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THE INDUSTRIAL EXECUTIVE

A Podcast by Todd Hockenberry

The Industrial Executive is a podcast dedicated to helping today’s industrial executives learn from their fellow peers. Whether you’re looking to learn from industry experts who have grown their industrial organizations, discover impactful stories straight from the field, or simply hear what’s on the mind of industrial executives, this is the podcast for you.

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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Apr 10, 2019 10:43:44 AM

Emerging Best Practices You Need to Know About Today

The fundamentals of business haven’t changed, especially in the B2B space. People still buy from people. But what has changed is the way in which people can connect and communicate.

Nelson Bruton, President of Interchanges, a full service digital marketing agency, helps companies fill up their sales pipelines by adjusting to this unique way of doing business.

Marketing is just half the battle. The other half is making sure you have sales reps and distributors out there. He starts by asking his clients two questions:

  1. What are you doing right now to measure ROI?
  2. What are you doing right now to grow the business?

Their answers help him gauge how important the discussion of ROI is to the client. If they can’t answer those questions, then Nelson knows he’s got a bigger challenge to tackle. He told us, “Any competent marketing agency should be able to track all types of data points to provide an ROI.”

What’s Working Right Now

Companies that pay little to not attention to digital metrics are still so dependent on the traditional ways of business. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this means they haven’t realized the tremendous value that can come from focusing on a digital strategy.

There are some exceptions to this rule: companies who sell into a very finite market where they know all of the players who buy from them likely don’t need to worry about digital marketing. Their business becomes more about business development and sales conversations than it does a marketing conversation. When there are only 50 people that can potentially buy from you, a manufacturer, you are going to focus on those relationships rather than marketing to new ones.

For everyone else, digital marketing strategy is a must.

Start by getting buy-in from both the sales leaders and the marketing leaders and making sure they’re on the same page. Decide what tasks each team will tackle throughout the year. That could things like regular calls with customers, video interviews, getting stories to share from in-person meetings that will fuel your content strategy, etc.

Use success stories on your website and online presence as marketing tactics. This is really great content that is relatively low lift to produce. A lot of times, senior leaders have a hard time connecting the ROI of creating content, but keep pushing for it. And avoid trying to outsource content creation. No one knows your customer stories and your company like you and your team does.

Emerging Best Practice: Conversational Marketing

Like we mentioned earlier, people still buy from people, but the ways in which you can connect and communicate with your prospects has certainly evolved and continues to evolve.

24/7 live chat is a powerful tool to explore for your business if you’re spending money on marketing like SEO or email marketing. If you’re driving traffic to your website, engage those visitors while they’re on their website. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on a booth at a trade show and then not have any of your salespeople present, right? It’s the same thing in the chat situation. You spend hundred of thousands of dollars to drive people to your website and then when they show up, no ones there.

We can do better than that!

A contact form is no longer enough. They cause friction, and it causes anxiety because they’re forced to share their email address. When you add a chat feature, you remove the friction to communication, they don’t need to give you information in return, and you’re telling them you’re available right now.

Live chat is the most successful of the different chat bot options. Nelson’s company actually provides real people available on live chat 24/7.

Nelson recently heard, chat is an emerging best practice. A best practice means all of your competitors are already doing it. But an emerging best practice means you have the chance to do something ahead of your competitors and have an advantage. Engaging the people you’ve spent money on to get to your website is a no brainer. That’s how you reach your most targeted audience: by talking to those who have made it to your website.

Nelson’s team is also helping their clients tackle LinkedIn to target their audience. LinkedIn is the world’s largest business to business social network and almost every business professional is on the platform. They’ve been perfecting their LinkedIn strategy for the past 5 years to generate leads and build sales pipelines, and it’s working. The best part: it’s completely organic. In fact, they haven’t seen great success with paid ads.

Here’s how they do it:

They upgrade their clients personal LinkedIn profiles to the sales navigator subscription option and then Nelson’s team connects that to another software they have. The software allows them to automate connection requests and send follow up messages once the person accepts the connection request.

They intentionally don’t use the company profile to do this because it doesn’t work. There isn’t a lot of engagement happening on these profile pages, even the ones with big followings. And it makes sense.

Let’s go back to the principle one more time: people buy from people. Whether it’s the CEO, a salesperson, or a marketing director, people are likely to engage with a person from the company than they are the company profile.

They send 300-500 connection requests per month to the target saved searches they do, and that’s been really effective. You get responses almost immediately. And the hundreds of people who accept the connection but don’t respond within 5 days automatically receive a follow up message. And they receive more follow up messages 20 and 35 days later after that.

These are some relatively simple ways you can start engaging with your target audience. At the end of the day, it’s all about being present for your customers when it’s best for them. And never forget, the more personal, the better. What are you trying that’s worked?

Listen to today's episode here or anywhere else you get your podcasts!

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