Who Can You Become Allies With?
Marketing, much like psychology, is about understanding behaviour and, when it comes to new business, it is all about second guessing your prospects’ behaviour and then adapting.
We could all wait and see what artificial intelligence (AI) will do for B2B, but I can’t help feeling for people who are thinking: “what about now and what about this year’s P&L, let alone the AI ‘pipe dreams’ the MarTech industry has planned?”
The bottom line, there is nothing particularly new in marketing and certainly there is no quick-fix for generating new business, especially with GDPR.
- Where is the excitement for businesses selling B2B?
- What can marketers do differently?
- How can businesses inject engagement into their communications with suspects, prospects and customers?
- What is your USP as a company and I’m not talking about your product, I’m talking about you?
CTPS & GDPR – The Terrible Twins!
We both know the B2B approach has to change, especially as neither you nor I like being cold called.
We also have access to the corporate telephone preference service (CTPS) to stop phone calls and with GDPR now live it will mean that the phones and emails could, most definitely, go quiet. Sadly however, that means everyone is affected, including us.
I think a great deal is still changing and this year, with Brexit etc., new strategies will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Should we go back to basics?
I am not one to keep going back to basics (unless I’m trying to help a salesperson get back on their feet) just because of a lack of ideas. Yet there needs to be a blend of styles and approaches that can help secure more consistent new business than simply sending the sales team out cold calling.
For many businesses, if the board starts thinking about new business, commonly, the first thought is to get more sales people. Big mistake! In the same way a website needs to be customised to increase conversions, so do businesses – but how?
Remember a few things haven’t changed. People buy people; customers and prospects are 60% sold before they even contact you and of course, nothing is a dead cert.
So why try to come up with a new approach? Most people would believe that everything that could be done has been done and of course, there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, we thought so too until now!
What about networking?
You’ve probably been networking; who hasn’t these days? Whilst it can be an enjoyable social event, very little business is generated, apart from the lower end, e.g. stationery supplies, graphic design, plumbers and so on. Firstly, one of the main problems is that many of the people who attend are micro businesses and they don’t necessarily have access to the sizes of businesses you need to connect with.
Secondly, there is an expectation that everyone will give access to all their customers to the first person who asks. And we both know that would never happen in a million years!
In practice, it is very difficult to get traction, either because of incompatibility or simply because everyone who attends wants to sell and no one wants to buy or help. It often smacks of people looking to ransack what they can get and then move on to the next meeting.
In my opinion ‘cold networking’ is way too unproductive for serious B2B sales companies. Let’s face it, if you approached your bank manager for a business loan and told him you intended to generate new business through cold-calling and networking, he’d laugh at you.
Everyone is in the same boat
No matter what you sell or where you sell it GDPR, CTPS, good ol’ gate-keepers or simply the overwhelming amount of ‘noise’ and competition in the market, no one is immune to the restrictions of getting new business.
And whilst technology is a factor, if you can’t use it and exploit it, it’s worthless. https://martechtoday.com/3-tips-make-every-martech-implementation-success-209885
The same goes for social media. Which platforms and what content? Should you write once and post everywhere or target your audiences and write for each platform? https://mashable.com/2017/07/11/conversation-prism-brian-solis-update-2017
The bottom line is we both know how we like to be approached and how we respond when we want to buy something. The trouble is, many salespeople continuously forget that they’re buyers too; they don’t think and can end up upsetting their prospects due to inexperience, arrogance or pressure from above!
Something had to change and salesXchange Syndicates is the answer.
From small acorns!
The idea for salesXchange Syndicates came whilst writing the book ‘Integrate - The Essential Business Technology and Marketing Handbook’. It occurred to me, that if business owners were willing to cooperate things could be different, or should I say easier and more profitable.
But there were multiple drivers to consider, starting with equality! Let me explain; a business with a few employees hooking up with a twenty-year-old national player wouldn’t exactly be fair, especially for the larger company. We had to make sure that there was a balance. We ensure, therefore, that the business turnover and numbers of customers of each member company in a syndicate is about equal and of course every member of the group must sell complementary products and services.
One of the main factors was also to provide a service that covered every aspect of marketing and new business generation, by maximising the existing talent in each company and not attempting to act like a hatchet man, making all of the existing marketing obsolete overnight.
Don’t Make Me Think
Business owners have enough to think about, that’s why we plan and manage everything in advance, so MDs can ‘set-and-forget’ this new string-to-their-bow!
Keep it strictly simple (KISS)
Our focus is firstly on short term introductions and access to new business and, secondly on long-term content creation that lays the foundation to attract new business in the future. If someone asked you to invest in their marketing ‘plan’ and told you it would take nine months, you/I would tell them we weren't interested as no one would want to wait that long.
That’s why we developed a simple two-phased approach; short term gain combined with a long- term strategy.
We bring together five businesses who sell to the same audience but don’t compete with each other on product or services. We combine their customer databases on our secure servers, but don’t share the data with anyone in the group or externally.
The existing customers are invited to join the new syndicate marketing group. This is either by email and/or by the sales people visiting the customers as part of their normal activity.
After launching the new website, we embark on a marketing program that includes 1-2-1 introductions, content marketing and face-to-face communications via our managed events.
It’s clear why new business can be hard to win, but even clearer why it is going to get harder later this year. Take a moment to consider the serious advantages of working with marketing allies and the significant financial and profitable benefits you could achieve.
Collaboration is King
When you consider the cost of people and technology, unless you have deep pockets, it can be almost impossible to compete with some organisations. Do your company a favor and explore the implications of collaboration/syndicate marketing; you will be surprised you didn't consider it sooner.