketing strategy.

Benefits of Identifying an ICP

When you focus on an ICP, you will be able to:

  1. Win More Sales:​ You are talking with prospects who feel the pains you resolve.
  1. Waste Less Time:​ You can focus your energy on interested companies. There’s no point in trying to sell to someone who barely needs what you are selling.
  1. Find Long-Term Happy Clients:​ Since your solution provides such value to the clients who fit your ICP, you are going to have clients that will stay with you for the long-haul.

That means more referrals and upsells for you. According to the classic book on persuasion, “Influence,” by Robert Cialdini, people who buy from you once are twice as likely to buy from you again.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Make sure that you know the difference between an ICP and a Buyer Persona.

A Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer in the company. The description is based on your customer’s lifestyle, pain points, motivations, behavior, and demographics.

Example of Buyer Persona:

buyer persona example

Different types of personas have different needs. So once you have defined your ICP, you can start creating buyer personas and mapping out how you would sell to each of them.

How To Develop an ICP

Think about some characteristics of your ideal client. What features make a company a good fit for your product or service?

Here are some categories to think about:

  • Industry, size, location, budget, revenue, organizational structure
  • Business objectives
  • Common pain points

Example ICP:

example of ideal customer profile

If you need help finding common pain points and descriptors for your ICP, try talking with your Account Managers or people who have relationships with the clients.

Ask them:

“Which clients have received the most value from our product?” “What were the main pains we solved for these clients?”

Then gather a list of 10 clients and try to understand what they all have in common.

3) Focus on a Decision Maker

It’s no fun to spend months on a deal that you almost close, only to have it shut down by the decision-maker you have never spoken to. 

Selling to influential people in the organization is important. It’s great to have an internal champion, but to maximize your potential to sell and effectively use your time, focus on the decision-maker.

The Decision Maker (DM) is the person in the company who decides whether to buy or not buy.

If you’re selling content marketing services, the decision-maker might be the VP of Marketing.

It’s critical to focus your attention on these people as soon as possible in the sales process. The best-case scenario is reaching them with your initial cold call or email. Reaching decision-makers will not only lead to more deals closed, but to sales that close faster. 

So, how do you find the decision-maker?

How To Reach the Decision Maker

If you created your ICP, you should have a good idea of the title of the person you are selling to. If you use a lead database software like ​Soleadify​, you can filter contacts by title and find the decision-maker’s email addresses and phone numbers.

However, some decision-makers won’t have their phone numbers available to the public. In that case, you will most likely have to talk to a gatekeeper at the company, usually a receptionist or assistant.

When speaking with the gatekeeper, be personable. Be polite and friendly. It’s not time to sell the product just yet. If you know the decision maker’s name, ask to speak with them by name.

Tip: Refer to the decision-maker by their first name (e.g. “Is Jake there?”). ​It sounds like you know him, and the gatekeeper might pass you right along.

best sales practices tip 2

If you don’t know who’s in charge, say something like this to the gatekeeper:

Selling Sales Software: “I’m looking for the person in charge of managing your sales team. Can you please point me in the right direction?”

4) Do Your Research On A Prospect

Once you have your ICP and list of top prospects, start to gather intel about your prospects and plug it into your CRM.

Effective research means researching the company and the people you will reach out to. To do so, check out the company website. Read about the company goals or any recent news and successes.

Also, there might be a “Team” page that tells you about the organization’s people. You can use it to find the decision-maker and learn about their day to day responsibilities, helping you personalize your pitch.

For more research, you can leverage tools like LinkedIn or social media. LinkedIn is excellent for finding out more about your decision-makers. You can find intel like where they went to school, what they studied, or what were their past jobs.

You can book meetings from cold calls where you just chat about their college basketball team or a restaurant you had visited near their town.

All this information could potentially help you connect with them, setting you apart from the crowd.

bonus sales tip for prospecting

Research Is SO Important

People will not care about your sales message if it is not relevant to their needs or job function. Use research at the beginning of a phone call or email to get their attention and show that you did your homework.

For example, let’s say you are reaching out to a mobile app developer.

You can warm up a cold call by saying something like this:

“John, congrats on your new acquisition, we work with a lot of app developers in NYC.”

Now, the prospect feels like the person on the phone has done their research, and can provide real value to their company. The prospect knows you aren’t just some telemarketer. You’re a B2B sales rep!

