Why Should You Use Social Media in New Business Development?

In the traditional sales model, we identify our prospects and then use several tactics to get in front of them, qualify them and ultimately sell them. But, what about all the other potential users of your product or service that you don’t know about? Yes, some of them may find you through a referral or make their way to your website, but there are many more that may not ever know that you exist.

In most cases, especially for manufacturers who are selling more complicated products, there is a sales funnel you need to take prospects through before they are ready to buy. That’s great, but that only works if you’ve identified the potential sale.

Think of social media as your silent salesman. It’s out there bird dogging for you and taking a potential customer through some of the initial stages of the selling cycle.

Social media is a great way to connect with prospective buyers because they will find you based on what they are searching for (what kind of problem they are looking for a solution for) on the web. It allows you not only to connect, but to start a conversation. It allows them to get a better feeling for the company and how you go about helping people. In other words, you start building the “know, like and trust” model that comes with any sale, especially to new potentials.

Social media is a great way to educate prospective buyers because of all the tools you have available: Blogs, Forums, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All are platforms for you to add value to the conversations by giving them great content, and it starts establishing you as an expert they can count on.

Social media is a great way to collaborate with potential buyers because of the tools like GoToMeeting, WebEx, Zoom and join.me or other technologies that allow you to connect almost immediately to help answer a question or show how to fix a problem. There are even listening platforms, like HooteSuite, Sprout Social and others that will help you monitor conversations around the areas you want to be in, and you can contribute at the appropriate time.

So, don’t just fall into business as usual. Think outside the box and give social media a try in your new business development efforts. You might be surprised as you may eventually identify a potential new customer that was never on your radar screen.


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3 Post-Show Activities to Make Your Trade Show a Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I get back from a trade show I’m exhausted and ready for a vacation. Unfortunately, there is still work to do after the trade show. In this Part 3 of our 3-part series on successful trade shows, we’ll look at the 3 post-show activities you should be doing after every trade show to make sure it is a success.

1. Leads/Inquiries

“How many leads did we get?” This seems to be the number one question everyone asks after every trade show. And while this is an important question, I think the better question to ask is “What’s the plan for handling these leads?” (more…)

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Does Your Lead Nurturing Deliver Strong Results?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

First of all, do you have a lead nurturing program? If the answer is no, you may want to consider one and here’s why.

In a recent article in eMarketer.com, there were some interesting findings in a study done by Demand Gen Report (DGR) in July of 2015

  • Over 50% of U.S. B-to-B marketers said nurturing programs outperformed their counterparts from 10-30%.
  • These leads outperformed others in moving through the sales funnel, and respondents reported a 10-30% increase in sales opportunities.

Types of Lead Nurturing Campaigns Currently Used by US* B2B Marketers, July 2015 (% of respondents)

The key in lead nurturing is being able to define specific markets and subsequent messaging. You need to be relevant. Email was the most widely used tactic with over 94% using it.

Another interesting stat is that 42% of consumers will delete an email if it isn’t mobile friendly, so keep that in mind.

So do some of these stats resonate with what you’re doing?

If you like this post you may want to read:

Lead Nurturing: What Industrial Marketers Need to Know.

For Your Lead Nurturing Program-Where do you Find Good Content?

What’s the Difference Between Lead Nurturing and Follow-up Calls?

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Closing the Loop on Sales Leads

broken chainDon’t have a plan to follow or nurture leads?

When was the last time you responded to an ad, e-blast or other form of communications about a new product and never heard from the company after they got you what you requested? Or if you did hear from them, it was weeks or months after the original inquiry.

I bet it’s more the rule than the exception, especially in the B-to-B world. What I can’t figure out is why. Unless your product is so unique, wouldn’t you want to let the prospect know why dealing with you is better?

Yet I see many manufacturers still today that have no formal plan to follow and nurture leads. If they are not going to follow-up the lead, then why are they promoting the product in the first place? It’s a waste of time and money.

Many pass the lead on to their distribution network before qualifying them as to what stage in the selling cycle they are.

Wouldn’t it make sense to follow-up with the prospect…

  • to see if they got the info they requested?
  • to see if you can answer any questions?
  • to direct them to a local distributor?
  • to possibly offer them some other help or info once you determine where they are in the sales cycle?

A lead that has been qualified and then passed on to either rep or distributor gives them a little better feel for what the prospect is looking for and the application. The lead doesn’t stop there; it’s only the starting point.

There are several CRM programs out there that can help you manage, track and nurture the leads. What I don’t understand is why folks are using them. One reason I found is that lots of sales folks don’t like lead tracking and nurturing programs because it identifies some weak links in the selling cycle. In the world of ROI, I would think Sales and Marketing would want to know where new business is coming from so you can do more of the same.

It makes sense if you qualify the lead before giving it out to follow-up with.  You’ll get better results and salespeople might even call on them.

The sales cycle is only as good as its weakest link.

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What’s the Difference Between Lead Nurturing and Follow-Up Calls?

In my mind, not much. I think they both work together to move prospects through the sales funnel. Using a nurturing system, you can start to identify their needs. The key is to do follow-up in some manner. 

Nurturing keeps you top of mind, builds credibility, solves prospect’s problems and positions you as an expert. Quality lead nurturing can lead to more sales.

Not all leads are ready to buy, and it’s important to have a process in place to sort them out. According to Russ Hill from Ultimate Lead Systems:

  • 67% of all leads are legitimate prospects.
  • 34% have a need that must be satisfied in the next 6 months.
  • 70% of those prospects didn’t know you made that product.
  • It takes on average 5-6 sales calls to close a sale.
  • 80% give up after the first call and 90% plus give up after the second call.

It’s important to get the lead the information they requested. A CRM system would help in organizing and communicating with them. It’s also important to find out where they are in the buying cycle. Some cycles are longer than others, and it would be important to know where they are so you can get them the relevant info to get them to the next stage. Lots of this can be done via email or even snail mail depending on the preference of the prospect.

The key in my mind is not to call until they request. Once they do, then periodic calls are appropriate. Depending on your company, it might go to an outbound sales person or into the field for follow-up.

When do you take someone off your list? Unless you determine they will never buy the kinds of things you make, I’d say never. Start a database if you already haven’t. If you publish a newsletter, put them on the list. When introducing a new product, make sure they are copied on the promotion. The key is, even if they bought the competitor this time, it doesn’t mean they will the next time.

Whatever you do, have a process in place and use both lead nurturing and sales call follow-up together.

What are you doing to follow-up leads?

If you like this post, you might like:

What’s your Lead Nurturing Strategy?

Why Email Marketing is so Important in Lead Nurturing to the Professional Tradesman.

What’s Your Plan for Lead Nurturing?

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