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Prospecting at Business Events – A Three Phase Approach

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.

Try the Tool

Ask me for a personalized Demo

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How to Do Prospect Research – For Better Sales Calls and Improved Conversions

How to Do Prospect Research – For Better Sales Calls and Improved Conversions

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

In our last blog, we saw how you can leverage social networks to identify and contact C-Level decision makers in your prospective companies. You saw a few techniques on how you can leverage LinkedIn to establish an initial contact and thereon continue the dialogue over your prospect’s business email.

Let us now try and understand what you need to do once your prospect is ready to hear your proposition. One of the most common mistakes that sales professionals commit is to try and make every sales call the same. We must realize that your prospects may be similar, but are not the same. Hence every sales call you make needs to be different and tailor-made to the individual needs of your prospect. The end objective of any sales call is to propose a solution that the prospect wants, but not the one that you have.

Follow these simple steps to make your sales call a worthy one.

Know Your Prospect

One of the key steps in sales prospecting is to gather as much information as possible about your prospect. You need to get a 360 degree view of your prospect, the industry they operate in, their target customers, their possible business challenges, their growth plans and so on. By being well informed of the prospect, you have better chances of having the prospect hear you better. A few places where you can find some information about your prospects are being presented below. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good starting point, for sure.

Research The Company

Company website – You need to understand your prospect’s line of business, what is their business objective, what could be their biggest challenge and what is their value proposition to their customers, and how you will contribute in helping them achieve their business goals.

Examine who their customers are, what problem of their customers are your prospects trying to address, and how can you help them in solving those problems. By having all this handy, your sales call will turn out to be more of a requirements gathering meeting than a typical pitching.

Research the Professional Side of the Decision Maker

LinkedIn profiles – One of the key forums that sales professionals need to leverage in a B2B prospecting framework is LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile will tell you what kind of a person your prospect is. Read through the profile. Observe the groups subscribed to; read the discussions where you see some participation, see if you have some common connections who can write a nice line about you even before the meeting. Examine if your prospect is asking questions pertaining to some challenge and if you can solve that challenge. All these small things make you more familiar to your prospect even before the call. You would have figured out your call opening statement.

Research the Personal Side of the Decision Maker

Blogs– Sales prospecting can be more meaningful when you also know what kind of a person your prospect is. If your prospect is a blogger, it is worth spending time reading through those blogs. The choice of words will give you an idea on how you should moderate the call with your prospect. If the content is extremely professional and brief to the point, you should adopt the same strategy during your call / meeting. If you find liberal dosages of humour, you can adopt a more friendly approach. A nice way to start the conversation would be to congratulate your prospect for a recent achievement.

The Smart Way

We have a fantastic prospect research tool – eGrabber eMail Prospector – that will get you the business information about any prospect from any nook and corner of the Internet. The best part about this is it can get you the business email and phone of the prospect in a jiffy. This means your time to research and search for information about your prospect is significantly cut down and you have more time to focus on preparing for every call.

Experience the tool

In a nutshell, research well, talk to your prospect in his language and make “prospect research” a part of your working style. Believe me, your prospects will enjoy talking to you and your sales become a cake walk.

Happy Selling!!

Download your free trial here:- eMail Prospector

About MeI am passionate about helping clients in building a workable prospect funnel. I can help people micro target and gain better results of the campaigns. I have experience across the entire breadth of sales and marketing functions. I use a combination of time tested and disruptive methods to increase the lead funnel of any organization.

 

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