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How to do Prospecting at Business Events – A Three Phase Approach

How to do Prospecting at Business Events – A Three Phase Approach

Nishi Kanth

Nishi Kanth

Product Marketing Manager and Prospecting Expert at eGrabber Inc
I am an expert in social lead generation and social media prospecting. I use and market tools and can help sales and marketing professionals in targeted prospecting for improved responses and conversions.
Nishi Kanth

Business Events are great platforms to foster new relations and nurture the existing ones. Leverage them effectively.

One of the key components of the Annual Marketing Budget of any organization is participation in business events. Tradeshows, exhibitions, conferences, seminars; all these fall into this category. Business events are great platforms for companies to tell the market about themselves. They present to you an opportunity to interact with your prospects (decision makers), study your competitors, establish new partnerships, meet your existing customers, compile your sales and marketing intelligence and most importantly understand the changing landscape of your target markets. Sales and Marketing professionals will, however, agree that sales prospecting at business events is the top most objective for them because that alone will result in quick revenue. The other activities are important mainly from a branding and relationship management perspective.

Business events can be revenue aggregators, if planned and executed properly. However the flip side is the costs associated; Exhibiting / Sponsor costs, collateral costs, travel and accommodation costs and much more.  This actually means that your participation in any event is fruitful only, if you are able to create a healthy prospect funnel out of every event that you plan to attend, which will result in improved ROI.

Here is a three phase approach that is recommended for every professional who wants to make the best out of any business event

Prospecting Before the Event

“The Key is to build B2B Contact Lists”

One of the key things for any business development professional is, to have a calendar filled with appointments with your prospects. Every event will have a dedicated portal, active for a few months, before the event where in the list of participating companies will be made available. You must build the entire B2B contact list and identify the “MUST MEET” companies at the event. If you are lucky, you may also find the names of the representatives of those companies. If you notice that the representative is the decision maker you wish to meet, you will need to make an appointment via email or phone. That way you have fortified a sales prospecting opportunity. In case you only have the company’s name, you can use LinkedIn to identify the decision maker within that company. You can check with the decision maker if you can have a meeting at the event or ask for reference for the meeting with the representative. Read my blog on Engaging C Level decision makers on LinkedIn

Another important step is to run a campaign to all your prospects informing them about your presence. You need to tell them your location and invite them to meet you. Email marketing, tele- calling, banner advertisements and so on could be some techniques. Another method is to direct message your decision makers on LinkedIn.

Prospecting During the Event

“The Key is Prospect Research”

The major challenge during the event is that the time to speak to your decision maker / prospect is extremely limited. More often than not, you will find people waiting outside the booth for you to finish the meeting. After all, no one would want to let go off such an opportunity. One of the key things that will make your meetings more meaningful is when you so a thorough prospect research well in advance. You need to equip yourself with as much information as possible about your decision maker before the meeting. To put it simply, you must have a 360 degree view of your prospect. It would be a very good idea to start the meeting saying “Hey, I read your blog post on managing sales pipeline. I think it was pretty impressive; I second the point where you spoke about targeted lead generation. I am here to talk to you about this. My software actually eases the process of lead gen and helps you in targeted prospecting”. For tips on knowing more about your prospects, Read my blog on Effective Prospect Research

Post Event

“The Key is Planned Follow Up”

Lot of sales professionals do an extremely good job in generating warm leads during the events. However the percentage of conversion is usually not as expected. One of the primary reasons is insufficient follow up. You need to understand that even for your prospect; the excitement pertaining to the event fades away once he is back to work. It is your job to remind your prospect of what was discussed and move things forward. It is very unlikely that your prospect will come back to you saying “Hey, nice to meet you during the XYZ event, I wish to purchase your software. Here is the purchase order”.

