Move over “Gather Sell Sell”. In B2B Marketing it’s time for “Gather Engage Sell”!
Gather Engage Sell in B2B Marketing
Since the dawn of commerce, the concept of gathering clients and selling to them has existed. The first markets were just a few hours’ ride or walk from farms and were the first to gather buyers and sellers together. Then we had bigger markets with the growth of ‘market towns’. Then readers and viewers were gathered by newspapers, catalogues and TV, what is now called ‘old media.
What online technology, in particular social networking, has brought is whole new ways to gather prospects, for any size of business. It also brought many new ways to engage your VIPs, your Very Important Prospects.
Engaging with and joining the conversation that your prospects are having has become such an important part of marketing that without it, you could struggle to connect with potentially valuable customers.
All the tools are now here for you to use and that’s what this book is about—the best methods to gather more VIPs, engage them and convert them into people willing to buy from you.
My company, Lead Creation, is based in Australia, specialises in B2B and works globally: We have seen the methods contained in this book work time and time again in many countries and industries.
It’s all about your VIPs.
Your Very Important Prospects.
Gather Your VIPS!
The first stage is to lay solid foundations for a big sales funnel that keeps growing and sending more leads your way. You need to gather together as many of the people who want to do business with you as possible.
You must first carefully define who they are and then design all marketing material to speak specifically to them. When it does, you will attract their attention and interest.
Tools for gathering your VIPs include defining and using Keywords correctly. Keywords can also be used in the search tool on LinkedIn to connect to and draw new prospects into you. Then creating regular content for your website and using Social Media to draw new prospects into you.
Why is ‘engage’ such an important word? Well, it’s how you stay Top Of Mind with your VIPs during the relatively long sales cycles of B2B.
The dictionary defines it as:
‘to attract and hold by influence or power’
So, saying we need to ‘engage’ our audience doesn’t mean slipping a ring on their fingers—although that may be a useful tactic sometimes! It means creating music they want to dance to; that they want to get involved with.
Because now it’s all about them.
It’s never been more important in B2B Marketing to define exactly who you are targeting, as we discussed in the Gather section. To know who your VIPs are, and it is never ‘everyone’. Unless you know your niche, how can you know what content will build engagement.
Your content must add to the conversation that VIPs are already having in their heads; it needs to answer their questions, inform them, even entertain them… and in doing so, you will ease their natural fears and demonstrate you know what you’re talking about.
What are the best types of media for the content you create? Well, it’s all there waiting for you to use—blogs, articles, newsletters, white papers and videos, shared across multiple sites from your website to LinkedIn and Twitter.
These Social Networking tools are the key to the engage part of the process.
In doing this, you expand your sphere of influence and become the go-to in your field; most of your VIPs are not ready to buy from you right now, so it’s important to create a big sales funnel and to keep topping it up with new prospects.
Often people are not aware of your solution or even the problem they face! Until they recognize they have a business problem causing them pain, they won’t be ready to buy. But of course when they are, if you have been sending them content that highlights such problems and the possible solutions, who will they choose? You, or the guy they haven’t heard from for 6 months?
Of course at some point we need to sell – that hasn’t changed.
However the point at which we sell has been moved a little further back in time, and there are now smarter ways to do it.
Stay tuned for my next post about the role of marketing and its effect on the sales environment.
Interested in B2B Marketing? Learn more about it here…
Cheers, Toby [B12]
Toby leads the Lead Creation Team, the only marketing agency with government research funding