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With a robust business network, the potential of your business enjoying growth in revenues increases. Equally, those who implement online business networking without a solid plan and clear objectives often end up being disappointed.
Business networking is crucial, especially for those with limited budgets for marketing. According to research, over 80% of customers in conventional online business networking come from recommendations and referrals made by word of mouth as well as directly from business networks. Leveraging on the already existing customers is resourceful and great for sales strategies with limited budgets.
If you are looking to succeed through business marketing, there are a few important steps to follow:
1. Be Clear Why You Need Business Networking
A great way to establish a marketing objective is to ask yourself the following questions. Next, rank all the motives from the most to the least important one.
- Is it to get new customers or contacts or introducers to new clients?
- Is it to improve public relations?
- Is it to get support from an external entity in the form of a financial sponsor, mentor, or trade union?
- Is it to deepen or strengthen business relationships with existing customers?
- Is it to create opportunities for career growth?
- Is it create an ideal sales team?
- Is it to create a path to get market intelligence in your market to predict potential customers’ buying patterns?
- Is it to fortify relations with the coworkers and inspire your team?
2. Establish Vital Performance Indicators
One of the most important assumptions when running a networking campaign is keeping in mind that everyone you meet can add value to your company or business. It’s also important to store contacts for interesting leads for future use. The scope of work for the networking assignment determines the estimated number of contact networks needed. It’s important to know potential customers so that you can better understand their buying behaviours, the nature of the content they post online as well as businesses they follow online. Ideally, you can go to events that potential customers plan to attend as well.
You can also increase the number of introducers by simply exploiting connections online and contacts. Create a rapport and build strong relations with the sales in an organisation. The aim here is to connect with a target of not less than 5 individuals. If the goal of your campaign is to expand market intelligence in your industry and consequently better predict potential clients’ buying patterns, your monthly plan should look similar to this:
- Seek product and service reviews or feedback from 10 customers who buy your merchandise regularly.
- Seek open suggestions from 10 customers who buy your merchandise regularly on how to improve your product or quality of service.
- Get in touch with at least 5 of your suppliers.
- Study new products in the market from five potential suppliers to comprehend demand as well as the product’s competitive edge.
- Do your homework on competitors to understand how they predict their products or services. Do they give discounts and offers? How do they market themselves, and where do they get their customers?
3. Ascertain Your Contacts
Next, create a list of existing customers who can be a source of customer referral. Create a list of introducers to potential accountants, employees, suppliers as well as non-executive directors. Come up with a list of potential organisations you can join to create a list of product or service feedback and review data that you would need to get from the organisation’s members.
Next, come up with a list of people and companies you want to create a networking relationship with. Find out the kind of events they usually attend and even recommend other events that you think might add value to them.
And just like that, you have a basic networking strategy that will help you meet your business goals!