Innovation | 09.09.20
Technology Tuesday Preview: Virtual Prospecting with Real Results
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we do business and how our customers expect to do business. Our work environments have changed drastically in the last few months, and our reliance on technology has undoubtedly grown. To help transition into this “new normal” as seamlessly as possible, BISA presents a new four-part webinar series, "Technology Tuesday."
Join us next week on Tuesday, September 15 for part three of the series, “Virtual Prospecting with Real Results.” Speaker Charlie Van Derven, President at Social Advisors, goes into detail on what attendees can expect to take away during his session, why a strong engagement strategy is so important and more.
Can you tell readers about yourself and how you got to where you are today in your career?
As a young sales professional in 1998, I joined a small group of entrepreneurs at a company called 50 Below, which through acquisitions is now part of Broadridge. We had a very basic data-driven template website builder, but it was cutting-edge for the time. We provided technology to five industries, financial services being one of those verticals.
50 Below grew to more than 350 employees, providing locator and website technology to a number of top firms in the industry; including Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney (before their merger in 2008), Ameriprise, RBC Wealth Management, Oppenheimer & Co., Hilliard Lyons, Janney Montgomery Scott, TD Bank and a number of other firms.
After 12 years with 50 Below, I spent a couple years with FMG Suite overseeing national accounts.
I found it hard to be passionate about the templated nature of this industry and started Social Advisors in 2013 as a custom content developer focused specifically on financial services. It didn’t take long to realize that tying an ROI solely to content marketing was rather difficult.
In 2016, we pivoted to focus on direct engagement/prospecting for advisors. This proved to be the right move as the ability to demonstrate a return on our clients’ investment is much easier.
Today, almost all of our strategies run directly through LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This is such an incredible platform for easily growing a community, influencing that community and creating direct sales opportunities.
What do you hope attendees take away from your upcoming webinar, “Virtual Prospecting with Real Results?”
Sales and business development drive the health of any company. As such, I hope attendees find our services compelling enough to meet one-on-one.
That said, the webinar is not focused on sales. Instead, I’ll provide solid, data-driven advice and routines for leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator to grow one’s financial practice or, for those non-advisor attendees, growing their new sales revenue.
You’ll receive practical advice that can be implemented immediately.
Why is developing a strong engagement strategy so important for a business? What is the first step in building and executing this process?
We learned early on in this business that you can create and share the best marketing content and receive little response. Social media has made marketing communication so noisy.
For your marketing strategy to hit home with your audience, you must know who you are talking to and that target audience’s unique set of needs and challenges.
The first step is to choose and understand the niche that you service. If you don’t know who you service, and pre-retirees is not a niche, you will likely struggle to communicate effectively. Most sales professionals who service a very general audience are always trying to sell. Once you choose a niche and start building a specific community, you’ll quickly develop a brand that speaks directly to a specific audience. Soon, you’ll be recognized in that segment and stop chasing opportunity. Opportunity will find you.
What should a business owner keep top of mind when planning a virtual marketing strategy?
Marketing is not about sales; it is about influence. Like the response to the last question, if you’re trying to influence a broad group of people with different needs, you will struggle. Choose a narrow niche and go all-in. Build your community and share your knowledge. Your marketing copy will align with their needs and you will soon be the go-to person/service provider.
How can professionals in the industry continue to grow their network and career without being face-to-face? What’s something to keep in mind while virtually networking right now?
Gone are the industry events, the networking events, the in-person seminars, etc. The single best platform for prospecting and growing community is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The ability to query all LinkedIn profiles to find the exact professional(s) you want to know is so simple.
The platform is designed to help you build the right network. Grow and nurture this network. Stop hard-selling and treating each new connection as a target. Take a community approach. Grow and influence this community and you’ll stop having to chase opportunity.
A key mantra at Social Advisors is “they won’t do business with you until they know you, like you and trust you.” Focus on building the right community and building relationships by providing value to your network. If you try to sell too soon, you will destroy opportunity before it begins. And worse, you’ll damage your brand within the community you’re building.
What role does social media play in growing your business? Is a deep understanding of social media platforms, strategies and tools necessary for a business to thrive?
Long before we all went into lock-down for COVID-19, social media established a stronghold for business communication.
It doesn’t take a deep understanding to be successful, but it is important to recognize that every platform provides different advantages. For example, LinkedIn is incredible for B2B prospecting. Facebook, while it provides the opportunity to advertise, it’s best use is to gather social intelligence about life events and the people that your best clients/advocates spend time with. Twitter is great for PR. I am still trying to figure out TikTok, but I think there’s something there.
Do you have any additional comments or advice you’d like to add?
Sales is a process. Recognize and respect that if you don’t follow the process and try to move too quickly, you’re going to be less successful.
Last week alone, three of the new clients we acquired came from relationships that are more than a year in the making. Two of those we met on LinkedIn and the other at a conference.
Of course, we close new business from the people we meet that have an immediate need as well, but the majority of our new business is built on the relationships we create.
Sales Navigator makes it easy to find the right professionals and nurture relationships. When the timing is right, you’re likely to be their choice.
To register for the “Virtual Prospecting with Real Results” session and to learn more about BISA’s Technology Tuesday webinar series, visit our website. Sessions take place on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. − 5:00 p.m. ET.