Article by Tamara Trentain
Mitara Empresa Pty Ltd
VISABILITY & CREDIBILITY To attract B2B customers in the masses you need to build an online personal brand, develop a useful professional network and proactively engage and nurture your professional community.
Look at your own business life:
• Are you finding that you just don’t have enough time to get things done?
• Are people becoming an interruption?
• Are too many people wanting too much of your resources?
• Are there just too many emails and voice mails needing attention?
• Are you spending more time fighting the alligators than draining the swamp?
If so, you’re not alone, your prospects feel the same. Compounding the situation, from your salespeople’s perspective, is that they are no longer needed as the primary source of information like they were in the past.
To a great extent, the Internet has replaced the salesperson as a source of technical and sales data. Salespeople can no longer be the exclusive providers of information. They have to find other ways to add value to the relationship.
Basically, we all have become so busy that we no longer have the time to deal with unsolicited personal visits, emails, or voice mails. Our prospects are shouting at the top of their lungs, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you!”
In other words, in today’s new sales world, you have to be findable when the prospect needs to find you. In addition to being findable, you need to be top of mind when the prospect goes looking. Hence, reverse prospecting.
There are two key elements of reverse prospecting:
1. Be findable
2. Be top of mind
Being findable means ensuring that your Internet presence is as good as it can be. You need to rank high in organic searches for the keywords that your prospects will use when they go looking for what you offer.
More and more companies are availing themselves of the social media platforms such as blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, etc. Salespeople can assist in your company’s findability by being proactive in Social Media, as well as be instrumental in creating top-of-mind awareness.
Be Top of Mind
It’s important for your salespeople to maintain a presence with your prospects. When a busy prospect comes up for air and is looking for what you offer, you want him to remember you. Reverse prospecting at work.
The key to creating top-of-mind awareness is touch points, more specifically, value-added touch points (VATP).
Value-Added Touch Points
A touch point is any time you come in contact with the prospect, or any time the prospect comes in contact with you. It doesn’t matter who initiated the touch. It only matters that the touch occurred.
A value-added touch point is a bit different. This is where the prospect walks away from the experience with something that she considers of value. It might be something like an article in a magazine, product sample, book or a catalogue. Or it could be something intangible such as an e- newsletter, product video or LinkedIn message – something of interest to her and/or something that they feel they can use.
Each sales person requires on average 5 – 7 touchpoints to achieve a conversion of a new contact (non referred). In the old days this would have meant meetings, followup phone calls, another meeting to close the deal etc. This takes a lot of time and $$$. In today’s business environment more touch points are required for a conversion. By having a LinkedIn strategy, in combination with your existing marketing activity, will assist you in achieving these 7 touch points with some initial effort upfront (15 minutes) and very little maintenance thereafter.
The Bottom Line
If you want more prospects, move from cold calling to reverse prospecting. Being findable and getting people to remember to find you — reverse prospecting — is the way to go in today’s busy business world.
Your LinkedIn profile
• Your LinkedIn apps including videos, presentations, blogs and event calendar will be updated for you on a quarterly basis.
• Updates on LinkedIn tips and additionals will be provided.
• LinkedIn helps you build and maintain your network of professional relationships.
• You will get out of LinkedIn what you put into it, therefore you need to assign time to it each week
• Use the Outlook Toolbar to Link In your existing contacts to grow your network.
• ALWAYS personalize an invitation to reflect where/when/how you met or the common ground or reason you wish to connect. Make it easy for the person to remember you and accept your invitation.
• Join relevant groups and get involved with people that you can connect with and get to know
• Report back to HO on your LinkedIn KPIs monthly • Keep your network to work contacts and non-suppliers.
• Include personal, non-work related content. No suppliers, no friends/family, no competitors. If you choose to use LinkedIn for personal use, than we ask you not use LinkedIn as a work/sales tool and only make reference to the company in your current job title.