This will not happen. You need to follow up with your prospects. Another aspect of sales prospecting is touching base with those prospects that you never got to meet during the event. Most of the trade shows make directories available to you (some of them charge you, worth the spend). Buy one such directory and contact the other prospects whom you have never got to meet. Email or call them and refer the event as a talking point, “Hey I was there at the XYZ event, but could not catch up with you, I think you would be interested in learning about our unique social prospecting tool, can we talk?”. View our webinar on Prospect Follow Up

The Smart Way

We have a sales prospecting software called Account-Researcher which eases the whole process of prospecting for events that you attend. Our tool helps you in getting the list of emails and phone numbers of your prospects. By generating such lists, you can easily set up prior appointments over email or phone campaigns. Moreover, it gets you the 360 degree view of our prospect, their website, social presence, LinkedIn information etc which you can use to strike our conversations with your prospects. Post the event, you can use the same tool to build the B2B contact lists of other prospects whom you may have missed meeting during the event.

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Social Media Fuels Paradigm Shift in B2B Prospecting

Social Media Fuels Paradigm Shift in B2B Prospecting

Nishi Kanth

Nishi Kanth

Product Marketing Manager and Prospecting Expert at eGrabber Inc
I am an expert in social lead generation and social media prospecting. I use and market tools and can help sales and marketing professionals in targeted prospecting for improved responses and conversions.
Nishi Kanth

The recent times have witnessed a paradigm shift in prospecting methods. Gone are the days where business development professionals would make a few hundred calls in a week and end up in striking a conversation with just 3 or 4 prospects. Prospecting now is no longer “just” demographic based. It is now more of “activity or persona based“.

With the growing influence of social media, it is imperative for business development professionals to realize that there are multiple data points available about your prospect. The catch here is to use these data points effectively and transform them into opportunities. This means you need to understand your prospects in totality even before you contact them.

Where to Find Data Points?

LinkedIn – It is needless to say that LinkedIn is one of the most valuable resources to find your target prospects. You have access to information about their professional profile, their achievements, and what they are looking for – new vendors, solution to specific problems, feedback or reviews, partnership invitations and so on. You can also investigate the groups that your prospects are a part of and examine their activities – what kind of discussions are they usually part of, what questions/ comments get posted by them in these discussions, how active are they in these discussions. Such things give you a good starting point for a conversation with your prospects.

Blogs – You need to take time and see the kind of blogs your prospects author or be a part of. That should give you a fair idea of what they are probably in need of. For all that you know they are waiting for you to go to them and tell them you can solve their problem

Videos – YouTube is another platform where you can find information about your prospects. Look at their videos, try and analyze what their business is all about. Once you understand, send them a video or collateral that you think can help them achieve their business objectives.

Industry News – Subscribe yourself to the industry news. Keep abreast of the market happening, trends and forecasts. You may suddenly find news items those talks about a change in management or inclusion of a new offering in your prospect’s company. Use this at a start point to kick start a dialogue with them.

Twitter- One of the biggest advantage of Twitter is you know when your prospect is available for a quick chat. If you see a tweet from your prospect, it is the time you should quickly tweet back. You are sure to remain on your prospect’s fresh memory.

How to Prospect Better?

Let me also give you some quick points on how you can prospect better

  • Emphasize on quality. There is no point in making 100 calls and ending the day without a single success. Instead make fewer targeted and well researched calls and succeed. You need to spend the rest of time researching your prospect.
    To know more read my blog on prospect research
  • Don’t stop at title based or location based searches. Go one step further and do an activity based prospecting.
  • Create multiple small clusters instead of one large cluster and tailor- make the message for each cluster
  • Leverage Social media effectively to start conversations. Continue the dialogue on their business emails.
    To know more about this, read my blog about prospecting on LinkedIn

How Account-Researcher helps you in B2B Prospecting?

Account Researcher gives you all the above talking points pertaining to your prospects. You can find information about your prospects’ social / web presence, patents, awards, news items, press releases and many more. The flagship feature of this tool is it can get you the business email and phone number in a single click. In case you have a list of prospect companies that you want to target, our tool can get you the complete company profile and also the decision makers within these companies.

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Finally – B2B Prospecting today needs to be constantly supported with extensive research and customization. Equip yourself with more-than-enough information about your prospects before you kick start your dialogue with them.

Happy Selling!!