Prospecting at Business Events – A Three Phase Approach

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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How I won at SaaS Outbound Prospecting (and How to make it work for you)

This guest post is by Jonathan Wang – Lead Generation Expert at Badgeville.

First, a quick intro. I work at Badgeville. We are a leader in the gamification industry. Our SaaS solution increases the engagement and performance from clients and employees in the organization, enhancing the sales productivity.

I prefer Outbound Prospecting in my strategy, because Outbound enables me to move that fast and reach my prospects before close competition gets there.

In Outbound, I have a small window to get things right. Over time, I have developed a few must-follow rules that I always stick with:

  1. Make sure your e-mail messages are short because they are often read on a mobile device. It’s important to get to the point right away.
     
  2. Set up a Google News Alert of your prospective company, so you will receive any updated articles written about that company. Use this information to provide reference in the call or message to show that you did your research.
     
  3. You already know your targeted buyer persona.  I often find that the targets are more important than the messaging and calling, and you will need to spend more time than just looking to make sure the Title and Company are right. Truly look into your ideal target profile and examine whether or not the prospects fit as close as possible.  Otherwise it’s just wasted energy.

In my case, no company has a “Gamification Expert” to whom we can pitch our services to. So, I build a very targeted prospect list and then I research in that list to find out which people to really go after.

As easy as it may sound, building that starter list, is a time consuming process if done manually. So let the automated eGrabber software take care of that list building process and then research that targeted list when it’s done.

Hope these 3 tips help!

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Flyn shares a simple trick to improve sales conversions

Flyn’s Technique on LinkedIn® Saved Search + eGrabber’s Account-Researcher

A Killer Combination for Improved Sales Conversions

In a recent interview with eGrabber social selling academy, Flyn Penoyer has spoken about how over the so many years he has trained thousands of sales professionals about cold calling, lead generation and prospecting techniques. His techniques have always resulted in a triple digital growth in just a few weeks (285% in 3 weeks is the latest number for record). He now shares with us on how a simple thing like LinkedIn saved search can help you in improved sales conversions.

LinkedIn® indisputably is the one of the largest databank of C level decision makers and an ideal environment for B2B prospecting. It lets you search for your target prospects based on a multitude of search criteria such as title, industry, company size and other demographics. Sales professionals today have the flexibility of using several combinations of their search and build multiple sets / categories of prospect lists.

While this is a good feature, what makes it better is when you use the saved search feature. The Saved Search Feature in LinkedIn® sends matching profiles to your email inbox on a periodic basis. It's like having lead-gen on automatic!

Look at the simple 3 step illustration below and you will know what we mean.

Step-1: Search for your target prospects

Let us try and search for “Lead Generation Director”. Select your preferences based on title, location and other demographics.

how to generate leads everyday with linkedin

   

Step-2: Click Save search of your results page

LinkedIn® will display the results based on search criteria. Click on Save search in the top right of your results page. You will find it next to the settings icon.

how to generate leads everyday with linkedin

Step-3: Provide necessary input and save the search result

Give a name to your search. Set your preferences on how often you would like to receive email alerts pertaining to this search and save the search. Now the search is saved with the given name and LinkedIn® starts sending people’s profiles matching that search criteria to your mailbox.

how to generate leads everyday with linkedin

 

Start prospecting using eGrabber’s Account-Researcher

As soon as you receive search peoples profiles in your mailbox, use Account-Researcher tool and capture their business email address and phone number. Start reaching your decision makers on their business email and phone and kick start your business with them.

LinkedIn Prospecting Tool

Follow this simple method and improve your sales conversions. Happy Selling!!

Read Flyn's Interview

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Mail, Phone, Fax, Email are dying. How do you reach your prospects now?

eGrabber's social selling academy asks Flyn Penoyer on the present and future of B2B selling.

eGrabber recently launched the Social Selling Academy. The aim of this academy is to offer professional advice by experts with proven track record of results. This academy is designed for sales and marketing professionals involved in cold calling, email marketing, lead generation to prospecting and prospect follow up. As a part of this initiative, we present to you our first personal interview with Flyn Penoyer.

