Just because THEY won't, doesn't mean you can't.
Being anonymous is hard when you're in b2b and trying to increase sales...
It's getting hard to cold-call, isn't it? I mean, it was always hard, but today it seems harder than ever. Everybody keeps saying, "go inbound," or "stop cold calling," but how is that possible when your very job is TO cold call off of cold lists and cold contacts? You're not a digital marketing agency... You're in sales!
The reality is that even if your company is stuck in the dark ages, refusing to get social on social media, stepping outside the boundaries of organic marketing, or scolding you for not reaching increasingly difficult quotas, you still have the ability to cut the cold out of your day. I mean, they SHOULD get behind you, but just because they don't and won't, doesn't mean you can't heat things up on your own.
Today, in this first installment of the 2-part blog series, I break down 6 ways you and your sales teams can take it to the next level by deploying micro-inbound methodologies.
"Since they won't join you, this is about YOUR personal brand development and brand management." Tweet
IT MAY SEEM LIKE YOU'RE GOING A BIT MAVERICK...
... but that's because you kind of are.
Although it would have compounding affects if your organization were actually behind your inbound practices, such as your social media strategy, for example, you can still get pretty far on your own.
I was in b2b sales for a decade, and I always found myself operating in a world very foreign to my colleagues... because I embraced social media and other less-intrusive forms of marketing & sales. It gave me a larger toolchest to pull from, and guess what? It always worked.
Now, let's explore these 6 compelling arguments for inbound vs outbound marketing without corporate support ~
~ MORE LIKE THIS: 5 Reasons Why Your Company Should Be Behind your Social Media Strategy ~
1 - Get Social Yourself
This one seems easy enough. You don't have to be a social media agency to get active with your social selling, but you do need to dedicate resources to it:
a) Get on LinkedIn... like yesterday - join group forums your target prospects frequent, and get involved in their discussions. But don't spend your time broadcasting and spamming. And for the love of all things holy, please don't use BOTs. Social media is about being SOCIAL - not shouting
b) Get on Facebook - this applies to more of you than you'd think. If you're already there but afraid of blurring the lines between personal and professional, you're head is in the right place. Only connect with people you REALLY know on Facebook. And make sure that all of your professional contacts are properly categorized and automatically censored, so they don't see EVERYTHING going on in your life.
c) Get on Twitter - This is my favorite place for finding good content to curate, which is one of the best ways to develop a voice and relationships with your contacts without being too salesy. This also means having your thumb on the pulse of important industry information that will help you understand your prospects better. Understanding them better means knowing when to strike, how to strike, and when to cut bait.
d) Get on Google+ - It's not as friendly (in my opinion) as the others, but has its place, especially when it comes to getting found.
(more on social media management tools down this list)
2 - Use LinkedIn to Prospect & Research
LinkedIn is not only great for connecting, but for prospecting and research as well.
When I ran a b2b sales desk in corporate tax advisory services, I would find companies with potential to qualify for powerful labor-based tax incentives by running searches on certain job titles in certain geographies.
Not only did I find the people in charge, but I also got a better view of their staff and what they were doing on a daily basis, so when I called them later, I could relate the incentives to stuff I KNEW they were actively pursuing.
Knowing that kind of information while the rest of my colleagues and competitors were completely in the dark definitely elevated my ability to connect with folks once I got them on the phone AND find the best leads to begin with.
3 - Connect
I've already eluded to this in the article, but want to make sure I reiterate it, because connecting is half the battle. Find people you're after, but be careful about WHEN you ask for them to connect with you Tweet . If you do it when you've never crossed paths in real life or on any group forums, I suggest waiting until you've made a couple of phone calls.
Right before you make that third call, ask them to connect. They'll see your face, and the timing may work out just right where they're reviewing your profile while going through their voicemails (bring it up in the VM), or as the phone rings.
VERY IMPORTANT - If you want to show your prospect your call isn't cold, write a personal message in your invitation, but please don't pitch your services. Keep it soft.
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I, of course, use Hubspot for everything, including posting and listening on social media. But it costs way too much for you to handle on your own as a salesperson. If your company is ready to get behind you, they should certainly look into it, but on your own, try something a little more scaled down, like Hootsuite. Last I checked they still had some free options, or yearly subscriptions around $100.
The reason why you want them is because they will help you monitor what's going on but also post effeciently and with transparent reporting tools. It will save you a TON of time, and isn't a hundred bucks worth saving hundreds of hours? Tweet
5 - Create Soft Email Campaigns
Not every email you send out should be a hard sell. Although an automated email drip campaign may be out of reach for you, there are many ways to can do more than what you're already doing.
When I was in staffing, my colleagues and I would send out short videos to our clients every week. One was so we could highlight some of our best candidates, and the other was just about news, jokes submitted by our clients and prospects, or anything else we could talk about that wasn't work-related.
We'll talk about repurposing in a second.
Save the emails you create that are successful in illiciting replies, that may be a little outside the boundaries of typical sales, and turn them into templates. If you really want to step it up a notch, get email management tools like Mail Chimp.
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6 - Repurpose Your Company's Content & Materials
Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel to be successful with content marketing. Often, the answers are right in front of us with our company's already-existing assets.
Those videos I mentioned earlier were part of a program meant for other reasons. I also remember using bits and pieces of my employer's marketing materials in my emails, including graphics, quotes, and visual aides.
Do what works, and don't be afraid to experiment.
It's a surprisingly good start:
Next installment we'll round it out with another 5 ways to go inbound vs outbound with your sales and marketing, even when your company refuses to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
You're not alone... It's surprising that so many companies refuse to go down this road, but it is a reality and one you must come to terms with... for now. Studies show that customer acquisition costs are quite a bit lower when you go inbound vs outbound, and if you bring that argument to the table with proof in hand that it works for you, I'm sure you'll be able to move mountains.
e you exploring inbound marketing for your company? Schedule a free consultation today!
Want to learn more about social media management tactics that you can start deploying right away? Check out this free ebook!