One sales strategy, during the current Pandemic is to focus on a set of target accounts.
Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one? It is also seen as being easier to sell to existing clients as the relationships are there. That said, as a salesperson or a technical person you still need to create relationships which requires you to contact new people. While this sounds a little like new business, it’s not has hard as it sounds.
Regardless of if you know the client or if it is a new business client, you have to “walk the corridors” which is a little hard during the pandemic. So what do you do?
You need relationships.
The first thing you need to do is to go to your existing clients and ask for internal referrals. It should be possible, if you have great relationships to create a “machine” that if you keep asking for referrals, then you keep getting them.
For example, if you are working on a Finance Transformation, you might be able to get referrals to IT to look as Business Intelligence (BI) or Procurement. I suspect there will become a time when, the referrals start to slow down. Many companies you sell into are siloed and you might not be able to jump from say, Finance into Customer Experience.
How Many Connections Do You Need to “Swarm Around Your Customers”?
The second thing you need to do is connect to all your existing contacts on social media, LinkedIn and Twitter for starters.
In my last, corporate role, we did some analysis of the people that always made quota and they had relationships with about 200 people per account. I certainly agree that just knowing “Steve in IT” isn’t going to grow your access to new projects, or be in a position to create new projects.
This is where the modern seller and consultant will use products such as LinkedIn to “store” and nurture those relationships.
OK, Give Us an Example
Here are two screenshots (see below) are from one of my sales guys Eric Doyle. The first photo is of LinkedIn and NCR. This company has 34,261 employees and Eric has no relationships within this company, the likelihood of him selling into this business or influencing it, is pretty much zero.
Whereas with Wood Group, (see below) they have 30,264 employees and his has 455 contacts in that account. The likelihood of him selling into Wood group or influencing it is much higher.
As a Leader, you must be making sure that your teams are growing their connections in the target accounts as it stands to reason, Eric won’t sell to NCR, but he is likely to sell to Wood Group. This is what we talk about lifting your analogue territory into digital.
Of course, if you build relationships via the phone you have to do it one-to-one, whereas this method enable you to build relationships one to many, or put it another way, digital enables you to scale your relationships, analogue, does not.
The Secret Sauce on How to Swarm Around Your Customers During a Pandemic
Let’s get back to basics for a second, what you need to do is build relationships and create conversations.
You can call people up, but nobody likes being cold called and using social is a far more natural place to start. But before you start connecting with people, you need to update your LinkedIn profile.
Your Linkedin profile, needs to be updated so that it is “buyer centric”. It shouldn't look like CV, you are not looking for a job, you are doing business. The people that you are connecting with are going to judge you LinkedIn profile, not by the objectives you had in jobs, or the brilliant products you sell, but how you can help them. That is what we mean by “buyer centric”.
Like Eric above, you need to start building a network. Let’s not forget, that all of us hate people contact us on social networks, where they give you a list of their products or services. It is annoying and nothing more than cold calling on a social network. So stop selling, you will get a far better output, simple psychology I know.
You need to build a network in your accounts, not by trying to sell, but wanting to build relationships. Also, let’s not forget, that the connect is a time to create a conversation, again you can do this in a way that doesn’t piss people off.
Put simply, let’s not forget there are three people you need to connect to. Those that could buy from you, those that could refer you to people who will buy from you and those that will amplify your message.
The final thing you need to swarm around your clients is content. Why? Because it gives you an opportunity to nurture and share your insights, tell your clients something they don’t know, educate them.
We have even created a “Maslow's Pyramid of Content”
At the bottom is advertising, because nobody likes advertising or look at ads.
Then we move up to branded content. Let’s not forget that nobody likes “corporate content” it says the same as everybody else “buy my product because it’s great”. People build relationships with people not companies or brochures or white papers.
When you swam around your accounts, it’s about your team and people, yes they may work for a Firm, but the client is buying into the Key Account Manager or whoever leads the Account Team. Not the company.
Then we move up the pyramid to Employee Advocacy, this is where the employees share “official” articles. This is moving in the direction to make content more human, but it is still “company” based. Often what we see is a senior VP posting a piece of content and all of their direct liking it.
This is nothing more than a random act of social, because all of those people, won’t have great networks and so nobody will see it.
There is an old saying
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
I would like to change that to
“If you post a piece of content on social network and nobody sees it, did it make an impact?”
The next best piece of content is where we have authored it. Let’s not forget, our network “know us - like us - trust us” so they should be an audience who should support what we have written.
As I said before, our audience like us, if you take a colleagues blog and post it, the result won’t be the same. Your audience, know you, like you and trust you and not your colleagues.
The Best Content You Can Share for Engagement
The best content you can share for engagement is personalised content, human content, something about yourself. Think of it as the same as “corporate entertainment”. We all like taking customers to the races, football, rugby, baseball and we do this, as we let our guard down out of work and it enables us to build better and deeper relationships.
Sharing content about yourself is the same.
The Secret Sauce of Content
But the secret sauce of content is not about posting it. It is about what you do after you have posted it. Posting is just a “random act of social”, the trick is harvested the engagement, the likes and comments.
Here’s an example.
Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours.
Most of you I'm sure can connect with Eric being out with his son on the beach. It’s not worked related, but we all can get the situation, we have all been there.
He posted a piece of content, it currently has 165 likes and 37 comments and has been viewed 18,292 times.
A great post but behind that is a lead generation methodology
It's created for him 124 leads.
28 outbound connections.
13 new inbound connections.
6 x C-Level meetings (1 CEO, 1 COO, 2 MDs, 2 FDs)
All from 10 minutes of work, all for free!
It starts with having a great profile, then building your network, then having insightful and educational content. This will enable you to grow, and nurture your contacts. It will also allow you to grow your network. Which will enable you to get in front of more people, which you will get you more conversations and more meetings and more business.
If you want to swarm around your customers during a pandemic you need to get on social.
Because all of your competitors will also be swarming around your customers as well … so what makes you different?
But you will be different and differentiated from your competition, if you do it on social.