Marketers, while not trying to prospect and close deals like sales, should still seek to build relationships with buyers. Particularly with the advent of Account Based Marketing, we’ve seen an increase in the number of marketers looking to build relationships with targeted accounts. Those relationship yield dividends in higher conversion and retention rates. Marketers are also uniquely placed to grow them throughout the entire buying process and customer lifecycle.
Relationship-building is also valuable for marketers, especially in the crowded B2B technology space. Modern marketing increasingly relies on a community of advocates and influencers to engage buyers. To nurture that community and grow your influence, you need to develop authentic relationships that produce genuine word of mouth from advocates influencers.
Here are five ways to find and grow relationships with buyers and influencers as a marketer:
1) Get insights to personalize outreach
This one is the most basic, but it’s the bread and butter of building a relationship – make it personal.
For the most effective 1:1 outreach, it’s worth searching for unique pieces of content about a contact and then mentioning it in a communication (email, phone call, next meeting, tweet, LinkedIn comment, etc.)
One of the best ways to save up to several hours a month getting insights is to use a relationship intelligence platform like Nudge.ai. Nudge.ai provides actionable insights on your buyers right where you work including in Gmail, Outlook, Google Calendar, Salesforce, and more.
2) Monitor and mention relevant news.
Stay current. When you engage in initial or on-going conversation with a buyer, you should bring up relevant news, particularly company or industry-related news. Or, for an influencer, try mentioning new analysis on a trend or an interesting piece of content. Consider this: how could the news you have in mind affect their work life? You must provide value with every touch, and delivering relevant account insights in the best way to do that.
3) Build a social presence – become an influencer yourself.
One of the best ways to find and grow relationships that matter is to create a sphere of influence. Become an influencer yourself! The best way to do this is to meet buyers and other influencers where they are, whether that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or another network.
A key to developing a following is to post regular content and ensure the right people see it. A few tips that I’ve used that have worked well:
- Write < 200 word LinkedIn or Facebook posts with short sentences. Try text-only, rather than focusing on sharing the perfect link or image. It’ll look less promotional and you’re likely to get higher engagement.
- Follow more people on Twitter or reach out to connect on LinkedIn. Many people will follow you back. And a larger following can help your content reach more eyes.
- Tag people in your network that you think will find your posts interesting or can contribute to the conversation. If they like or comment on a post, the feed will then show the post to the other person’s network too.
4) Form your “circle” of influence
If you haven’t yet, build a systematic program of the key advocates and influencers who can ally with your brand.
To start the process, first create a list! Even the first 10 people matter –– 5 customers who would vouch for you and 5 top influencers in the industry of whom you want to be on their radar.
When you decide to reach out, the best way to engage with these people and start to build a relationship is to give things to them. Offer them access, status, and belonging. Make them feel special. That’s how you can start to develop a circle of influence.
5) Use your extended network and strongest relationships
Don’t bother reaching out cold if you don’t have to. It’s way less effective and can often take longer.
Start warm and use your existing network to facilitate a new relationship. Use LinkedIn or Nudge.ai for relationship discovery and to determine if you’ve got any common connections.
And, if you don’t want to ask for a direct intro, perhaps simply name-drop some mutual connections to get someone’s attention.
Ultimately, if you’re a marketer looking to effectively reach accounts through ABM, you need to have the right insights, a strong social presence, and a connected community. You’ll be able to be relevant in your outreach, have more to share, and people to back you up. Build relationships in order to grow sales. That’s the best way forward.
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