Here at REV, we often recommend Webinars as a highly effective and cost-efficient marketing vehicle, especially for businesses that need to educate their target audience in order to create sales opportunities. You probably already know the obvious reasons for hosting a Webinar, including nurturing your contacts and generating new prospects. However, we’d like to offer you some lesser-known, possibly quirkier, advantages of hosting a Webinar:
- Gives you an excuse to reach out to your clients, prospects, referral partners, etc. A Webinar is an event, and provides you an opportunity to send invitations to your contacts. Even if they don’t register or attend, it still counts as a “touch” in the nurturing process, and helps to keep you top of mind.
- Makes for great SEO fodder. Since you are updating your Web site and social media sites (that link back to your Web site) with Webinar announcements and updates, you will create relevancy around the Webinar topic and your company. Higher relevancy leads to higher rankings in search engines. And we all want to be highly relevant to our target audience!
- Demonstrates some of your personality. Most of the time when interacting with prospects and clients, we are on our best professional behavior (as we should be). While still providing valuable information, your Webinars can also give your audience a taste of your fun side. For example, when I moderate Webinars for REV or for clients, I always joke with the audience that I conduct interactive polls mainly to “make sure you’re still awake and paying attention.” You have a captive audience for 30-60 minutes; why not leave an impression of a knowledgeable and likeable person?
As you can tell, Webinars hold a special place in our hearts, and we love to discuss them. Feel free to ask questions or comment below!
For most of us as business owners or revenue generators, the frustrating part of sales is not the moments we spend in front of interested parties uncovering needs and explaining our services. That’s the fun part! It’s getting to those moments—you know, prospecting—that we really don’t want to do.
Why is prospecting such a dreaded activity? In talking with clients about this, our consensus is that prospecting can seem 1.) time-consuming, b.) unfocused, c.) too “cheesy,” or d.) all of the above! For most of us, prospecting takes place when we have a few extra minutes (and need some new business). We make a few calls or send some emails, resulting in some hits and some misses. Then we’re on to the next piece of “real work” we need to do.
Are there more systematic, efficient and effective ways to prospect? We think so. Use our top 5 prospecting tips below to get started on the path to learning to love prospecting:
- Redefine prospecting. One of our clients told us he “hates” to cold call, but he’s “happy to ‘warm call.’ ” Although prospecting can and should involve calls, expand your definition of prospecting to activities such as sending a newsletter, setting up a meeting, writing a “nice to meet you” note, inviting to an event, posting a comment on a blog or LinkedIn group discussion, or sending an article you think will interest the prospect.
- Make a list of your top 25 prospects, your top 5 clients, and your top 10 referral partners. (If these numbers don’t quite fit your business, they can be tweaked.) This is where you should spend 80% of your available prospecting time, as this is likely where you will get 80% of your business.
- Narrow the field. Analyze your top 5-10 clients; what do they have in common? Define the characteristics that make them a top client (size, industry, buying cycles, type of decision maker, etc.). Now, list the top 3 problems or pains your business solves for them. Build your prospecting efforts around solving these issues for this type of client.
- Qualify, qualify, qualify. This is the most important thing you can do to increase your closing ratio and maximize your prospecting time. Qualify by using broad appeal approaches such as Webinars, white papers/reports, free newsletters, and/or email campaigns to separate the wheat (prospects) from the chaff (suspects). Once you’ve figured out who’s interested in what you have to offer, now you can nurture them with more time-consuming strategies such as calls, personal emails, and meetings. (Again, 80% of your business will come from 20% of your database.) Work with your go-to marketing resource (need one?) to develop a plan for different levels of prospecting efforts.
- Automate the follow-up process. “I’ll shoot you an email with that information.” We have all the best intentions in the world to follow up as promised with our prospects. However, we are human, and our attention is constantly diverted. To get started with automating, look at your 3-5 most-often sent emails (such as a follow-up email after a meeting) and decide if they can be setup as templates that automatically generate, merge in specific contact info, and send to your prospect (known as auto-responders). Once sent, this activity then sets off a series of subsequent emails or other sales activities.
There are marketing automation systems such as Infusionsoft, Hubspot, etc. that can automate content marketing and integrate contact management, email tracking, Web forms, and other functions as well. However, developing a simple workflow on paper and building out templates in Word to support it can go a long way toward automating your sales process.
Have questions? Contact us, and we’re glad to help. Happy Prospecting!
One mistake we see many business owners and executives make is to hire a salesperson and expect that person to also handle marketing, or hire a marketing person and ask them to carry a quota.
First and foremost, business owners, please hear this: Salespeople are not marketers, and marketers are not salespeople. You do not want to hire one or the other to do both jobs. Why?
[As you read below, please keep in mind that the author has served on both sides of the house, and has no compunction about picking on either side!]
1. Salespeople are typically not great writers (or graphic designers). Marketers ensure that any communications, promotions, advertising, etc. is consistent with the company brand. Salespeople just want to “get ‘er done,” whether or not it reflects the brand. Never entrust a salesperson with articulating your hard-earned brand in his/her own words!
2. Marketers are typically not persistent types that don’t mind rejection. Sales is all about keeping polite pressure on prospects or clients until they buy, die, or tell you to go away.
3. Salespeople are driven by immediate results. Their minds are on the end of the month/quarter because that is how their job performance is evaluated and compensated. Don’t expect them to think long-term about advancing the company’s brand and market position, as a marketer can and should.
4. Salespeople are not motivated to perform marketing functions. If you want a commissioned salesperson to take on marketing tasks such as writing newsletter articles, Web design, social media management, etc., you will have to change the compensation structure to reflect this or it will not get done. Again, a salesperson’s job performance is usually compensated based on the sales he/she makes, not on how pretty that new brochure looks.
5. Marketers are task-oriented, salespeople are people-oriented. This is not to say that marketers don’t like people, and salespeople can’t accomplish tasks. However, marketing is all about managing multiple tasks, tracking project timelines, and analyzing results. Sales is about two things: building relationships and closing deals with prospects. That’s it. (And, really, it’s all about the second thing.)
Can’t afford to hire both sales and marketing? We have a solution for that.