Flyn is a seasoned sales trainer and coach and has helped numerous companies define, refine and redefine their sales organizations. He has authored several articles and blog posts that give some very fine and unique tips on how sales managers can achieve their targets better and easier.

It is indeed our pleasure to present excerpts of this interview

Flyn, at the outset thanks for your time. I know you are a very busy man. Please tell our readers what keeps you busy

Well, the thing that is making me most busy at this time is finishing up a book on selling, "The Sales Pro’s Bible" that will be published by Motivational Press. I also have a number of clients I’m currently helping to install my training system so they can drive their own training.

You have been around for a bit. Would you mind telling us a little about your background?

What motivated you to do what you are doing now?

Well I’ve been in sales for ever. My first job in sales was working for a magazine distributor selling magazines to housewives, when there were housewives, in 1972. When I graduated in 1973 I was promoted and given my own office. Then, I spent 7 year in consumer sales, much of that managing call centers. I then spent another 7 or 8 years running inside sales for companies like Dysan, Memorex, and Logitech. 

In late 1985 I started my sales consulting practices and have been doing it ever since. And from 1997 to 2000 I worked for the American Management Association writing a book on telephone sales then teaching and developing sales courses for their public seminar series. I wrote the original version of their Time and Territory Management program.

I notice that you have helped some of your customers achieve a 300% increase in the run rate of their sales teams and that is in less than 8 months. What did you actually do? Please can you share the secret with us!

Actually, I’ve had an even better result; I got a 285% increase in about 3 months with one of my consulting clients. Recently I got a 97% result in about 3 weeks.

Part of my secret may be just a gift for inside sales groups. I’ve always gotten immediate double digit increases after taking on a new group as manager or in a consulting role.

The first secret is that I focus all of my skills training through the sales process. I make an attempt to add the skill to the sales process first, and then teach it as part of the salespeople’s actual sales process. This eliminates the large gap between learning a skill in the classroom and applying it in the real world.

I also take a unique approach to training that avoids what I consider systemic flaws in the current training models. The biggest being a complete absence of the application of study technology. This tech is responsible for delivering “competence,” the ability to do what was studied. My training is always at least 50% tactical in nature – that time is spent brainstorming with the reps their live-recorded calls. This I’ve found is the most powerful way to teach sales skills.

For those interested there’s lots of stuff on my websites on these subjects, even some tools to help do-it-yourselves. I also have an article on how to raise results at penoyer.com/go

LinkedIn training and networking seems to be a primary area of your interest. Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is actually a secondary interest to my sales training efforts. However, for a number of years I ran a LinkedIn resource website for those wishing to use LinkedIn for business. With my sales, marketing, and networking background I developed some very powerful stuff. It’s called OnlineBusinessNetworker.com.

All my current LinkedIn training and efforts are focused on salespeople within the scope of my TeleSalesUniversity.com website. There’s a recorded session I did for noted copywriter Bob Bly’s subscribers on the site – it’s over 60 minutes of great stuff.

Speaking of LinkedIn, eGrabber provides expert consulting and support on LinkedIn prospecting. I know you use some of our tools.What is your experience with them?

I may have an advantage over many. As a one-man-show I got more leads out of your eGrabber tool during my training on the product than I could consume in months. It is a fabulous tool for anyone needing to create prospect lists.

I actually use the Account-Researcher tool all the time. I have a number of saved searches in LinkedIn that generate notices from LinkedIn of new people found. When I get them, I use Account Researcher to gather the data I need to approach these people. 

Let me share a little secret with you. The entire team at eGrabber is always excited to have you on-board with us. Several of my customers tell me that your webinars were the best and the tips that you gave them worked really well. How does it feel to be associated with us?

I am delighted with this relationship. It has been fun and mutually profitable. I would say to anyone thinking about doing business with eGrabber – don’t hesitate, they’re great folks. I know, I’ve been working with them for years from multiple angles.

I have recently come across an article saying that there is a total paradigm shift in the way companies are marketing their offerings. Social media, LinkedIn, to say so, is the present and the far future. Do you agree on this?

This is an interesting question. I am not sure I agree with the masses on what is happening.