5) Create a Right Sequence and Cadence

When you have an ICP and target accounts, you have a list of companies with similar pain points and needs. So, you can create outreach campaigns that are to the point and have consistent sales messaging, eliminating guesswork on each call or email.

You can also segment and personalize the campaigns so that you are operating at full efficiency. It’s also essential to have a consistent outreach cadence.

An outreach cadence outlines the days and times you will attempt to contact your prospect. ​It also defines the amount of each contact method you will use.

Contact methods could be phone calls, emails, or social media touches. A cadence allows you to spend more time taking action on accounts rather than planning outreach.

Here’s an example of a sales cadence used by the Sales Hub CEO, Max Altschuler.

Don’t feel like you need to have the perfect sequence on the first go. You can always test and adjust your cadence as you track what’s working.

Best Day/Time To Send Emails

Coschedule ​compiled 14 different studies, put them into a data set, and found the best day and time to send an email.

Tuesday was the best day to send an email, followed by Thursday.

Here are their findings on the best times to send emails:

6) Use Multiple Channels

To make contact with the decision-maker, you will need a couple of different types of outreach in your sales sequence—a mix of sales channels increases your chances of reaching the prospect.

For example, a persuasive sales sequence could consist of emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages, and social media touches over a couple of weeks.

While writing notes in the sky with airplanes is over the top, hand-written notes can add a personal touch to your outreach.

Of course, the types of channels you use in your sequence depends on your ICP.

For example, people in the real estate industry are hard to reach over LinkedIn but are always on their phones. Conversely, marketing people tend to have a strong social media presence, so it is a good idea to try to reach them through those channels.

Best Practices for Multi-Channel Sales Approach

According to ​outreach.io​, the best sales sequences have multiple channels. Here is what they recommend:

Winning sequence formula: ​20 emails, 12 calls, 10 LinkedIn Touches over 90 days

Of course, it depends on whom you reach out to, but the data proves it’s best to have a mixed approach and make touches over the long term. That will give you the best chance of making connections!

Bonus Tip:​ It’s a good idea to test different channels to learn which type of outreach yields the most connections.

7) Personalize Your Messaging

Here are two emails. Tell me which one you are more likely to reply to, and which one you won’t read past the first sentence.

Email 1:

Hi Joe,

I hope you are well. I wanted to reach out because my company helps companies like yours generate more qualified leads for their salespeople, resulting in more closed deals.

Are you open to a call with me to discuss our software solution and see if it’s a good fit?


Email 2:

Hi Liza,

Hope it’s nice down there in Texas. I was going over your LinkedIn and noticed that you are in charge of managing a sales team of 10.

As a salesperson, I know that can be tough work. So I wanted to reach out because my company works with a lot of software companies, the same size as {their company name}. We help them generate more qualified leads, resulting in 23% more closed deals.

Are you open to a quick call to learn more?

Of course, the second email will get more replies, or at least, more reads.

That’s because, in 2020, people are constantly bombarded with advertisements and sales messages. You have many people to compete with for your decision-maker’s attention, and your prospects are smart. They quickly spot automated email templates.

So, Should You Use Email Templates?

Yes, but watch out! Email templates can be a great way to save time. However, you should only use them as what they are—a template. Slightly adjust and tailor them to each prospect.

For example, in those emails above, you can use the same value proposition for each prospect, since they fit your ICP. Just make sure you personalize the first couple of sentences to include something about them, like their job responsibilities or something you two have in common.

When you take the time to personalize these emails, people are going to respond, either because they are interested in your offering, or because they respect you for taking the time to do your homework.

Personalize Every Channel

Calls, emails, and LinkedIn messages can all be personalized to the account’s needs, pain points, and personal information.

Disclaimer: ​Make sure you don’t spend too much time personalizing emails. It doesn’t make sense to spend 15 minutes writing a genius email, only to get no response.

Find a balance between quality and quantity. Limit personalizing your cold emails to 5 minutes. Prospecting is still partly a numbers game.

8) Be Persistent and Follow Up

Following up demonstrates you have confidence in your service, and you care about making a connection.

How many times have you received an email and put it aside for later? People do that a lot, and sometimes, if the email wasn’t that important to them, they’ll never remember to respond.

