You’re — hopefully — proud of the tireless work your sales team does. Yes, you’ve fired your share of salespeople in your day, but you’ve got stars on your side too. There’s no (realistic) target beyond their reach.
Are they enough to get your company where it needs to be two, three, five years from now?
If you’re being brutally honest, you know the answer is “no.” Important as it is, your sales team is just one pillar of a holistic business development strategy. Here’s what else you can, should, and probably must do to keep your growth on track beyond the coming quarter.
1. Join at Least One Relevant LinkedIn Group
You don’t need to be reminded of the centrality of LinkedIn to any business development effort. But you might be overlooking one core capability of the world’s most popular professional network: LinkedIn Groups.
Getting your foot in the door with at least one relevant LinkedIn Group — bearing in mind that many are invite-only and you may need to finesse your way into the fold — is a fantastic way to establish credibility for a fledgling enterprise or new business line.
2. Get Listed on High-Authority Business Directories
In many cases, you won’t need to pay a dime for the privilege. Get your company and key employees listed on top properties like Crunchbase, a high-visibility business directory with a tech bias. Model personal pages after this Crunchbase profile for Kris Duggan, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor.
3. Publish at Least One Piece of Original Content on LinkedIn Each Week
There’s no one true path to becoming a thought leader, but few argue that consistently publishing high-value content is not central to the effort. Use LinkedIn’s longform publishing tools to build on your interaction with other thought leaders on the platform (and, hopefully, your participation in key LinkedIn Groups) and deliver actionable content to your growing follower base.
4. Have Coffee — With a Purpose
Don’t have coffee for the sake of having coffee. Have coffee with a purpose. That is, when you reach out to a prospective investor or key hire to ask for a casual, off-the-record meeting, make it clear exactly what’s going to happen at that meeting. Once you’re in, don’t waste their time: Show what you’re working on and make a conditional ask, whether that means a bite at a fundraise next year or a peek at the position you’re creating with them in mind.
5. Target High-Value Industry Events, If Relevant
Trade shows are expensive and cumbersome. They can — can — also be phenomenal sales tools. Don’t make the investment unless you’re sure it’ll pay off. If and when you do decide to move forward, throw your marketing team at it; there are no half-measures here.
6. Create a Professional-Grade Video Library
Another essential aspect of content marketing: video. The much-maligned “pivot to video” is dead and buried, but that doesn’t mean your prospects and customers have fundamentally rewired their brains to dull responses to quality visual content.
Indeed, your content marketing portfolio isn’t complete without a library of professional-grade videos delivering granular, actionable content for your followers. Key video verticals include how-to instructionals covering specific aspects of your product lineup, troubleshooting clips that (not incidentally) reduce your customer contact team’s workload, and feature or update announcements that clearly and non-advertorially communicate the chances your customers can expect. YouTube is the obvious anchor medium; Facebook is appropriate for cross-posting.
It’s All Part of the Equation
These strategies are all part of an “all of the above” approach to business development. They reach beyond traditional sales to encompass the totality of your business support operations — a truly holistic approach. Here’s to making them happen, come what may.