As marketers, we have an opportunity today to find and engage prospects “upstream,” before they become active buyers. These prospects aren’t going to convert right away, but if you can engage them early and gain their trust, you’re more likely to get business from them once they are ready to buy. No matter what you do, you can’t change when a customer is going to buy. Your job is to be in front of more people, so when they’re ready to buy, they are already familiar with you.
Start with a targeted segment: companies that you know have a problem that you can solve.
Many organizations treat all prospects like they’re ready to buy, but that’s not usually the case. According to a recent MarketingSherpa study, of all the inbound leads coming to an organization, only 10-15% are ready to buy. 60-65% are qualified, but not ready to buy. This means that your prospect is the right person, at the right company… just not ready to buy right now. This is where drip marketing comes in, letting you build credibility as you stay in front of prospects.
Even before prospects are included in a drip marketing campaign, you have the opportunity to engage with them in networks or open communities.
Although this feels simple, it’s important. Once you’ve considered the different steps of the engagement funnel, you also want to think about what kinds of content you want in front of prospects at each stage of the funnel.
Strategy #2: Understand your customer, product and objective before executing
Five questions you should ask to create a better marketing plan:
What/who are your targets?
What do they care about? What outcome are they seeking?
Where do you find them?
What or who influences them?
How do they want to engage and (eventually) buy?
All of these questions have one thing in common: the customer.
Strategy #3: Practice customer-centric selling every day
Once you understand your customers, put them at the center of your sales and marketing efforts. Five tips for more customer-centric sales:
Use “you” instead of “I”
Treat the first sales call like an interview. Find ways to let the customer talk about himself or herself.
Align yourself with existing customer priorities
Respect their time
Let your current customer sell for you
Strategy #4: Publish your own content to attract prospects
Content marketing allows you to stay in front of your customers. Make sure you’re considering the following when planning your content strategy:
What do I want people to see, here and/or learn?
What do I want people to think?
What do I want people to do?
Common content marketing mistakes include:
Not having a plan up front
Writing for the company instead of the customer
Not encouraging and participating in two-way communication
Not promoting, aggregating and curating great content from others
Producing only written content
Strategy #5: Don’t rely solely on sales and marketing
Sales and marketing is too important to leave to salespeople and marketers. Remember your partners and customers are also marketing for your company. Your outward-facing employees are also important to your marketing. It’s important to make sure that they also understand your goals and your customers’ needs.
What are your strategies for finding, influencing and converting prospects into customers? Which of Matt’s strategies would be #1 on your list? Share with us by leaving a comment below.
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