Starting a New Sales Job (or Starting Over)

Yesterday, Pete Caputa’s article Sales People Can (and Should) Blog Too prompted me to make a rather long (for me) comment. I was simultaneously having a conversation on LinkedIn about some of the dumb stuff that we do and that resulted in this Homer Simpson-esque article titled 101 Sales/Marketing Mistakes (That I'm Never Gonna Make Again!). Then, this morning, Greg Brown posted an update to LinkedIn titled, 34 Must-Have Tools to Launch your Startup from Idea to Exit.

…and I found myself reflecting on the way I built my business and what I would do differently today. I also found myself thinking about all the Hubspot Partners that I’ve spoken with lately, whose prospects have built their businesses with cold calls (think hedge funds, telemarketers, time shares, credit card consolidators, etc.), networking/referrals (think CPA’s, lawyers, financial advisors, etc.) or trade shows (think home/garden contractors, banks, manufacturers, chamber/association members) and some claim that they do it all plus spend oodles of money on advertising and traditional marketing.

OK, back to what I would do differently today (assuming that I had no money, but was willing to work.)

  1. I’d create and optimize my LinkedIn profile. Then I would:
    1. Connect with my college and/or other school mates
    2. Connect with my past customers, vendors, employers, associates regardless of industry.
    3. Connect with business people and professionals that I know personally rather than professionally (i.e. friends’ or relatives’ relatives that own businesses or work, especially if they sell to your prospects)
    4. My goal would be to connect with people that actually cared about me and thought that I had my act together AND I cared about them and actually thought that they were good at something.
    5. Then, I would subscribe to Google Reader or some other blog aggregator and search for and subscribe to blogs that my ideal customers might read, such as your competitors’ blogs or blogs for other services that your customers might need.
    6. I’d also join groups on LinkedIn that might attract my prospective customers. Think where your ideal prospective customers might go to ask questions, learn about their industry even if they’re not necessarily shopping for your solution.
    7. Attract their attention. Don’t try to sell. Don’t talk about your company. Don’t slam your competition. Attract their attention by finding a blog post or LinkedIn group discussion that you can add value to and make a remarkable comment. Your goal is to get the reader to think, “Wow. This person really has their act together. Who the heck are they?” and to find out, they click on your LinkedIn profile which is right there when you comment on a LinkedIn discussion and is the “website optional” link that you insert when you comment on a blog article.
    8. When the person looks at your LinkedIn profile, you will be notified. Send them a simple InMail, “I noticed that you visited my profile on LinkedIn. What brought you by?” When they reply, your conversation is started. If they don’t reply, forward the email back to them with, “Did you not get this?” or “No reply?” If they reply, your conversation is started. If not, SWSWSWN.

This is Inbound in its purest form. Be where your prospects are. Be remarkable. Nurture.

There are way more than 34 tools out there and I mean no disrespect (especially to Hubspot), but sometimes we’re distracted by the next best thing, when what we really need to do is do something. If you have a question or need help getting started, contact me directly.

Topics: startup sales, sales tools, starting over

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