Four Ways for Channel Partners to Stay Engaged with Their Prospects

Printing companies are often in conversation with multiple salespeople at once. Here’s how to make sure your voice – and your press – stands out in the crowd.

Have you noticed that people are never ready to buy when you want to sell!

It takes a lot of effort to make contact with a prospect these days. When you finally get to speak with them, they frequently say that they have no requirements for your services right now. Naturally, a good salesperson will check when they should next call and diarise.

But, equally annoying is the fact that the prospect then forgets about you. When you contact them again, at the time they suggested, it is often too late. By then, the prospect is already talking to someone else. The chances of you making the sale are extremely slim at this point.

It is vital that you stay front of mind at all times with a prospect

A channel partner that stays in contact with a prospect on a regular basis is much more likely to become a trusted advisor. I talked about this role in my previous article. In this way, they build the correct relationship with their prospects and existing customers. They are more likely to be able to see and control a worthwhile sales pipeline. They have a much better chance to achieve their sales targets.

Channel partners that simply diarise contact for when they think they have the best chance to make a sale will find it much harder to achieve their sales targets. They won’t have the same sales pipeline. That is because they aren’t regarded as trusted advisors. Many printing companies will be in dialogue with another supplier already. The only way you will win the business is through heavily discounted pricing.

But how do you stay in touch regularly?

Trying to have regular phone calls takes up a lot of time and resource. That time is typically better spent trying to close prospects and customers that are ready to buy now. In any case, most prospects don’t want a continual stream of sales calls when they are not ready to buy.

The answer relies on having a presence that your customers and prospects are aware of. This doesn’t have to be personal, direct contact. Instead, aim to make sure that your prospect and client base has access to a range of information such as xxx and xxx that they will find useful and interesting. And make sure that they link this information with you.

Here are four ways that you should be communicating with your client base:

  1. Be active on social media.
    Make sure that you share content across a wide range of social media channels. You should be present on LinkedIn, Twitter, in the right LinkedIn groups, and in print forums. You may also wish to consider participating in Twitter chats and relevant Facebook groups. It’s important to have a regular presence on all your social media streams. Sending an update or a tweet once a week is not going to get you noticed.
  2. Be present at events.
    Many of your prospects and customers will be attending print events throughout the year. So make sure you are there as well. You don’t have to book a stand – although this helps. But simply being present at a show and making sure your audience knows about it can be very productive as well. Consider offering to meet up with people for a coffee. Plenty of people will be very happy to you up on this suggestion! Consider holding your own event as well.
  3. Run an e-mail list.
    Sending useful information out by e-mail is a great way to stay in touch with people. It is also extremely trackable. You can measure your most popular e-mail subjects. You can see exactly who has clicked through on a link. You can measure your most engaged audience members and consider reaching out to them in person. However, not everyone likes e-mail, so it’s important to remember the next option as well.
  4. Use direct mail.
    Good direct mail really does stand out in the marketing mix at the moment. It also gives us a chance to champion the medium that we sell. There are a growing number of commercial printing companies that are achieving very good results from direct mail at the moment. Channel partners can profit from print too. We’ll be covering direct mail in more detail in a future article.

Would you like potential customers calling you?

Being in constant contact through these channels is the way to achieve this result. Instead of finding out that you have contacted someone at the wrong point in the buying cycle, they are much more likely to make contact when the time is right for them. They certainly won’t have forgotten about you when they are making their choice of potential suppliers to deal with.

This strategy only works if you provide your audience with the right content

The right content is the key to changing the way prospects and customers perceive you. The right content means that they stop thinking about a commodity conversation. Instead, they see you as the trusted advisor who can add value to their business. We’ll be covering the right type of content to share in my next article.

 

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