I meet a lot of startups and small businesses every month. This could be at an event at MaRS, over a coffee at Te Aro on Queen Street or at the office of a potential business partner or a new prospect. As we talk about their sales and marketing challenges and potential strategies and tactics we can use, I am often asked how VA Partners finds new customers.
The strategies we use are actually quite simple, and any business can start implementing these right away to get more clients. Here’s the complete list of techniques we use that got us 12 new B2B customers over the past six months.
1. Use Inbound Marketing
Using a mix of blogs, white papers, email newsletters, website content, social media and SEO, we have built a great inbound lead generation process at VA Partners. We generate close to 60 inbound leads every month, qualify all our leads and then add them to the sales effort.
2. Be a Leader in the Local Startup Space
VA Partners has been in business since 2006 and since that time we have worked hard to build relationships with many well respected organizations. This has led to monthly speaking opportunities, mentoring opportunities, and leading peer-to-peer sessions. This is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing and consistent pursuit.
3. Network and Attend Events
The team is regularly at startup or small business events through the Toronto and GTA region, including KW, Halton and Hamilton. This has been a great way to meet prospects and potential partners.
4. Stay Top of Mind
There are great digital tools that can allow you to be top of mind with prospects and partners. Updating your LinkedIn company page, posting to Twitter, and using email newsletters are great ways to stay in contact with people. We have had several customers come on board that admitted our constant posts helped remind them of VA Partners when they were ready for sales and marketing help.
5. Look for Sales Triggers on Social Media
Social media is a wonderful tool for growing firms. Every member of our team has a strong presence on social media. One of the great opportunities from a sales effort is finding sales triggers that can then be acted upon quickly. Early this year we signed a new B2B customer and also helped a client close a customer through a conversation that started on Twitter and LinkedIn. Both of these opportunities closed in less than a month.
6. Get Referrals From Existing Customers
A referral from a customer is the best indicator you are doing a good job. We often get referrals when our clients highlight our success with them to other entrepreneurs that they know. We have also asked for introductions with people that we know they are connected with as well.
7. Get Referral From Partners
There are many other service providers that target similar customers, but with different services. Finding these potential partners and then building a relationship has led to some great customers. To be successful this can’t be just a one way street. There needs to be an exchange of referral both ways for long-term success.
8. Use Outbound Sales
VA Partners originally started as an outsourced sales organization. Many of our original customers came from us researching and contacting them through cold calls or introductory emails. We don’t use this tactic as often today as much as we use inbound lead generation, but outbound sales effort can still be an effective tactic depending on the types of customers, contacts, number of potential clients, and size of the opportunity.
If you would like discuss what sales and marketing tactics could work for you organization, contact me at [email protected] and we can set-up some time for a conversation.