Prospecting and B2B marketing is a vital part of business lead generation, regardless of the size or industry. Without an effective marketing strategy, sales inevitably dry up and your business with them. More than 40% of salespeople agree that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. This can be especially true for saturated markets like the IT industry; however, there are several ways to increase sales, attract high value clients, and achieve better results using the following 8 top tips!
1. Consistency is key
Prospecting is a key part of the sales process. It takes commitment and a daily effort to ensure you’re bringing in new leads and staying on top of your sales game. Commitment can be broken down into three basic elements: Intention, Time, Trust. Your intention is your focus (in this case, generating new leads). The time you invest in your intention needs to be mapped out (a recommended 15 – 30 minutes a day minimum), and trust (built over time using a consistent prospecting strategy) is needed to secure the end result, i.e. sales.
2. Networking – But not as you know it!
Now that you’ve set aside time to focus on your prospecting strategy, you can analyse your audience and figure out how best to engage them. Social media, email, face to face meetings or phone calls are the main four methods of interaction; and they all use a technique that can strike fear into the hearts of IT professionals everywhere…
Yes, sadly networking is an inevitable part of prospecting, with nearly 100% of people surveyed agreeing that F2F meetings are needed for long-term business relationships. But fear not… This doesn’t mean endless meetings, cold calling, or learning the ‘hard sell.’ Prospecting is all about the connection first, the sales later. Think of it more like a warm call and soft sell. You need to coax prospects towards you, rather than stretch out your arms and plead for their attention.
One way to achieve this is through online networking, which you can test and adapt in several ways. To make it fun, think about quantifying your results. Analyse your clients and work out the type of content they consume: videos, articles, blogs, podcasts, infographics, etc.), and then get to work on creating content so they hear and see you.
3. Create templates
Personalisation is a solid technique for winning over prospects long-term. However, if you’re just starting out, phone scripts or email templates can ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency in the short-term. Working from this baseline lets you adapt content for different audiences at a later date, retain a sense of brand identity, and keep your message aligned and strong. It’s too easy to ramble, forget key information and bore a prospect to death; so, make sure you’re not wasting anyone’s valuable time by having what you want to say written down first.
4. Solutions create value
It’s no secret that people buy from brands they like and trust. People like being given free things. Value = Customers, with 42% of B2B marketers reporting how effective they are with their content marketing efforts.
This doesn’t just mean selling your products at discounted rates way below what they’re actually worth. Adding value can be achieved in all sorts of ways. For example, IT professionals can add value by sending prospects helpful content, such as ‘how-to’s’ and blogs that solve common issues. It tells prospects that you know what you’re talking about and are happy to offer advice (aka: added value) for free. If you do this consistently, these solutions help build relationships and foster a sense of trust. Then, once they’re a loyal customer, you can look at further ways to add value to ensure they remain that way.
5. Keep it warm
Marketing strategies that include cold calling or emailing have a 1-3% success rate. However, using what’s known as ‘warm’ techniques can yield far better results. It does mean that you only contact prospects after they’ve become familiar with you – whether that’s through a mutual connection introducing you, a LinkedIn connection, or other social media interactions such as those you follow/like and share/comment on content with.
6. Share your knowledge to become a thought leader
This one takes time and effort to establish, but by implementing all of the above advice: providing added value content; building your community/prospects; and sharing your expertise and tips, becoming a thought leader is one of the greatest ways to gain trust and generate leads. Think about scheduling a post once a week using the preferred format for your industry/community.
7. Focus, and remember prospecting is a journey to selling… but not as you know it!
By remaining focused and committed to your prospecting strategy, lead generation should happen naturally. Remember selling is the result of prospecting – the long-game. When you approach selling by providing value you are changing the game! It might take more time and require stricter discipline, but the results will last longer, be more effective, and firmly establish you as a key player in your industry.
8. B2B is still P2P
Although business to business (B2B) marketing sounds professional (and it is!), it’s still worth keeping in mind that it’s actually people to people (P2P) – a concept often lost when prospecting. By making yourself real, approachable and valuable, the individuals you’re dealing with are more likely to bite the carrot you’re dangling.
Lead generation for the IT industry relies on this concept more than most, especially considering the products usually on offer are user heavy and customer based. Ripping up the stereotypes and positioning yourself as a different kind of thought leader – one that isn’t scared to offer value, pick up the phone and network within your community – will attract high value clients worth your time and effort.
I hope you enjoyed these 8 top tips for prospecting and attracting high value clients. By keeping them in mind and implementing a robust strategy, your proactive participation in your business’s success will pay off in more ways than one.
If you’d like to learn how else I can add value, you can contact me here.
1. Research.hubspot.com. Part of the sales process reps struggle with. Source chart: https://research.hubspot.com/charts/part-of-the-sales-process-reps-struggle-with?_ga=2.969718.676423613.1567777304-676222079.1561722658
2. Virgin.com. The importance of face to face networking. Source article: https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/infographic-the-importance-of-face-to-face-networking
3. Neilpatel.com. Source link: https://neilpatel.com/blog/38-content-marketing-stats-that-every-marketer-needs-to-know/