The Importance of a Business Networking Strategy
Business marketing can be an extremely effective strategy for generating leads and sales. It can also help deepen connections with your existing markets and learn new information in your industry. However, most people fail to implement it properly and end up being disappointed with all the networking meetings they’ve attended. To help make business marketing an excellent part of your marketing and sales strategy, read on!
Most, if not all companies have a business or marketing plan, but only a mere 20% have a networking plan. Sit down and ask yourself, how many sales or business contacts come from word of mouth recommendations, direct marketing and referrals. You will quickly discover that over 80% of the business stems from these sources. So, if you don’t have a huge marketing budget and most of your leads and sales come from these sources, it’s time to come up with a networking strategy and think about how to introduce yourself to a group online.
Both offline and online marketing can generate leads, heighten connections and provide helpful information regarding the markets. However, most business owners do it in an impromptu manner that it does not provide substantial results that it would have if properly implemented.
Here are steps to follow when launching a business networking strategy:
1. Identify Your Marketing Reasons
Ask the following questions and rank them in order to importance. Why are you networking?
-Is it to find new contacts, introducers or business?
-Is it to build new or retain existing relationships?
-is it to improve career prospects? Perhaps find another job within the organisation or another company?
-Is it to create a team of experts?
-Is it to position yourself like an expert in the industry?
-Is it to leverage support from a sponsor, mentor or trade body?
–Increase knowledge of your industry, market or factors that influence people’s buying decisions?
2. Identify Your KPIs
Every party you meet as you market your business has the potential to add value. Whenever you come across an interesting individual, do not hesitate to add them to your network. Depending on your goals, it’s possible to estimate the number of contacts required to achieve your marketing goals. For instance, if you want to find new introducers, contacts and business, your monthly action plan should be along these lines:
-Get 50 clients and ask them for introductions & referrals.
-Get to know 20 prospects by nurturing better relationships. You can do this by attending the events they go to and looking at the content they post on social media platforms.
-Next, join a membership organisation with the aim of meeting at least 5 potential clients.
-Connect with the organisation’s staff (target 5).
-You can increase the number of introducers to 10 through online and offline. marketing.
-Make a minimum of 15 contacts and a maximum of 75.
3. Identify Contacts
The next stage in your business networking strategy entails identifying contacts. Create a list of your existing customers who you could ask for referrals. Next, create a list of introducers (accountants, employees, suppliers and non-executive directors).
Create a list of relevant networking organisations or memberships that you could join. Next, create a list of requests that you’ll need from these organisations and memberships, such as feedback on the latest service or product offer.
Create a list of job titles, companies and names of individuals you wish to nurture relationships with and see what events they attend. Ideally, you can recommend events that you think could be useful to both parties.
And there you have it, a simple, but solid business networking strategy that will help you meet your goals.