Generating leads is the first step to making any sale, but are the tactics we used five years ago still the most effective in today’s economy? There are the established techniques that we’re all familiar with, that may still bring about some results (such as cold-calling and traditional telemarketing efforts), but newer methods can lead to better relationships being developed and a far higher Return on Investment. Continually engaging with clients, or ‘multi-touch marketing’ as I like to call it, sees brands reaching their target audience with a consistent message that gets reinforced after every touch point. This develops a stronger, ongoing relationship with customers and builds a foundation of trust between your prospect and yourself.
Moving away from the single-touch approach
Probably the most common method of conventional marketing in the technology sector is cold calling. Whilst this method is proven to produce results, research clearly shows that the results being produced today are significantly lower than just five years ago. This is not just because of increased competition. Anyone running their own campaigns in house will know that more and more companies have implemented new “Full Proof” systems to prevent “ALL” cold callers from reaching senior decision makers, so what was once difficult has now become impossible within certain companies when targeting senior decision makers. Furthermore, does this method really suit the kind of long-term relationships that you would ideally want to build up with your prospective customers? After all, it’s a one-off interaction, with a simple question that ends in a simple answer – yes or no.
If the answer is “YES”, then that’s great and you can move on discussing business requirements and making the sale. But if it’s a “NO”, then where do you go from there?
Perhaps a better approach is to build a more solid relationship, using multiple touch points to strengthen the bond between you and your prospect. In an age when customers are more savvy and consumers wield more power than ever, it is now estimated to take between six and eight separate touch points before your prospect will buy from you.
Make use of your networks
There are plenty of ways to deliver a more multi-touch approach to marketing. Possibly the most effective is by integrating business social media into your sales strategy. This typically allows you to get extremely targeted in terms of defining your target sector and who you initiate contact with. By using multiple touchpoints, you are able to develop a much deeper relationship built on trust.
LinkedIn is ideal for this. As a business-focussed social network LinkedIn allows you to target prospective customers by delving into the information they share about themselves and if you upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator you get access to extremely powerful targeting tools. It’s always good to connect with prospects first, then share relevant and useful content that would arouse interest. The combination of consistent interaction gives you the opportunity to continually engage with customers in a more strategic way, rather than just going in with a sales pitch at the very first point of contact.
If this process is executed well it will build trust, and position you as a valued source of information they look forward to receiving further material from. It also gives you the chance to keep in regular contact with potential customers without being demanding of their time. Sharing online articles and adding comments to social media posts is low-touch but maintains that trust relationship, positioning you as a thought leader within your industry and someone who could potentially add value.
This regular interaction gives you multiple chances to get your own brand in front of your prospective customers. In amongst the content you’re sharing with clients, you may want to add in snippets about your own product / service or specifically how you could help them solve a problem they might have.
Why this works
It’s broadly recognised that people tend to prefer to buy from people they trust, rather than take a gamble on an unknown supplier. Any client looking for your product / service is far more likely to do so if they trust you, and offering your valuable knowledge and expertise is a great way to start to build that trust and develop the relationship where you are perceived as a knowledge expert in your field. In a recent study 74% of salespeople who beat their annual quota by more than 10% said they have an excellent understanding of social media.
This approach is particularly important when your sales involve large-ticket items or multi-year managed service programs. The people who are responsible for making such decisions are not going to act on impulse, and will instead look around, do their research and listen to people in whose opinion they have faith.
Deals like that take commitment from everyone involved, and it’s the salesperson who puts in the hours developing relationships, growing their network of potential customers and constantly building trust who will see the rewards in the end.