If you’re a business owner, I’d be very surprised if your time and energy are unlimited. So you need to build a marketing engine that drives your business forward.
Here are four ways to leverage offline sales techniques in your online marketing. Get these right and you can build an automated lead-generation machine that works for you 24/7.
Know where your prospects are
Wherever your prospects are, you should be too. So, while you can still enjoy a spot of in-person networking, going online means you can be everywhere at once and reach a far greater number of prospects. Building a marketing engine means that, even when your sales team aren’t working, the business is generating opportunities. The knock-on effect is that the sales team can work on warm, rather than cold, opporunities.
In terms of automation, social media content, blogs and articles can be scheduled and pushed out on a regular basis to a relevant online audience. But that doesn’t mean humans aren’t needed – those networking skills will come into play as you respond to comments and questions. The aim of all this activity is to create dialogue, after all. So find the relevant conversations in forums and social media, participate and offer value by demonstrating experience and expertise that helps them. And by signposting your key content to help them further, of course.
Understand the flow
How will your interactions proceed? In this multi-channel world, you can never be truly in control but it still pays to start with a good idea of desired pathways, channels and stages prospects will like go through. Then set about creating content that addresses the key scenarios and nudging your prospects along them.
Content should sound human and respond to your audience. ‘Old school’ sales techniques like identifying with your prospects’ problems, needs and desires have never been more important.
Consider, too, what kind of language might make them responsive to your content. You want to show an understanding of your prospect’s world. If your prospect isn’t technical, use the language that they would use – not your own jargon and technical speak. Make a list of objections, problem-solving pointers and more and chart a path for your prospects to tread.
Aim for long-term relationships but don’t forget the call-to-action
Lay down your plan. What are you trying to achieve? A demo? A call? Always have this in mind when you’re prospecting. Yet, consider also the indirect actions that will lead to this, like lower-commitment interactions (downloading a guide or checklist, for example). Better to start the engagement. It can be nurtured into a sales-ready lead later.
Never forget, the ideal outcome of all this prospecting is to begin a relationship. Let’s be honest, most people don’t want to be sold to. Savvy consumers can sniff out a sales pitch a mile away, so it’s unwise to doggedly hunt down a sale. It’s best to think longer-term and that means building relationships and building trust.
Don’t neglect nurturing
According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of nurturing content is the main reason for this.
A very effective, automated way to do this is to provide consistent content. This can be in the form of a regular newsletter, case studies and related articles that help demonstrate your approach and your value.
You need to become established in the prospects’ mind as being trustworthy as well as being capable. Don’t be afraid to ask if there’s a way you can help but don’t be the self-centred salesperson who only ever asks for the sale.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to prospecting in your business? I’d love to know.