Make it Your Nature to Nurture

Community Content

Sonian Ad - SMB NationYou already know the hardest part of business is finding, acquiring and pleasing customers; and of course, without them, there is no business.

These relationships are typically built and grow over time and tending to them requires that you contact customers when you don’t have something to sell. The art of becoming a trusted advisor means that you establish a relationship where you inform customers without being self-serving - make an honest effort to pass along value for value’s sake.

In our case, we sell archiving solutions, and typically the need for such a service is pretty self-evident. Customers “get it” or they don’t, and as a result, we enjoy a sales cycle that is sometimes measured in minutes. While that “quick hit” can be gratifying, many of our customer relationships do have to be nurtured, sometimes over months. It is in that process that vendors seek to earn trust, build credibility and demonstrate value. In order to create relevant communications to such a large prospect pool, you have to get beyond a “blast it out” mentality – stop thinking in terms of newsletters, and start thinking about the individual situation in which each client operates.

In an effort to “convey value”, Sonian sets lots of Google alerts and we use Salesforce and other marketing automation tools to corral relevant “industry news” and route it to individual users through tailored campaigns. This takes time to configure and consumes cycles each week to manage, as we tailor communications to clients based on both vertical industry and job titles. We aim to provide worthwhile information to help the prospect understand the context of our solution without hammering them with product marketing “features/functions”.

Forget generic – get specific! Bring business value to light. Bring the problem to life – explain the consequences of inaction through real world examples. Understand what these prospects really care about and try to frame your conversation within those “pain points”. Ask leading questions within the communication to lead prospects on a buying journey – yes, that’s good for you, but if you’re doing it right, it’s also good for them.