That’s why it’s key to follow up in a sales cycle. You will often get a response from your follow-up email and find that your prospect had meant to reply but forgot.

You might be happy to know that many salespeople never follow up, meaning that you’re going to stand out from the crowd if you do. 

For instance, 50% of leads never receive a second cold call, as shown in this ​Velocify Study.

Here are some more follow up statistics:

sales follow up best practices

How Often Should You Follow Up?

It depends. Is the contact cold or warm?

The best practice for cold leads is six follow-ups before you start overstepping boundaries.

If warm, it’s a different story. Steli Efti, the Co-Founder of Close.io, has this great ​philosophy on follow-ups​.

If he has successfully connected with them in the past, he follows up as many times as necessary until he gets a response.

That’s right. Once he followed up 48 times before he landed a meeting with an investor. 

Persistence pays off.

Brandon Gracey from Handshake.com had a similar experience. He says a mix of 41 emails and voicemails got him this response from a prospect: “You win, let’s connect at the trade show.”

How To Follow Up

It’s best to keep your follow up emails short and to the point. Additionally, try to provide value to your prospect. Value could be in the form of a case study, industry article, or client testimonial.

Neil Patel, a co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, increased sales by 70%when he included case studies into his outreach.

Here’s a follow-up example:


Hi {First Name},

I wanted to send over a follow up on my email. Would you be open to a call to learn about how {company name} can help you {short value prop}?

If not, I completely understand and hope you enjoy this article on {something they’re interested in} attached below.

Why Does This Work?

It’s quick and to the point and you remind the person of the value you offer. Additionally, give them something (content, a case study, or other) of value. According to the psychological “​Law of Reciprocity​,” this will make them more likely to give you something in return (a reply).

Bonus Tip: ​Make sure to follow up by replying to your first email, creating an email thread. That way, the prospect can easily go back and look at your first email.

9) Have a Clear CTA in Your Cold Outreach (Next Steps)

Every outreach should have a clear purpose. 

Are you trying to book a demo? Set up a quick call? Or get in contact with the decision-maker?

Whatever your goal is, you must make it clear to the prospect and ask them for it.

To avoid confusion on your prospect’s end, keep it simple and only include one call-to-action (CTA) in your cold email or call.

The Best Way to Close a Cold Call

According to Mike Weinberg, author of ​“New Sales Simplified”​, you should never be afraid to ask for what you want. It’s the only way you’ll get it.

He says that during cold calls, most prospects will say no to the first attempted CTA. 

When you ask, “Are you open to scheduling a demo/meeting with us sometime next week?” the prospect will most likely say no.

So what do you do then? 

He claims that too many salespeople give up right here and recommends that you do the opposite and ask again. Like this:

Cold Call CTA Example:

“{Name}, I completely understand. You may dislike me for asking this, but how about you visit us anyway. Even if the product’s not a good fit, I’m sure you’ll come away from the meeting with value in the form of new ideas and industry insights.”

Why Does This Work?

First of all, you are acknowledging that they said no. Also, starting with “You may dislike me for this” is a technique used by the famous FBI negotiator, Chris Voss. Pre-acknowledging how they might feel about you instantly makes the prospect feel understood and, therefore, like you more.

Lastly, you mention how the prospect will receive value even if the product isn’t a good fit, upping the chances that they meet with you and think of you as a value provider.

And of course, if they say no again, he recommends asking one more time.

It can be awkward at times, but it works, and you can use this technique on cold calls all the time. Sometimes the prospects warm up by the third ask and say yes to a meeting. 

Worst case, they say no, and you call someone else, knowing you tried your best.

So make sure you have a clear CTA, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.

10) Be Prepared For Objections

Objections are a normal part of the sales process and should not be taken as evidence of poor salesmanship or pitching. Every prospect has objections, and every salesperson receives them. The great ones know how to handle them.

Common objections during prospecting could be any of these:

  • We’re too busy right now.
  • We don’t have the budget at the moment.
  • We already have a solution for this.
  • Not Interested.

You can handle all these objections with the same strategy, which we will explain below.

Cold Call Objection Handling

There is a ridiculously effective framework on how to deal with any objection. It’s called the “LAER Framework,” and it’s based around listening to and learning about your prospect.

