In B-to-B, the predominant use of Virtual Tradeshows (VTS) is in generating net new leads to fuel a sales pipeline. I urge B-to-B marketers to dig deeper with your existing customer base. After all, the customer that you know is more valuable than the sales prospect that you don’t. Especially in this economic environment – I believe you can drive more business from existing customers than you can from generating brand new leads and trying to convert them into sales.
Ask yourself the simple question – how well do I really know my customers? Or, perhaps ask a slightly harder question – how well do I understand my customers’ challenges today (vs. the challenges that existed when they purchased my product)? I’d argue that now is different from then, especially in the IT space, where the rate of change is high.
So the approach is simple. Get deeper penetration with your customers, drive deeper relationships and serve them better. If you can hear and understand their challenges today, you can help them address these challenges (with your products and services). You end up with customers who are happier and they end up buying more products and services from you.
How can you accomplish this these days? Online. Imagine coordinating an online event where Sales, Sales Engineering, Product Development and your executive team can convene online and connect with customers, customers, customers. You can efficiently “publish” shiny new product guides, troubleshooting guides, case studies, etc. And, you can interact with customers via private chat, group chat, the networking lounge, etc. Of course, all those interactions are recorded, so it’s important to meet with your internal teams post-event and make sense of the collective input you received. Then, act on it.
Go into such an event with two simple goals:
- I want to hear from my customers
- I want my customers to hear from me about products and services that they were not aware I provided
There’s also a win-win scenario that you could go for – floor a Custom Virtual Tradeshow that serves the dual purpose of generating net new sales leads and invite your customer base in. Your content (and your people) provides information that is useful to both constituencies. Prospects want to learn about your latest products and services – and I bet some of your customers do as well.
So go off and serve those customers – they’ll thank you for it in more ways than one.
Great idea. I think we always underestimate the ways we can expand sales to existing customers and expand our product line.
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