We’ve all seen studies which illustrate that as a business we can’t rely on a one-and-done approach to contacting our prospects.
In your business, you might find that the Chet Holmes Demand Gen Pyramid is more apt. His approach leverages the fact that at any given time just 3% of your audience is ready to buy.
Or you may have a more branding focused view like Marq found in a study which uncovered that “Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility.”
No matter where you look, you’ll find that the sales teams that have a long-term approach to their outreach are the ones that win out. So the question becomes: How can you be consistent in the lives of your prospects without being annoying?
In today’s #MarketingandSalesEssentials I’m going to break down 4 things that every business can put in place to be a more consistent and welcome presence in the lives of their prospects.
1. Start Curating and Sharing More Content
When the idea of content marketing comes up, most companies I work with have the same look in their eyes.
I can see them calculating the dollar signs and time investment that it’s going to take to create multiple posts a day.
The truth is, most people overestimate what needs to be done to maintain top-of-mind awareness with their social media content.
While yes, producing original content will certainly help with your authority and positioning, there are other routes to help you remain in your prospect’s newsfeed without making massive investments in original content.
By regularly sharing out content from 3rd-parties that is relevant to your prospects, you’ll extend your reach and authority.
Most people go about this the completely wrong way.
The goal with this content should be to provide something of interest and relevance to your audience.
You shouldn’t ONLY share out content related to your specific offer or area of expertise.
You want your curated content to appeal to what your prospects care about.
A study from Buzzstream found that 45% of people will unfollow a brand on social media because of too much self-promotion. It’s good to promote, but try to keep it around 20% of your posts.
How do you know what will interest your prospects? Ask yourself, What publications are your prospects most likely to read? What keywords or topics are relevant to their job?
Challenge yourself to look beyond the interests that are directly related to your business.
For instance, if you develop software products for small business owners, don’t only share software content. Look at the broader interests of your prospects – marketing, leadership, hiring the right team, etc. to increase your odds of putting the right piece of content in front of your audience.
Remember this is about relationship building and keeping you in front of your prospects.
2. Approach Your Sales Outreach with a Long-Term Mindset
There’s a story I’ve told many times before, of the perfect long-term approach to sales.
It may not be the most efficient. But it’s hard for me to find a more effective approach in my experience.
Before launching LinkedSelling, I worked as a CFO for a local construction company here in St. Louis.
And it didn’t take long for me to be in that role until I met him…
He – in this situation – sold copy machines and printers. Let’s call him Tom (I’ll keep his real identity a secret).
We were a mid-size organization and we hadn’t been having any notable issues with our printers or copier and had no plans on replacing them.
Tom knew it. He’d been told multiple times our printer situation was just fine.
But still, Tom was persistent.
Every few months we’d hear the front door open and that booming voice dropping by to say hi (and usually to drop off some sort of homemade treat).
It became a running joke in the office.
“I’m getting hungry. Tom’s chocolate chip cookies would save the day right about now…”
Soon enough our printer started acting up.
And as you can imagine the only person we thought about calling to help us solve our printing issues was Tom.
He did what most salespeople don’t.
He took a long-term approach. Really focused on the relationship he was building. And just kept working at it knowing that while the sale might not be immediate, there was one in the pipeline if he kept showing up.
Over the years the company placed multiple orders for a series of products with Tom and it’s because Tom zigged when most salespeople have been zagging.
So when approaching your prospects, think long-term. How can you create a long-term relationship instead of just entering them into a campaign with a short-term goal of a sale?
What is your version of Tom’s chocolate chip cookie?
Maybe it’s simply sharing a link to any new content your company is putting out. Or perhaps asking if there’s anyone you can refer to their company every few months? Or asking if they’re attending an upcoming industry event?
Challenge yourself to think beyond the campaign and more on how you can provide value to the relationship.
3. Think Sequentially with Your Outreach
Now that you are thinking about the long-term value of your relationships…let’s step back into the here-and-now.
Too often, salespeople, have a short-term focus and marketing teams have a long-term focus.
You need to marry those focuses and team goals if you are going to truly unlock the growth potential of your organization.
I’ve seen studies and surveys out there that claim nearly half of sales professionals give up after just one touchpoint.
MarketingDonut took it a few steps further to show that 92% of businesses, marketers, and sales professionals give up after just 4 touchpoints.
Even though 80% of prospects say no four times before they say yes. (Source)
This highlights the need for you to think strategically about the sequences and campaigns you are putting in front of your prospects.
We prefer a multichannel approach that includes social, email, phone, and advertising and we aim to be in as many places as possible so we can reach the prospect on their level.
But that’s not a required starting place.
If you are focusing on one channel, in particular, ask yourself with every message or campaign you initiate, what’s next?
If today I send them a link to a case study, what will I send them next? Where does this content lead?
Is it a follow-up on the case study if they haven’t responded? Or will my next message push for a call?
And after I offer the call, when is it time to follow-up?
And then after the follow-up, when will I move them into my long-term nurture approach like we discussed in point #2 above.
Always ask yourself or your team: what’s next?
4. Build a Community (and Authority)
Technology has made it easier than ever for salespeople to get in contact with their prospects.
But that ease has led to a lot of people trying to shortcut relationship-building or defaulting to doing what’s simplest rather than what is best.
If you are reaching out to a cold prospect to discuss your solutions, you can’t afford to do what every other vendor out there is doing.
You need to stand out and be different.
You need a way to get your foot in the door and break the ice with your prospects in a non-slimy way.
And you need to position yourself as an authority. Someone who provides value and deserves their attention.
One of our go-to ways to help clients accomplish this is to help them create online communities that appeal to how their prospects identify and what they are most interested in.
When most people first ask me about what they should name their group a pattern emerges. It goes something like this:
INSERT MY AREA OF FOCUS for INSERT MY TARGET MARKET
I.e. SEO for Software Developers, Payment Processing Solutions for Non-Profits, The Facebook Advertising Forum for Small Business Owners
The problem with this approach is it might as well have a big banner that says – ‘We’re going to sell you something in here.’
You want your group instead to communicate that it’s a community for others just like them. That is trying to solve a wide range of issues that affect those like them.
For cold outreach when you aren’t yet sure if the prospect is already searching for your solution, you need to make the name of your group feel inviting.
A great example of this approach is On Startups – The Community for Entrepreneurs. This group was founded by Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at HubSpot.
The group isn’t titled Marketing Automation for Startups or The Marketing Automation Forum.
It captures the interest of a broader group of entrepreneurs, startup founders, and small business leaders so that they feel welcome to come learn, share and network with others.
Another similar approach is with Midwest Manufacturing Leaders – this is a community on LinkedIn that was founded by a client of ours in the IT industry.
Because he is looking to build and develop relationships with manufacturers in his region, the group is positioned to appeal to those in leadership roles and doesn’t simply focus on what the company behind the group – Swip Systems – does.
By managing this group and thereby positioning themselves as the ringleaders of a community intended just for their audience, it helps their sales team build more trust and better relationships with their outreach efforts.
Where to Start – Are you trying to create better visibility, stronger prospect relationships, and book more quality leads each month?
Tell us a bit more about your business and we’ll show you the best place for you to start.
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