Over the past few years, I have been asked by potential customers “Can you do some sales work for me to make some leads?” While I CAN pick up the phone and make some sales calls, what if they are not yet ready to engage? What simple B2B marketing activity can a company do to support any sales work? Here are some ideas from a combination of recent experiences.
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Prospecting with Cold Calls
Over the past few years, I have been asked by potential customers “Can you do some sales work for me to make some leads?” some of them even add the caveat, “and I’ll pay you if we get some new orders.” Hmm. As you may know, I have been working as an Official Reseller for HappyOrNot in the UK, and I recently wrote an article called Inside Sales Know-How To Convert Your International Leads From A Distance, which shares a few tips on this. But this is more about inbound sales, not prospecting for new business.
I’ve had several projects of trying to prospect for new business, from cold. It can be frustrating because, in many markets people do not want to receive cold calls, they don’t want to be sold to, even though most companies are in the business of selling. Something of a paradox, right? This can also lead to the customer being frustrated that they are not getting enough leads to justify this work – nobody’s happy!
Planning for B2B Sales
For years, we’ve been hearing about social selling. Getting people to follow you (or your company) so you can serve them with content that keeps them interested enough that, when they are finally ready to buy, they automatically think of your company and THEY contact YOU. But this needs some long term thinking. Maybe it also needs companies to switch how they think about this type of content marketing too.
Many people have their B2C (Business to Customer) social media or advertising work planned, but what about B2B (Business to Business)? After all, this is the work that they want me to help them with. What B2B marketing materials are available for me to use? What B2B marketing activity will the company do to support any sales work? I’m going to share some experiences that are a combination of a few different cases…
This is what I said to one customer recently. ‘Sure, I can make some sales calls for you, but you are in a niche industry selling large projects. If I call and they are not yet ready, what else are we going to do to keep them interested, until they ARE ready to buy?’ This actually started an intriguing period of work, as this company’s Managing Director wanted to look at the whole sales process. We spent time in their CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) software, really understanding their sales pipeline.
The Benefit of Text Templates
Once this was agreed, we then started on basic sales preparation. Drafting texts for email, connection requests for LinkedIn, a brief introduction script for cold-calls. Having this ready not only ensures you are prepared to make calls, or send emails, that communicate all the key points you need to explain. It also ensures consistency AND saves time when contacting many people in a short period of time.
For example, with another customer, I was working with a list of potential customers that I had previously researched; nearly 90 contacts from 27 companies. I wanted to start contacting them to identify who might be interested in learning more about our products. I started this with a LinkedIn connection request, then a direct email from my company email address, before sending an email campaign. At each stage, I would update their CRM with notes, correct inaccurate contact details or remove people altogether – all with the aim of providing an accurate list of the correct targets. Each stage of this is repetitive work, but having templates to copy/paste/edit saves a lot of time.
Monthly Content Marketing
But after that first stage of contacting and collecting new LinkedIn contacts, how can a company keep its potential customers intrigued until they are really interested? B2B content marketing may sound like a lot of work that is overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. I have advised customers to start with a simple plan that is not too heavy to maintain. In this suggestion, I would use LinkedIn to reach out to prospects:
- A monthly blog – on the company’s own blog/website
- Share on LinkedIn – on the company’s LinkedIn page
- Re-share by employees – individuals then share the company content with their connections, which should include potential customers or influencers within their industry.
- Repurpose as a LinkedIn Publisher article – from a key employee such as Sales Manager or Managing Director
- Share the Publisher Article – in industry groups may also have potential customers.
- Follow-up LinkedIn post – again linking back to the original blog post
- Email marketing campaign – from an email marketing tool to, also, reach contacts off of LinkedIn
You can see from this that there are ways to repurpose one piece of content to last an entire month. It isn’t too difficult to plan one blog article per month for the next few months.
With several customers, we do the planning work together, while I proofread or write the articles (to ensure they are well-written and communicate clearly in English, as an international language). I also offer coaching on the implementation of the sales and marketing work. It seems that the past few years of making podcasts and writing blogs is starting to have a practical benefit for my customers and for my business. If this sounds like something your company could benefit from, feel free to contact me so we can arrange a time to talk.
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