Finding New Business a New Way

Setting up a New Event

Will they come?  Just this week I was working with one of my clients in the northwest on filling seats for their first major marketing event.  This is their first “asset owner” facing event, and like most, there was some uneasiness as to whether they would actually be able to attract buyers to their event; there always is when planning a first event.  Just one week into their marketing campaign, 18 had already signed up (18 qualified asset owners).  Within two weeks, 39 were signed up!  How did this happen?

Well it wasn’t luck…Marketing doesn’t always work, but good marketing does.  We didn’t just send out a bunch of emails last minute to do this.  We started this process weeks ago, working out the wording, the format, and media that would most appeal to our target audience.  We chose a topic that resonated with this target group of prospects, and we planned a phone campaign with scripts and timing to match the overall campaign theme and mailing.

Building  a New Territory – Will it Work?

I was talking with a sales person yesterday from another company in the northeast.  He is just a few months into a new position, trying to establish a new territory.  In the past four months he has found it extremely difficult to penetrate the market he is in.  He’s tried calling, emailing, and sending letters, but as you might have guessed, it’s slow, and people are unresponsive.  Will an event work for him?  The answer is yes!  Events do work.  When they don’t, it simply means they have been set up incorrectly.  The topic is wrong, the marketing poorly planned, and the invite process, flawed.  Events are the best way because they are based on educating, not selling.  And smart people love knowledge.

What’s  The Secret?

There are a few things that must come together with absolute perfect timing:

  • The topic must be newsworthy.  What are we seeing in the Wall Street Journal?  Nortel’s recent hacking incidents, Anonymous threatening governments, subscribers of a large porn site exposed online by hackers, and alarming cautions from our government leaders on the threats of hackers taking down power grids, stock markets, and other vital infrastructure  (all new this month).  This is not about products – so don’t let your vendor partners steer you in the name of funding.  I have seen more companies this year follow their vendors for funding, rather than demanding their vendors fund what works.  VARS – If your vendors aren’t going to cooperate here, find new ones.  You can’t build a solution provider company using hardware vendor strategies.
  • The initial marketing plan must target the right people.  That means the message is written to asset owners – people running a business.  They don’t care about computers, networks, or firewalls. The owner of the  company that does metal stamping, is thinking about metal stamping all day.  The law firm senior partner is thinking about the law, court cases, case law, and winning an important case. What right do we have to demand that they stop and focus on a new virtualization technology or data center consolidation project?  Send them something that matters to their business.
  • The calling can’t be done by amateurs – or professionals that make calls on contract.  You sell technology solutions and you’re good at it.  When you contract with an outside calling firm, you are contracting with someone who makes calls on anything from insurance policies to upgrading cell phone service.  These firms cannot connect with asset owners – they are there to reach the mass market – consumer market, with a mass message.  If they get a .2% response from their list of 10,000, they are happy.  You can’t afford this kind of campaign.  You don’t have a list of 10,000 asset owners.

© 2012, David Stelzl


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