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No beaters, no birds!

In this week’s post we’re asking whether your outbound marketing is provoking inbound enquiries? And if it isn’t, what can you do about it?

In the past, Marketing activity consisted of broadcasting the benefits of the product/service and waiting for the customer to contact the Sales team. Now, it’s a more nuanced exercise, consisting of regular communication, informative and original content, and gaining the trust and confidence of the prospect. This is known as Inbound Marketing.

As an illustration for the relationship between Sales and Marketing, we’ve been thinking about traditional bird hunting. The time-honoured formula combines beaters and hunters. The beaters move through the hedgerows and brush, creating noise and commotion, causing the birds to rise into the air, into the sights of the hunters. Importantly, because of this partnership, the hunter is able to remain focused on the skyline. The beaters provide the hunters with targets, and traditionally both beaters and hunters share the harvest.

How do we apply this hunting analogy to contemporary business and Social Selling? Your company receptionist is probably trained to keep Sales calls out. So cold calling, previously the mainstay of business development, is practically impossible these days. You may also put printed flyers straight into the recycling bin, and delete all unsolicited emails. Getting through to prospects in the digital age requires a fresh approach. To connect with your target personas you need a whole new business development strategy, and systematic procedures to ensure that it is yielding results. Contemporary Marketing methods will be critical to your success.

Social Selling Is The Way To Flush Out The Quarry

If you or a member of your team is keen to make contact with someone in a target company, make friends first. Showing an interest in their interests, issues and business challenges will be critical in creating a connection. Find out where they spend time online and engage on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. Follow, like, comment and share to develop common points of interest.

Every week, seek out another twenty or so new LinkedIn connections and ask to connect with a personalised message. It doesn’t have to be corny, so say something like: ‘I note that we have a lot of common contacts. It would be great to connect.’ It will probably take a couple of months to get each person’s professional network where it needs to be. Sam and I receive dozens of marketing emails each month, (usually offering a minimum of 10 qualified leads per week!). They are boring, repetitive, and easy to ignore. Last week Sam received an approach that mentioned some of the contact’s personal interests, such as having played bass in a band. We didn’t need what he was selling, but an interesting chat about music ensued, leaving a very positive impression. If you can tailor your message, you will gain greater traction and engagement. This is a big part of Social Selling, which is the collective purpose of your Marketing and Sales teams.

Consider 10 x Marketing colleagues and 10 x Sales colleagues, all with 1,000 1st degree connections on LinkedIn. Your latest Blog post will be exposed to an immediate audience of 20,000 contacts if everyone is working together. Your team’s faces will also become part of the furniture online, as long as they remain active, making weak connections stronger. In time, each person’s 1st degree connections will have grown from 1,500 to over 2,000, and they will be able to ‘see’ their new connections’ network as 2nd degree connections. This unlocks huge potential. After some initial effort, when you and your extended team promote the latest Marketing Post, Blog, Tweet or Video you will have become beaters, actively creating success for your Sales people (the hunters).

So what are the key steps in getting started?

1. Develop a Social Selling strategy and objectives:

- Create personal and team goals to grow 1st degree contacts in LinkedIn

- Spend time defining where your prospects are most active.

- Decide how you will engage your prospects without causing irritation. 2. Reach out to connect.

3. Make sure messages are relevant, and resonate with your prospect audience.

4. Promote your organisation’s content to create inbound interest.

Time invested in Social Selling, has a direct impact on marketplace exposure (Brand Awareness and Penetration) and prospect numbers, resulting in a successful hunt.

We’ve seen this process produce results first-hand. If you would like to discuss any of these ideas further, just get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

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