• Don’t post any content without pre-approval by HO beforehand
The following LinkedIn strategy can easily be integrated into your existing sales process:
REFERRED OR NEW CONTACTS For new contacts that you have already made contact with via phone, apply the following strategy:
1. Confirm meeting time via email with a copy of your latest enewsletter or e-brochure.
Scripting: In preparation for our meeting, below is our latest company news. I invite you to view our short company overview video (link)
2. Meeting in person (Skype if not local to establish a TRUE connection. Phone call as last resort).
Note: Mention during the meeting that you welcome them to contact ANY of your clients as testament to your services. Inform them you will send them a LinkedIn invitation so you can view references and gain access to clients, which they can contact. This shows confidence in your ability and reputation and most importantly, provides them with the ongoing VATP – vital to your business networking and growth.
3. Invitation to LinkedIn sent immediately after LinkedIn via your phone reiterating your invitation to peruse your references and your clients/network for a referral
4. Email (Campaign Monitor mining enewsletter feature that’s relevant to their industry/sector) sent within 24 hours
5. Added to mailing list/database to receive future electronic correspondence
6. Set a calendar reminder for a followup 1 month after contact (if no order response is received) and add the new contacts details into the company database
NEW LEADS / NON-EXISTING CONTACTS
For new leads (generated through a linkedIn contact, conference, networking event or group), apply the following strategy:
Send them personalized messages. The best way to drop any walls—and give you the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, what similar events they have attended, what groups they’re in, and who your mutual connections are. Then, write a personal message like this one:
In addition to this, now that they are part of your network, they will receive regular LinkedIn posts, enewsletters and important notices. They will be able to view your company videos, case studies and references. This does not require your involvement, leaving you time to focus on further networking and sales.
I noticed that we’re both connected to Mary. Mary is valued client and friend who we have provided [products/training].
I would love to connect with you to learn more about your experiences at Xyz Company. I believe there are a number of ways we could help one another. Would you be free for a brief chat in the near future?
Looking forward to connecting soon and I’ll be sure to tell Mary I contacted you. I’m sure she would love to know I reached out to say ‘hi.’
Great to meet you at the Xyz conference today. I look forward to learning more about your company and touching base with you in-person in the near future.
Other powerful LinkedIn activities
Start inviting relevant people to your events.
LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.
Due to the viral nature of LinkedIn, once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.
Start promoting your event. Send an invitation to the people who would be interested in the event based on region or niche.
RUN AN ADVANCED SEARCH IN YOUR TARGET MARKET
It’s so easy to generate leads from LinkedIn. The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after.
Simply click on “advanced” on the top right side of your home page next to the search box. This will take you to a clean page where you can input anything you need to find the exact lead you are seeking. You can search by industry, keywords, company and title, to mention a few.
Here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn group:
1. Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn’s search section.
2. Add keywords in the title of the group to be found on Google.
3. Add your company website or blog to the group to drive traffic to your site.
4. Add your blog RSS feed to the group so every new article is automatically posted to the home page of every group member.
5. Send a weekly message that adds value for group members and drives traffic back to your site.
6. Connect people in the group by making introductions to those who could potentially do business with one another.
Stage 1 (once off):
• Setup existing profile on LinkedIn including Apps
• Invite your current contacts to LinkedIn Script required
Step 2 (ongoing): Aim: Generate leads amongst target market for top of funnel item WEEKLY Invite all new contacts to LinkedIn following the REFERRED / NEW CONTACTS strategy (approx 15 minutes total work per contact) Generate a minimum of 5 leads per week from existing networks following the NEW LEADS / NON-EXISTING CONTACTS (approx 5 minutes work per contact = 1 hour per week)
MONTHLY (aprox 15 minutes) Training only
Invite relevant existing LinkedIn contacts to training events, as well as from your LinkedIn calendar
Provide a report of LinkedIn KPIs to coordinator at end of each month
- - - -
number of new contacts added email addresses of new contacts to add to company database number of events booked through LinkedIn
MARKETING Invite at least one quality client for a reference per month (these can be accepted or not depending on how they respond)
Paul Timms is a Professional Speaker and the Managing Director of Business Entourage, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs start, grow and sell their business.