Once you’ve defined the companies who fit your Ideal Buyer Profile and the Buyer Personas who work for those companies, you need to work out how you’re going to connect with them.
You can have hundreds of ideal prospects listed on the best free CRM for small businesses but, if none of them know who you are or how you can help them, it's a waste of time.
The State of Inbound noted that 42% of salespeople they surveyed said that prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process – but in many cases that’s probably because they are doing it all wrong.
Time-wasting connection tactics
Most modern salespeople try to connect with prospects using cold calls and uncustomised bulk email blasts. These outreaches provide the same generic elevator pitch for each recipient and try to persuade the person who may or may not need the product or service to view a presentation. Would you be willing to give up 20 minutes of your time to hear about a product you don’t actually need…?
Not surprisingly, the response rate to these outreach attempts is usually in the low single digits because they are seen as spam. In most cases, your email will be ignored or reported and your telephone call won’t get past the gatekeeper. His/her job is to stop you from distracting the boss with bright shiny things!
Think about your own purchasing behaviour - modern buyers don’t wait for random telephone calls or emails from strangers to learn about a product or service they know they need. When they are actually interested in finding a solution to a specific problem, they research this information online.
Use Social Media to connect and build Know, Like and Trust
So, as a modern seller, how can you get your message in front of those buyers when they are searching?
The answer is Social Media.
It allows you to research and get to know your prospects before you get anywhere near a phone call.
Data from Implisit found that leads that came from social resulted in a conversion rate of 68.6% for deals won vs. deals lost - second only to referrals at 68.7%. So, it’s well worth investing the time to connect and build relationships with potential customers on the particular social platforms they are using.
However, it’s also important that you don’t just repeat the generic email mistakes we spoke of above when you try to connect with the individuals you have identified as your ideal buyer personas. You need to develop simple strategies and time-saving templates that will allow you to connect with prospects efficiently and effectively.
This article tells how Holly Anna Scarsella, founder of startup Pampelone spent weeks researching buyers on LinkedIn and then sent extremely targeted emails that grabbed their attention with a highly relevant subject line. She also explained that she always emails a buyer AND their assistant to increase the chances of her message being seen.
LinkedIn lose the email requirement before connection in 2017
Of course, in the new era of LinkedIn, you no longer need to actually have an email address to be able to send a customised connection request – even for free accounts. This is HUGE!
Providing your prospects actually read the customisation. And that your personal profile on the platform is completed in a way that will appeal to your Buyer Personas.
How to connect on LinkedIn
Type the name of the person that you want to connect with into the search bar on LinkedIn.
Select the correct profile from the dropdown menu - be aware that there may be more than one person with the same name so make sure you choose the right one.
When you arrive on the profile that you want, you have two options - InMail or Connect.
Click the big blue Connect button.
You now see the option to Send now which will send a default message which is something like - I'd like to add your to my personal network on LinkedIn
Or you can Add a note and personalise your connection request.
This is where you remind the prospect how you know them or, if it is a complete stranger, talk about what is in it for them if they connect with you.
Read more about how to personalise your LinkedIn connection invitations here.
I read somewhere that you can add links to these customised outreaches but not seeing an obvious hyperlink option on my free version as yet so this would need to be written as http://www....
Click Send invitation.
You will then see a notification that your invitation to connect was sent to the person in question.
One of the big problems with the old LinkedIn layout was that it was very easy to forget who you had asked to connect unless you looked in the Relationship manager.
LinkedIn have now added a Pending note front and centre of the profile in question.
If you’re not successful in this first connection attempt, then you need to start putting in more legwork – find a mutual connection who is willing to introduce you!
Whatever you try needs to be added as a Note on the Contact’s card on your CRM so you can keep a record of where you are. And that also includes who their gatekeeper is!
Using LinkedIn to connect with Gatekeepers
If you are really struggling to connect with your ideal prospect at a particular company, another option is to target his/her gatekeeper. You can do this by going to the Company's LinkedIn Page and checking out the employees listed there. Is there a receptionist? Or a secretary?
The gatekeeper may be more willing to accept a request or introduction. Once your stuff starts appearing in their news feed, they might even share it with their boss if they know it solves a problem s/he is having.
Again, keep a note on the contact card of the gatekeeper and the things they have interacted with. It helps you to understand what is of interest to them so you can publish more of it.
LinkedIn + Twitter connections?
You could also follow their Twitter account and start retweeting stuff. The problem is that many buyers will not have their own personal twitter account. A lot of business Twitter profiles are run as a company brand by their marketing department and the chances of you getting noticed there are pretty slim. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it but just be aware of the pitfalls.
Prospects using LinkedIn to connect with you?
Of course, those of us who do inbound marketing will be producing content that answers the questions that those target customers are typing into the search bar. If you allow Google to match your solutions to the problems she is being asked about, it is a lot more likely to result in your target customer asking you to connect on LinkedIn rather than you having to put in all the legwork.
You are allowing your ideal prospects to come and FIND YOU!
Are you doing what it takes to GET FOUND on Google?