Let me ask you a question… “How long have you been in business?” Two years? Five years? Ten or more?
Now, my follow-up question… “In all those years in business, how many clients and prospective clients have you come in contact with… responded to their inquiries, met at conferences, submitted bids or done projects for?” Hundreds? Maybe thousands?
What that says to me is that somewhere in your organization – captured in a CRM, listed on a spreadsheet or collected on business cards wrapped in a rubber band – you’ve got the names, phone numbers and email address of hundreds (or thousands?) of potential clients.
So, what are you doing with those names? How are you engaging them? What’s your plan for staying on their radar so that when they need to send out an RFP – they think of you?
If you’re like most firms… you probably don’t have a plan. You might be sending out an occasional e-newsletter and that’s about it. But if you want to leverage the relationship that you clearly had with them at one time, you need to put in place an on-going initiative that re-engages them, provides value at some level and repositions your firm as a go-to resource for them.
Good news! There are four relatively inexpensive tools are your disposal that provide the backbone of a database nurturing initiative.
Phone calls: Schedule regular calls with your leads – not so much to ‘sell’ but to build relationships… to keep your company top-of-mind. Talk about their needs and pain points. Share articles and white papers you’ve written. Invite them to a webinar you’re giving. Gather additional data about the company and the contact. Let them know you’re there when they need you. Frequency? You’ll figure it out based on responses, but every-other-month would be a good place to start.
Email: Yes, that old standby. And still one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to keep in touch, build awareness, position your firm and soft-sell your leads. Always link back to your website and blog. Integrate your social media sites. And invest in a commercial platform that provides integrated metrics. Most importantly, create a schedule… and stick to it.
Social Media: OK, not exactly targeted to a defined list of leads, but make sure you’re sharing your message and engaging in dialogue in those places where your database contacts would go; this could include:
- On Twitter, when they search #mrx or other appropriate ‘hashtags’
- In targeted LinkedIn groups
- On popular industry blogs
- On industry portals, like quirks.com or researchvibes.com
Your content: As alluded to above, one of the best ways to re-engage old contacts is to provide them something of value… something that can help them to do their job better. That is, great content. Nothing will open up dialogue like a really good article, white paper, case study, eBook, video series or awesome blog posts. And there should be nothing ‘salesy’ about them – just good information, well presented.
The names in your database are ‘cold’ from inactivity… take the initiative to put a plan in place to warm them up – to re-engage them and re-start a business relationship. Do that, and you’ll provide your firm with a strong competitive advantage. You just need to open your eyes.