Before we go into it, it’s important to note that most objections given are not actual objections

The real objection hides underneath the surface. “I’m busy right now,” might mean, “I don’t trust you yet.”

On a cold call, you can overcome an objection in 2 ways.

  1. You uncover the problems in their day-to-day life and show them how your business can take that pain away.
  1. You make a human connection with your prospects, which will give you the chance to pitch down the line.

Remember, on a cold call, you are mostly trying to set up a meeting, not sell the product or service in one swoop of charm. So use this framework below to connect with and learn about the prospect.

The LAER Framework For Objection Handling

  • Listen
  • Acknowledge
  • Explore
  • Respond OR Repeat
best sales practices - LAER framework

Scenario: ​Pretend your prospect says, “I’m too busy right now.”

  1. Listen:​Try not to think about what you’re going to say. Just listen.
  2. Acknowledge:​Say, ​”I totally understand {Name}. May is a super busy month for us too. We have found that most {prospect’s type of company} have a lot going on this quarter.”
  3. Explore: ​Ask a question. “What got you so busy over there?”OR “What are you working on?” Dig into the answer.

After that, your prospect will respond. Maybe they will tell you they have a lot of paperwork that needs to be done. Or perhaps you will discover that they have something going on in their personal lives.

Again, it’s your job to listen to their response. Next, you have two options.

  1. Respond:​ Do this if you find a pain that your product can solve.
  2. Repeat:​ Go back, acknowledge their answer, and start over.

Respond or Repeat will help you deal with any objection, from simple objections about taking a meeting to more complicated ones further down the line. 

Most importantly, the LAER method opens a chance to real connections and conversations with your prospects.

11) Follow a Measurable, Repeatable Process

The best salespeople follow a repeatable process that they measure along the way to figure out what works best. Repetition drives improvement but also enables you to scale sales activities. 

Your process could be 50 cold calls a day, 30 personalized emails, and 10 follow up calls.

The most important thing is making it something you can stick to because if you stick to it for long enough, you will start to see incredible results.

A best practice is to break up your day into email and call blocks. So do an hour of cold calls three different times in the day. These short bursts will allow you to bring the necessary intensity to the phones.

Here is a sales process example from the article, ​“A Successful Sales Day”​:

Sales Enablement Tools

A lot of people use Sales Enablement Software like Salesloft or Outreach to manage and measure their days.

These tools help you track how many calls you’ve made and how many emails you’ve sent. It also allows you to test different cold emails against each other to find the best ones. 

The aforementioned tools bring us to the next point—sales automation.

12) Automate With Technology Wherever You Can

Sales automation can do amazing things, such as saving you time, getting out more emails, and consistently providing more leads.

But, there’s also a dark side to automation. Some salespeople take automation too far in their outreach, diminishing the human touch. 

They will write up email templates and just blast them out to everyone on their contact list. That’s not going to get them any replies.

Anything involving human connection should not be automated. At the moment, no one wants to buy from a robot, unless R2D2 gets into sales.

R2D2 – loved robot from Star Wars

What to Automate?

1)  Contact + Lead Generation

Finding leads and contacts can be a massive time-sink for sales reps.​ Sales Guru Mike Weinburg says that salespeople should do what they’re best at—selling, and nothing else.

His perfect sales team would spend no time scouring the internet for leads or creating contact lists. They would spend their days emailing, dialing, and connecting with prospects.

That’s why best practice is to get a Prospecting Tool like ​Soleadify ​to automate lead generation. 

Soleadify’s software and database of over 30M (S&M sized) businesses gives you ​thousands of prospects​ that fit your Ideal Customer Profile.

That way, you will always have a list of ready-to-buy prospects, and you can spend time connecting with them instead of searching for them.

2)  Taking Notes

Pen and paper won’t cut it. It’s best to have a CRM that allows you to save notes on accounts for future reference or to share with a colleague.

3)  Pipeline Management

Sales reps shouldn’t have to spend too much time managing their pipeline, so they use tools like PipeDrive to handle their sales pipeline.

Tools can also analyze your past performances so that you can find your most effective sales processes.


In this digital age, B2B sales reps have to go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. We have gone over 12 B2B sales best practices that can help you do just that. 

You have learned how to book more meetings, optimize your days, and prospect effectively. Most importantly, these tips will help you make more meaningful connections with the prospects you are trying to help.