You’ve worked out your B2B strategy to generate prospects for your very ambitious sales quota. You have worked with your sales team to identify the ideal candidates for your company’s products and services. You’ve researched the key buying decision-makers and influencers on the buying committee. There was a time when the next step would clearly have been to spend half your marketing budget on a few key shows for your industry—with pre-show mail, email, booth design and tchotchkes to beg, cajole, and entice these juicy potential buyers to visit your show booth, meet with your sales teams, and engage with your show microsites. Timing was a given. Prospects were at the show to shop, and your team was there to sell. And the power of those face-to-face encounters vaulted over several steps in the sales process of converting a prospect to a warm lead. That was then.
This is now. 2021. Almost post-COVID. This year has changed almost everything about the sales process in business-to-business. Prospecting – and its timing – is particularly challenging, without chance meetings at trade shows, networking events and introductions to your customer’s teammates from other departments when you’re on site for a sales or service call. Now we have “virtual” shows, with “virtual prospects” attending, and salespeople are having Zoom conversations with “virtual opportunities” that often never emerge from the shadow world to become real. So what now?