I recently had coffee with an old colleague who expressed that outbound sales was a thing of the past now (i.e. networking is the way to go) and that he typically runs into companies who have unattainable expectations. This then causes him to terminate the working relationship because he ends up being miserable with no motivation left to continue.
Post our coffee session, I came home and was inspired to write this blog post around cherry picking the best clients to work with – specifically because I typically deal with companies who:
- Understand the value of marketing
- Value the power of social selling and content marketing
Note this blog post isn’t meant to refute my colleague’s experience, but provide a different perspective that every entrepreneur, and businesses should consider especially those who don’t have a massive network to tap into.
Understand the value of Marketing
All of the clients I choose to work with, have a clear understanding of how Marketing can add value to their business. This ranges from branding, lead generation, website traffic, sales and customer retention. You can easily gauge this by asking a simple question, “What’s your marketing budget?” If the answer is clear or they are able provide a range, then continue on with the conversation; if the answer is “Oh I don’t know, we aren’t sure yet. We are still vetting other Marketing consultants and companies.” Then my response is to give them at least a high level overview of what I can help with, but clearly communicate that it’d be best to further explore an opportunity to work together once they have a dedicated budget.
This may sound a bit harsh, but the truth is, we are all busy. There’s no need to waste your time on clients who haven’t done their own research as to how much companies within their same category are spending on marketing.
A simple analogy I look at is when you decide to buy a house, you put time into researching the neighborhood you want to live in, how much you can afford, how long you want to live there, etc. The same goes for making a decision on growing your business; you put time into thinking about how much money you need to spend before you are able to generate revenue – ranging from buying a website domain, which social networks you should try advertising, getting a website built, and so on.
Net, net – make sure that the potential clients you vet (be it outbound or inbound leads) showcases a hint that they’ve put consideration into what marketing efforts (both dollars spent and resources) need to be put in before seeing a return.
Outbound sales are not dead
With the influx of tactics like content marketing and social media marketing, outbound sales efforts have gotten more personal and less about making an initial hard sale. The traditional outbound efforts have typically been more like this:
The difference now, again, is being able to mix up this sales process with personalized content and social selling. Researching prospective clients and then utilizing social media networks for outreach in addition to email marketing is crucial for success. From there, leveraging the power of personalized content should be your focus. For example, you can further look at updates that are made via their social feeds, choose a blog post, whitepaper, eBook, webinar you have that’s applicable to them and share it. Here’s a few tips from the pros who are winning business by executing social selling:
Cherry pick clients who find value in consuming the massive amounts of free content that provide tips on how they can take their business to the next level, in addition to the clients who have put great consideration into how they should dedicate funds to foster growth. These are the people worth targeting because you open up the opportunity of having meaningful conversations.
Have suggestions? Share them below.