Do you market products and services to businesses?
If large companies are your target market, it can be tough to break in as a new supplier.
Here are 10 tips for a smart sales and marketing strategy that can help you land a big client.
- Define your brand. Know what your company does best and what it stands for. Make sure this brand promise is communicated clearly and consistently in all your marketing materials and in the services you deliver.
- Talk to your customers. Why do they do business with you? What value do you deliver? It’s critical to understand what your clients like most about working with you, so you can convey your unique value to prospects.
- Narrow your focus. Select 10 or fewer large companies you really want to do business with. They should be companies that are similar to your best customers and thus most likely to understand and benefit from your value proposition.
- Learn everything about your prospects. Study their websites, read their news releases, buy their products, and follow them on social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Attend their trade shows and visit their booths. Research their competitors. Become an expert on their businesses to determine how you can add value to what they do.
- Get credentialed. If your prospects require vendors to meet external business criteria, such as ISO-9001, WBE, MBE, or SBE certification, or accreditations specific to their industry, find out how to earn these credentials so you can qualify as a vendor.
- Identify the individual decision-makers who buy your products or services. Research their online profiles to learn more about them. Then, make sure they know about you. Go to business events they attend, get quoted in media they read, send them direct mail, speak at their industry conferences. You want to be on their radar screen when they’re thinking of potential suppliers.
- Polish your pitch and look the part. You need to look like someone a large company would want to do business with; the investment is always worth it. Get a great logo. Develop professional sales tools. Produce customer testimonials and case studies that prove your capabilities. Develop value-added content that showcases your expertise, such as white papers, a blog, seminars, or webinars. And be sure your social media presence reflects the quality of your company and your personal professionalism.
- Work your network. Find out who knows your prospects and also knows you. LinkedIn is a great resource for getting connected to buyers at big companies. Ask your customers, colleagues, and vendors to introduce you to the people you want to meet.
- Make your move. Approach your prospects to get a meeting or a bid opportunity. Set up a contact management program to keep in regular touch and stay visible and available.
- Keep at it. Don’t lose faith in yourself or lose patience with the process. As a marketing consultant who has served several large B2B marketers, I know from personal experience that it can take a long time to get through to business decision-makers and a very long time to become a vendor for a big company. But if you succeed, the payoff is well worth the effort.