But I can tell you that decision-makers are becoming more and more protected by technology that ever before. I’m not sure this is good – a lot of times you call on a company and you can’t even get to a live person let alone the decision maker whose name you know.

I think it’s become far more important to understand marketing and copywriting than ever before.

I do believe that companies have more knowledge of what their buying and more choices than ever before. This means it’s even more important that you stand out above your competitors if you are to be successful.

I think the paradigm shift is that the phone, fax, and email channels of communication are so shut down; social media is now one of the few ways to reach the decision makers. 

You being a user of our tools and also an independent sales guru, what is that single most difference you see eGrabber's tools making to the sales organizations?

Account-Researcher basically get you the information you need to engage more quickly than you can do it yourself. And they get quality information. The products also put a lot of the information you might want in your prep for calling in one easy to use place.

I cannot recommend enough, and would do so even without the wide relationship I have with you folks.

Why don't you tell our readers the Top 5 rules of LinkedIn?

  1. Treat LinkedIn as a marketing channel – like TV, magazines, or direct mail.
  2. Develop “networking relationships” before attempting the business ones to avoid the “cold call” atmosphere.
  3. Provide VALUE to others and never spam or mass mail.
  4. Don’t sell in public, even when the poster asks for your services or products.
  5. Use the groups to engage when possible and not the LinkedIn functions like endorsements, or invitations.

Finally, what do you think are the three biggest misconceptions sales professionals have on areas such as cold calling, social selling etc.

That research warms the cold call or eliminates it.
The one thing that warms the call is to know what the prospect wants and how he or she wants it. You CAN’T find that in social media. Your first call will always be cold unless you were directly referred.

That for the most part social media is no different that email.
When you send an InMail via LinkedIn, it is not all that different than an email. There are some key differences. First, it will get delivered, and second the person receiving it can easily find out about you.

That the best way to approach someone in social media is the same thing you’d do in marketing – offer them something of value to engage. (Your offer is not something of value in this case.) Getting the engagement is the key – getting them to talk to you whether by email or phone is what can start the sales process

Account-Researcher helps sales and marketing professionals in effective B2B prospecting. Using this tool, you will be able to reach C-Level decision makers at their business emails or Social media profiles.

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Effective B2B Prospecting and Beating Sales Call Reluctance

One of the key things any seasoned sales professional will agree with is that sales happen majorly due to the prospects' trust on the sales person than on the product or service. While a good product or service triggers the sale process, it is the selling mechanism that actually instils the confidence in the prospects and translates them into customers. It is better understood if I say that sellers, but not the offerings are the key differentiators in today's competitive market place.

In a webinar, Connie Kadansky, a professional sales coach shares some workable insights on effective prospecting and beating the sales call reluctance.

sales call reluctance coach

Connie has won several accolades in her professional journey- Best in Class for Assessments for SPQ gold assessment, ATM Gold Toastmasters International and Scholarship to China REN coaching to name a few.

Connie has been interviewed by Wall street Journal and has been a delegate to Rwanda to work with women in parliament.

Connie points out that Prospecting is the "must have" competency for every sales professional. By understanding the nuances of effective prospecting, sales professionals can present themselves and their offerings better to the prospects thereby resulting in improved conversions. The reality however is that, lack of confidence and an inconsistent approach, act as hurdles to sales professionals resulting in lesser success.

Connie talks about three important things every sales professional must inculcate. The three things she talks about make every sales professional more credible and unique.

Prospecting

The participants of the webinar also had an opportunity to hear Connie speak about visibility management and a unique sales model for improved results. They also got to hear Connie's views on correlation between prospecting and sales and why sales professionals do not prospect proactively.

At this point, we had another speaker Clinton Rozario who spoke about some very powerful prospecting tools that eGrabber develops and markets.

Sales Prospecting Tool

Clinton is the chief architect of targeted prospect list building tools and showed the participants on how they can build targeted prospect lists for improved success and response.

The second part of the expert talk dealt with call reluctance and the four "A"s to eliminate it.

4 As of call reluctance

While explaining these simple steps, Connie threw some light on the behavioural types of sales professionals with special focus on the associated phobia.

The webinar finally closed with some techniques on overcoming call reluctance and factors that block success.

eliminating sales call reluctance

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