With many companies, after starting the business and when the honeymoon period is over, there comes a time when some serious effort needs to go into knowing how you're going to generate new business.  Should you always go it alone, or is there a better way to generate new business?

how to start a syndicate marketing group pt2

Learning what B2B marketing tactics work and what doesn’t

If you haven’t read part one, click here to read ‘What does Collaboration or Syndicate Marketing Really Mean

You're probably au fait with cold calling, emailing and mailshots but you will have worked out that the returns are miniscule. The typical success rates are as follows:

  • The ratio for making calls to getting an appointment are 100-1
  • The click-through-rate for cold emails are 1-3%
  • Mailshots have a 1- 2% for a response

Apart from taking out a second mortgage to pay for an integrated marketing campaign, there are not many alternatives, except one; syndicate marketing.

Syndicate marketing is more than just a group of businesses paying for an advert and sharing the sales leads; it's a strategy for winning consistent new business for people with a common goal, i.e. success!

Syndicate marketing, or joint-venture marketing, is about pooling resources and customers so that everyone within the group can benefit from each other's previous hard work and make new sales.  The collaboration group can also significantly reduce their marketing spend by being more focused.

Identifying a Potential Collaborator

The first thing you need to do is think about your customers, and who else they buy from:

  • What businesses approach your customers in the same way that you do?
  • What products do they sell to them?
  • Where are these companies located?  Do they operate in the same geographic area as you?
  • How many businesses are there, i.e. do they have much competition (this helps to understand their receptiveness to working with you)?
  • Are they large or small businesses, enterprise or SMEs? This will affect who you approach and how you pitch to them
  • How old should the company be? How long have you been trading? This will affect the receptiveness of the other company as there shouldn't be an imbalance, i.e. if you've been in business for six months and have two customers and they have been around for 10 years with 600 customers you will struggle to connect with them
  • Can you find out how many customers they have?
  • Find out what resources they have to help identify new business

Planning Ahead

Networking online on LinkedIn is a great way to seek out and identify specific individuals who could meet your criteria. It could be that you use the following search criteria when looking on LinkedIn:

  • Do they look normal? Make sure they don't scare you and wouldn't scare your customers (come on, I'm being serious here!)
  • Do they have a good website? This helps gauge where they are on their business journey. If not, then they may be starting out
  • What content have they already produced? E.g. blogs, articles etc.
  • Social media presence. You need to take a view if they have made 10,000 tweets and have only 10 followers. Is there a problem?
  • Establish where they're based.  There's no point connecting with someone in Scotland if you live in Surrey
  • The LinkedIn Search facility is excellent. Reminder: Join a group and then connect with the people in the group as you can tick the box that you have the 'group' in common
  • Check their profile completeness on LinkedIn. You want to connect with people who are themselves as complete in business as possible

Face to Face Networking

If you have been networking before, you will know the typical format. With most networking organisations, you are given the opportunity to briefly present your company in front of all the attendees.

When it’s your turn, briefly explain what you do, but this time, explain what type of companies you're looking to connect with. If they are not sitting in the room at that time, ask the attendees to let you know if they are aware of people that you're looking for so that they can introduce you or give you their contact details.

If there is one or more of your desired collaborators in the room make sure you talk about the potential increase in each other’s exposure, either by marketing to each other’s customers or, if you're both new businesses, producing a joint prospect list.


What’s in Part 3

Now you’ve seen what needs to be done to get some other businesses on board, check out the final part in this series “How to promote your SME through syndicate marketing”.

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