We all know that cold-calling is very much a thing of the past and this will affect the status of B2B marketing. We all hate to be cold-called and are most likely going to ignore anybody who tries to do it. Most of all, it does not inspire trust and confidence in a company. Nowadays two thirds of a buying decision are achieved through online research.
According to recent research quoted by LinkedIn about 75% of B2B buyers use social media as part of their buying decision. 50% use LinkedIn as a source for gathering information on who to buy from, whilst 76% of them prefer to follow recommendations from within their professional network.
Selling your business and services to prospective customers has never been so easy as it is now with LinkedIn. At the click of a button people can look at a list of businesses that provide what it is they need. Therefore, you have to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch and gives customers the first impression you want them to have of you.
Make sure that your profile is always up to date and links up with your website, Twitter, Facebook and contact pages.
Due to our constant information overload and fear of data breaches by social media companies, consumers want to find straightforward advice and solutions to their queries. So, while businesses might find you on LinkedIn and do their research on you, it is far more important that your website is search engine optimised and provides customers with clear information that is relevant to them.
The simplest way to get more B2B connections inside your industry is by being active online. Join LinkedIn groups for joint interests and discussions. This is an area where you can engage with likeminded people within the relevant industry, answer questions and establish relationships. This is not hard selling, it is speaking about your specialist topic and gaining others’ trust in your abilities.
Widen your prospecting scope
When you trawl through the profiles of users you interact with, you can widen your network even more by engaging with their secondary contacts. The more connections and interactions you have online, the more engagement you will receive back.
This exposure will gain trust in your brand and make customers more familiar with you. Any of the connections you have made through groups or by adding your bit to a discussion will mean that these contacts will also come and look at your profile.
If you have pictures, positive feedback or any upcoming events, let them know. In the same way that you might look at a profile and try and figure out who leads the sales team or what services are available, put yourself into a potential customer’s shoes and think about what it is that you would want to find on your profile.
What are the most commonly asked questions you get asked and can visitors find the answers easily on your website? Transparency and ease of use are the buzzwords when it comes to customer experience nowadays.
Put your name on the Pulse
If you have something to say about a topic, why not write a short article and publish it via LinkedIn Pulse? All your connections will receive a notification and in no time, you will establish yourself as a professional persona that is seen to be trustworthy, in-the-know and proactive. This will increase your authority and your posts can easily be shared by users for even wider reach.
None of these tactics feels like the pushy sales scripts of yore that make people shut off immediately. You are not required to say, ‘You should buy X because we believe that we are the best in this industry, with 20 years of experience’.
This is much subtler than that. You answer genuine questions with genuine knowledge, have conversations about topics that are relevant to you and your clients and build relationships based on trust, hopefully turning strangers into customers and then loyal customers who will be the backbone of your business for years to come.