Business Development and Prospecting Online: Reaching a Business Audience
Today’s enterprises see online lead generation as critical to their business development initiatives. They’ll use SEO, content marketing, email campaigns, social media and digital advertisements in order to increase their visibility in online searches.
However, business development is also driven by online research. In fact, online research is a critical part of prospecting.
Business development success isn’t just about trying to penetrate a new market with content, email and other digital strategies. It’s ultimately about researching that market and identifying its major players. So, by all means, increase online lead generation with your inbound strategies, but combine those with a proactive approach to online research. Here are some tips to consider.
Research Competitors’ Business and Online Footprint
What are your competitors doing? What have you learned online and what have you heard from customers in your market? Success with online business development is about taking what you hear from customer visits and crosschecking that information on the internet. If your customers are working in another market, then you’ll either hear about it or find out online. Understanding why market shifts happen helps to identify new opportunities.
Start your research with your competitor’s website. What can you learn from their content, their press releases, and their social media channel? What comes up when you perform an online research on your competitors? Online lead generation comes from knowing how to find information and using it to your advantage. Inbound marketing is one way to increase online lead generation, but research is another.
Focus on Identifying Commonalities Between Markets
Look at your products and services. Are there any commonalities between your offering and that of other companies in other markets? For instance, your company may service a business audience with an industrial finished good, one whose process involves something that can be transferable to another industry. Granted, it seems like a lot, but breaking down your manufacturing processes and products allows you to better understand what services are needed by other industries.
Get to Know Your New Market and its Technology
Don’t get involved with online lead generation in your new market until you understand that market. Online research involves understanding volume forecasts from different online resources. Review news, trends, and industry trade publications. Try to piece together a five, ten, fifteen and twenty-year growth projection and try to define how your company fits into that projection.
Locate a Partner Online
You can increase online lead generation by cross-promoting products and services with an online strategic partner. However, the focus here is to research potential partners that can help you get started in your new industry. Research your market and try to be as informed as possible.
When you do identify a potential first customer, don’t make assumptions about what he or she needs. Ask questions and show your willingness to work with the customer. There is nothing more impressive for a new customer than to have a vendor show interest in working with the customer on a personal level.
Online lead generation and business development doesn’t just come from inbound marketing. It comes from researching what your competitors are doing, identifying what a potential market needs, and understanding how your processes or products can be sold in new markets.