When it comes to business, most people would agree that they are more likely to trust their acquaintances first, when it comes to recommendations and important decisions. Clearly, if you want to give your brand the best chance at securing potentially lucrative deals, you need to prioritise networking and building close working relationships with your target customers. This can be incredibly time consuming, not to mention expensive given the amount of research you’ll probably need to conduct in order to engage each client effectively.
With this in mind, using a B2B database to reach out to new prospects often works out as a more cost-effective and efficient solution for a lot of businesses. Let’s take a look at why it makes good business sense, and how to use a directory to your advantage when forging strong relationships.
People like Familiarity
While a lot of marketers today give up at the first hurdle and stop calling or emailing if there’s no immediate sale, the truth is that for the majority of cases, your buyers need time. In fact, studies have shown that just 2 percent of sales occur when two parties meet for the first time. Building a sense of familiarity and nurturing your leads is imperative to gaining their trust, and with each follow-up email or conversation you have, the chance of getting a sale increases.
Granted, it may take weeks or months for that lead to become a fully-fledged buyer, but ultimately it’s worth it. Research from the Annuitas Group, for example, found that nurtured leads make 47 percent bigger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Email Still Rules
When it comes to finding the best channel to build your business relationships via, it’s safe to assume that for most companies, email is still the way forward. As is showing the chart below taken from HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report, the majority of businesspeople prefer to communicate this way; even over face to face contact.
There are a number of potential reasons for this; firstly, unlike cold calling it is not intrusive and people can view and respond to an email in their own time. It also enables you to have a direct one-on-one conversation with someone without the distractions of sites like Twitter, and unlike business networking sites such as LinkedIn, your messages are far more likely to get read; 91% of professionals check their email daily, according to HubSpot.
Using a Database
Using a reputable B2B directory like Global Database can help you to build great business relationships in a number of ways, such as:
- Verified Contacts – Any legit B2B intelligence platform will provide you with accurate and up to date data. Global Database carries out a range of consistent and through tests in order to ensure our data remains of the highest quality. All of our 62 million contacts also come with direct phone and email addresses, so you can start forging relationships without the hassle of gatekeepers.
- Qualify – Having a more niche approach to creating a target audience means leads that are more likely to have a genuine interest in your brand. Global Database allows you to qualify leads quickly and easily by using a number of filters based on demographic details such as industry, revenue, number of employees, job title, seniority level and more.
- Segment – By using these filters you can also create different segments in your email list that will help you build working relationships more easily. For example, you could segment based on office locations, so if you’re travelling to a particular city you’ll know who to ask for a business meeting.
- Personalise – Global Database arms you with a lot of helpful information about each company, which in turn means you can personalise your communications to them based on their needs and preferences. This is extremely important nowadays; just look at the image from Salesforce below that demonstrates the majority of B2B buyers much prefer personalised content.
The First Email
When it’s time to draft up your first email to a new prospect, there are several best practices to bear in mind in order to have the greatest chance of the line of communication remaining open between you. These include:
- Offer Value – Instead of going straight in for the hard-sell in your introductory email, focus on providing valuable content that will interest your prospect. Show them that you’re actually a person; be likeable and approachable and show them that you’re interested in them and their needs, and avoid talking about yourself too much.
- Keep it Short – Long rambling paragraphs aren’t going to appeal to anyone; not only does it make your messages harder to read, it also instantly gives the impression that you’re desperate to get that sale. Just include the important information; you can always do a more detailed introduction to your brand further down the line, or simply add a brief overview as your signature.
- Call to Action – Don’t forget to use a clear and direct call-to-action in your email where applicable. This could be a link to a free trial, a report download, an FAQ page, or something else.
- The Right Time – Sending your email at the right time, and on the right day, can often mean the difference between having it opened or not. As is shown in the chart below from Signupto, Thursdays are usually the best day to get a response, while, as expected for B2B contacts, the weekend is the worst.
Sending follow up emails is an essential part in building business relationships. As is shown in the graph below from Sharplaunch.com, if you stop sending messages after the initial first or even second, you could well be missing out on getting a response from the prospect.
Everyone likes to feel valued, and by taking the time to forge a deeper business relationship with someone you instantly set yourself apart from your competitors, and will be top of mind when that client is ready to buy. Keep focusing on giving them valuable content rather than coming across as desperate; build a rapport and show them that you respect them and their brand.
When it comes to follow up strategies, there are lots of different approaches you can take in order to keep a dialogue open between you. Here are a few ideas:
- Product Launches – Create a buzz when you launch a new product or service by sending out an email to your audience. Ask for their feedback, or if they have any questions about it in order to get a back-and-forth going.
- Event Invitations – Host a free workshop, Q&A, or seminar to share your knowledge with your audience, and in return they’ll see you as an industry expert and therefore be more likely to go into business with you.
- Downloadable Content – Offer useful advice and tips in the form of reports and whitepapers. It may be more work, but it positions you as an expert in your field and therefore builds trust.
- Congratulations – Has your prospect made a big sale recently, launched a new product or expanded to a new region? Show that you respect their business by offering your congratulations.
- Newsletters – Keep your clients updated on all your latest news by sending out newsletters once a month. Make sure these are interesting enough that your audience looks forward to reading them; be straight to the point and go for a light-hearted, friendly tone.
There’s no doubt that building strong business relationships takes time and effort, but ultimately it’s worth it in order to gain your prospect’s trust and stay top of mind. Using a B2B database can often make the whole process much more efficient, and providing you are offering value in your messages you should find potential customers are responsive.
Want to find out why Global Database is trusted by thousands of market-leading companies to establish new business relationships? Book a free demo here.