You know what it’s like… those fruitless networking events spent eating, drinking and paying lip service to prospects who are in an entirely different line of business and never going to buy from you.

They’re time consuming too. With most events taking up half a day or evening of back-to-back speakers and of course, having to leave the office and forgo other activities, they can be a big time commitment.

Don’t get me wrong.. who doesn’t like a good event to gather and share new ideas, interact with new people and learn about some of the interesting projects that they are working on but, as a means to generate new clients and secure new contracts they can often be low-yielding and not the most effective use of time. And let’s face it, your real goal is to acquire new clients and grow your business.

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In contrast, digital channels can often serve to be a more efficient and scalable way to open new sales conversations with your target customer and fill your pipeline. What do I mean by ‘digital channels’? I mean whole spectrum of messaging tools and apps that can be used to reach your customer, from paid advertising to email marketing and everything in between.

The Optimal Channels to Leverage to Grow your Business

At this current time, there are a dizzying array channels available to use. As a consequence, there are now more ways than ever to reach your target customers as they themselves, are harnessing and using these channels everyday to communicate with work colleagues along with friends and family.

B2B IT marketers are using this adoption to their advantage in order to turn target customers outside of their network into new sales conversations with potential customers who have a need for their specialist technology services. Potential customers like CEOs and Founders within small to medium sized businesses to senior decision makers within larger enterprises.

Why Digital Channels Can Be More Effective Than Word-of-Mouth, Referrals and Networking.

Every business owner appreciates a referral. It’s new business served up to you without have to do any marketing grunt work. It’s a great indicator too that you are good to work with and are delivering value for clients.

The problem occurs with an over-reliance on word-of-mouth, referrals and networking to grow and scale your business. This reason for this is because networking and referrals are a often a ‘slow-burner’ process. Meaning that it can often take time for a business owner to reap dividends from their efforts here and ultimately, close new business as a result of their efforts on these activities. To add to this, there’s often not a great enough amount of new expressions of interest to keep your pipeline full of quality leads and potentials customers.

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In contrast, digital channels allow you to reach a potential customer right from your computer or smartphone device without ever leaving the office – a far more efficient and less time-consuming process. It is a way to start a business relationship without having to ‘knock-on-doors’ as a figure of speech.

In this day and age, if you do not have a sound process to turn potential customers outside of your network into new one-to-one sales appointment using a diverse, multi-threaded array of digital channels then you are doing your business a massive dis-service.

What Channels to Use to Engage Your Target Customer

In order to know what channels to best use to connect with and engage your potential customer, you first need to understand their behavior. For example, participants within industries that typically spend less of their time on a digital devices (i.e. computers and smartphones) will be harder to reach on a channel such as LinkedIn as oppose to a business owner of a software development agency who spends most of his/her day on a computer, participating within social channels and browsing the web.

It’s worth noting though, that these are all assumptions. In order to truly know what channels are best to engage your target customer and open new sales conversations we have to take our hypotheses and experiment with it. By that I mean, actually harness these given channels and attempt to engage with them. As with any successful experiment, we need to gather data, analyse results and reach a conclusion based on these results. Here’s an example of a cold email outreach experiment where we’re reaching out to prospective customers who fit out ideal customer and then gathering, analyzing and coming to conclusions based on the results:

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As you can see from the results, the message variation “#4b” yielded the greatest results in terms of newly secured contracts and as a consequence, that is the massage variable that we will continue to run with for subsequent experiments in order to acquire new business.

The Important of an Compelling Message or ‘message-offer-CTA’ to Open New Sales Conversation with potential customers

Let’s get this straight. If our message is off-point, unclear or makes our prospect burn too many calories in order to understand, then the probability that our prospect is going to engage or even respond to us will be significantly diminished. This is true for direct outreach through channels such as email and LinkedIn and everything else, like the copy with ads and the content of our marketing materials.

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By contrast, if we communicate an easy-to-digest and message to our prospects showcases us as not only someone who can solve a problem for them but also helps them to survive and thrive the we have dramatically increased our probability of a favorable response. So to reiterate, get your brand message on-point before performing any typical of marketing!

My name is Kieran Moloney and I help small to medium sized IT service providers, MSPs and IT consultancies acquire their ideal clients through a proven digital sales process. If you are struggling to get new customers and realize a positive Return-on-Investment from your marketing efforts then fill out the free evaluation to see if and how I can help.

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– Kieran Moloney