What Matters?

If you have been involved in online marketing in any way over the last 10+ years, you have been fed a steady diet of more. More followers equals more sales. More hits to your website equals more sales. More social media engagement leads to more sales.

Almost nobody would argue that more sales are bad, but people have conflated more with better. I am here to say that better is worth more.

In the Know, Like, and Trust world, we work hard to identify, connect, and maintain relationships with our select audience. I have found that people and companies have faltered in capturing, tracking, and updating data about the people with whom we have already developed relationships.

Companies will use an accounting system or ERP to document customers but often leave tracking prospects, networkers, and non-financial connections to what serves each individual.

Companies may try to systematize by adding tools like Hubspot or Salesforce to capture data. Still, it’s often left up to individuals to update and maintain current interactions and associated data segmentation.

Accounting may be fabulous at segmenting current and past clients or vendors, but is that data being cross-referenced with what’s in your CRM? Who is in charge of that? And why would it be important to them?

The Sales Conundrum

Salespeople and teams are often focused on and fed by leads. A lead is someone identified as a potential customer. A lead can come from buying lists, lead generation services, or inquiries on your website. No matter how you obtain and identify them, a lead is treated as a potential sale (until it’s not).

Many companies will toss leads into a database like Hubspot and soften them for a sales call. If they don’t unsubscribe, then they might be interested. If they pass that test, then they are added to Salesforce and assigned to a salesperson.

From there, it’s up to the salesperson to reach out and start to categorize them as cold, medium, or hot as a prospect. Hot leads get the most attention. Medium leads may be passed down to a CSR or lower-level sales enabler. Cold leads are tossed.

You may consider keeping all of them on the email drip sequence in your marketing program and gauging their interest based on marketing metrics like clicks or opens.

That seems like a good process, but it’s also a lot of work.

In reality, a lead is nothing more than a cold call. The major problem with cold calls is that you have no idea where people are at in the buying process when you call them.

Did they buy what you are selling? Did they change jobs since the lead was identified? Or were they just having a bad day when you reached out and they hung up, unsubscribed, or reported you to the authorities?

Programs like LinkedIn Sales Navigator can provide valuable information about who and what company may be a good fit for your products and services. However, that data assumes that the information each user entered is current, accurate, and viable.

Connection Counteraction

In the world of relationship marketing, sales begin at connection. A connection can come in the form of a follow, a friend request, a connection request, a message, a website form submission, or whatever each platform uses to start, generate, and maintain conversations and relational connections.

In a perfect B2b world, everyone would be on LinkedIn, log in daily (like Facebook), and accept your connection. In the real world, not so much.

On average, people spend less than 20 minutes a week on LinkedIn. Around 50% of people you send a connection request to will accept, even if they are your best friends. Rarely, if ever, will cold connections accept.

You can blame that on people who treat connections like cold calls. They hunt (or even worse, buy) prospects' contact info and direct message them a cold sales pitch.

These people mimic what I call the Connect & Pitch. They connect, wait a specific amount of time, maybe ask a few questions about you and your business, and then pounce.

They try to convince you that a sales call offers mutual benefit. Connect & Pitchers could care less about you and your needs unless you buy from them or can provide them with more hunting leads.

In addition, you are probably one of 100 or 1000 people with the same idea. Then, to add to that, people don’t log into LinkedIn that often (and especially to be sold). Cold calls and connections are just a gazpacho (cold and toxic sales soup).

Convenient Quality Connections

To create great connections, striking when the iron is hot makes sense. If you meet someone at an event or in person, you can whip out your phone, share a QR code from LinkedIn, and ask them to use it to connect.

At the time of this writing, you can go to your mobile device and click search at the top. To the right of the search box is an icon that will open your QR code. Ask anyone to open their camera app and click on the link created.

If you are chatting online or on Zoom, you can message them a link to your profile (mine is https://LinkedIn.com/in/bbasilico). Then, ask them to use the connect button, and they can send you a connection request. Then it’s up to you to confirm that you want to connect.

Remember that connections on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter (X), Instagram, Threads, YouTube, and others are valuable. If you play in those sandboxes, try to connect with the same people you do on LinkedIn.

People tend to log into those platforms daily. Just seeing you (or your content), there may be the spark they need to like your content on LinkedIn. As I mentioned earlier, like is a process. You can do as much or as little as you find valuable or have time.

It’s not about connecting with as many people as possible. It’s about connecting with people who see you and your content at the right time.

The Content Conundrum

No matter how many connections you have and how often you post content, you can’t control who sees it. The platform’s software and algorithms do. Your job is to control what you can and optimize what you can’t.

For the sake of argument, I use 150 as the number of people who will see any content you post on most platforms' timelines. Although there are exceptions, this is a fairly solid number whether you have 100, 1,000, or 10,000 connections. Your and your connections' brains would explode if you saw every post from every connection all the time. It would make social media unusable.

So, to optimize your chances of more people or the right people seeing it, the more platforms you post on, the better the chance of the right person noticing.

It may or may not be directly related to your business. A motivational quote posted on Facebook may spark them to look you up again on LinkedIn and like your company or personal newsletter. The key here is just getting noticed and staying top of mind.

That means you can have fun on Facebook, do business on LinkedIn, and still benefit from both platforms. I have received direct messages on Facebook from a post I made on LinkedIn and vice versa.

If that same person is on your email list, you can increase your chances of being at the right place and time for the right person.

The Connection Content

When you think about it, you would not want your salespeople doing accounting or your accounting people doing sales. Yet companies are searching for a tool, software, or system that does both.

With that said, I think it makes sense to have two systems that are not intertwined. That means that data entered in one system does not automatically enter data in the other.

Tracking connections should be a priority if you want to manage relationships. Your salespeople (even if that's just you) should not be data entry people, yet they should be tasked with updating connection conversations; changes in jobs, companies, and other relative facts should be updated and maintained. The more data is ignored, the less valuable it becomes to individuals and your organization.

I like to use a person as an intermediate, whom I call a CRM (Connection Relationship Manager). This CRM can enter new connections and ensure they are assigned to a specific team or salesperson. They can review newly input conversations, data, or changes and verify the thoroughness or corrections.

A CRM can also help tee up conversations by reaching out to contacts. What they should not be tasked with is conversations. As I said before, you cannot outsource relationships. That activity should be delegated to the contact's salesperson or connection in your company.

The ultimate goal of CRM is to keep relationships and data fresh, usable, and valuable to your business and its people.

The Bottom Line

The main goal is to stay top of mind and maintain a connection so people will see your content, consume it, and hopefully learn something, and then engage in a relationship at the time of their choosing. That is the promise of social media. They do this for free, so people will pay for advertising to do just that!


Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about business-to-business sales and marketing today! Do you have a sales or marketing communications strategy that works for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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