Sales without pushing in B2B? Use your data! 6 steps
You are a professional. Passionate about your expertise or solution. But disapprove of selling. We typically associate “selling” with “pushing” to a customer. So most of us “share” and hope that our prospect will take the bait.
Forget it! Research points out that “sharing” (mostly online) achieves 0,5% lead generation at best in B2B. No matter what channel (mail, social, video, blog) you apply. All the hype (digital selling, social selling, omni channel) is achieving increased legal resistance (privacy) and negative customer experience (spam). Keep at it! But for exposure/visibilty only. Don’t expect revenue to rise. Or prospects to come running.
So how to grow business in B2B? And build dialogue with prospects in such a way they come back? Knowing you are not the only one with an "innovation" or expertise. So loyality is less. Sure customers will drink coffee with you but may buy somewhere else. Savvy customers recheck their options after each project. Compare. Seek free consulting. Want your skin in the game.
So even as an expert in your field (consultant, lawyer, financial, tech), with a strong brand, selling is part of your game or it's "game over". And yes superb delivery today helps you but no guarantees tomorrow.
The first step to structure growth? Take time to really understand your customer!
- Be careful with data providers. To build a list of potential customers: yes! Get a lead list or lead details but more often then not refresh rates are lacking with up to 40% inaccuracy. Data provider lists need to be checked and updated before any marketing action or you generate ANTI-marketing for your brand or solution.
- LinkedIn is not enough. Sure you get partial info on your customer. However it is history only. And often again outdated. To really know what moves and shakes your prospects, you need insight into the future.
- Don't be a tool fool. Do not buy a CRM (or similar) tool that promises growth. There is no such thing! We see too many businesses buying tools and then not using but paying for no results. Growth is driven by understanding customers, putting the right process in place for marketing & sales, testing the process and THEN knowing what to automate.
- Reuse internal (CRM) data and mix with public data. Understanding past but also present behaviour, you can start building "prospect profiles". This way you use your team's experience to start a bit of prediction what your customer wants tomorrow.
- "Buyer Persona's" say nothing. These are generic profiles! Any marketing towards "persona's" is essentially still a form of "push". You need to analyse person-specific behaviour: what is being written about the person you wish to engage with ? What has (s)he written? What action do you see in the last months? What behavioural trends can you conclude? What behaviour or actions relate to the solution you are offering? This generates specific insight into your prospects' future behaviour. And timing for action.
- Gather your profiles into a ranking. By tagging your prospects for the number of triggers relevant to your solution (we use stars: 5 = highest relevance) you end up knowing who to focus on first, why now and how to add value.
Only now you are ready to perform true "person-based marketing". And your sales enabled to ask the right questions and share what your prospect needs. Pushing stops here.