Gaining the attention of buyers in a noisy marketplace can seem impossible. Sure, it may be easy to fill the pipeline, but are you having a hard time converting those leads to wins? As discussed in one of our previous posts, the old strategy of filling the pipeline just isn’t the smartest method anymore.
Investing in qualified leads will pay off much more than just filling the funnel. I’m guessing this isn’t a new idea for you, but maybe you are curious how you are supposed to go about finding these qualified leads.
Finding quality leads starts with learning more about your customer and prospective customer. The more knowledge you have about them, the better prepared you are to execute marketing campaigns that will effectively engage them. Your sales execution will also be much more successful as you add value for them.
One of the more creative approaches being employed is engaging a referral or buyer panel. In addition to enhancing your knowledge of the marketplace, these panels can help grow your referral base and build relationships with potential buyers, if executed effectively. Panels are a great way to ask questions and receive insight you might not capture in a conversation. They also position you and your sales team as a resource for a panel member’s future needs.
84% of B2B decision-makers start their hunt using referrals. (Source: American Association of Inside Sales Professionals)
How to Hold a Referral Panel
A great way to make new connections and become a referred source is engaging the external parties that have the ear of your buyers.
- WHO do you invite? Vendors and trusted partners of your target buyer (e.g. accountants, lawyers, bankers, associations/affinity groups).
- HOW do you reach out/engage: Be part of the community in which these partners operate, and find ways to add value in their “watering holes.” As you get to know them, ask them out to an informal coffee/lunch. Make the invitation about them, getting to know them and helping serve their needs.
- WHAT is their incentive for engaging with you: They can learn more about value they can bring (directly or indirectly) to their client(s).
- WHY hold this panel: Building these relationships will put you and your team at the forefront of their mind when they are talking to your potential buyers.
(Check out the rest of this post on our blog for How to Hold a Buyer Panel)