A Bigger Circle of Influence
I recently attended the Mac McIntosh seminar put on by BCTIA and Accelerate Okanagan. It was interesting to hear what experts like Mac consider good strategy and how this translates to small businesses like ours and those we serve. In the next few blogs I want to explore and share some of the ideas from the one day event. I suspect this will be familiar ground for marketers and sales managers – I hope I can introduce a few gems to dwell on.
Mac is considered to be in the top 100 for B2B marketers in the US and crammed in an amazing amount of information for the event. The first few points that I think are of interest involve the nurturing side of generating sales. Often in small business there is little distinction between sales and marketing as managers tend to wear many hats. Personally, I use to focus on one or two owners and C- level executives for all of my sales efforts but what I think is of interest from Mac is his advice on talking to more people in a company. He thinks there is value in engaging five or more people and getting them informed.
The reasons for this are three fold. Firstly, more people are involved in the buying process these days. Decision makers are risk adverse and looking for input from coworkers when making decisions (This of course coincides with tighter budgets). So it is wise to nurture more contacts in a company as they are now more influential in top decisions.
The second point is it is a low cost per touch form of marketing. You already know the main contacts and can now reach deeper into the company and help support your sales efforts. This activity can be simple email marketing, phone calls, website resources like whitepapers, case studies and the likes. With more of your customer’s staff informed, higher cost sales efforts are better supported.
The third issue that I think is interesting revolves around Gord Hotchkiss’s Buyersphere research at Enquiro (now part of Mediative). The point made in the seminar is that the B2B sales process is not a linear path and does not flow perfectly down the lead funnel. The buyer jumps around and looks at things at different times and at different stages. This puts a kink in the old solutions based or Sandler based sales approach.
What I like about all of this is of course how we can help support these ideas and trends online. By making content and information available in a number of different formats to a broader audience within a company we can directly support the sale. So think about whom else is working for an ideal customer and see what information they are after. Then look for a cost effective way to support their interests and influence the more costly demo – proposal – close part of the sales process.
Offline and online marketing can support this low cost touch to a bigger circle of influence.