How to get to the decision makers

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I've been struggling to determine which path I take in my marketing efforts to reach my customers. In simple terms I have a business that offers services to other businesses, and in order to get my customers' (the business owner or manager) attention I was thinking of advertising to their employees instead, in hopes that they will elevate the message to the owner or key decision makers.

I am thinking this is the route to take because I havent found an efficient way to target large groups of business owners who have my desired customer profile. In essence what I'm saying is that it seams easier to advertise to individual people on social media than it is to advertise to business owners. Is there any truth to that statement?

Also, I feel that if an employee is interested in our services and they recommend it to their boss or owner, it would carry more weight than if it came directly from me in the form of a sales pitch letter or other promotional material.

Any thoughts?
 

Edvin

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Hi Steve41,

I'm not sure if my feedback is helpful; but, I figured I'll share my thoughts...

I was thinking of advertising to their employees instead, in hopes that they will elevate the message to the owner or key decision makers....I am thinking this is the route to take because I havent found an efficient way to target large groups of business owners who have my desired customer profile
If you plan to target the employee, then maybe the business owner is not your target customer!
What measures have you used to triangulate and validate that the business owners are indeed your target customers. As you noted; the person writing the check may not necessarily be target customer.
For my perspective business I like pointing a few high profile competitor sites to alexa to get a general sense of my target profiles.
Admittedly, this is far from perfect.

Lets assume 60% of your target customers are male, have you maximized your spending for this gender?
Have you re targeted the same audience multiple times (say 4 to 7 times)?

You are talking about B2B marketing; so, this isn't anything new.
I'm not familiar with health/wellness industry; but, have you looked at your competitor marketing strategy on social media and online ad campaigns. For example, SpyFu can provide insight on PPC campaigns. Third party services like demandbase can target companies that match specific profile data.

I personally have called business owners (not in my region) and asked them directly (during my franchise research).

Have you tried getting email database list and sending email promotions?

Holding a booth in industry trade-show might be helpful. If you're lucky, some competitors will list the trade-shows that they attend. Otherwise, you'll have to lookup past exhibitors in different trade-shows to see where competitors attend.

While searching for business-property-insurance I was contact by several brokers, which they got my information from a site that I registered with; so, you might be able to subscribe to such lead-based services as well.
 

Small to Feds

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#4
In my recent experience helping many small services contractors, social networking can definitely enhance your marketing and increase exposure to the employee target groups you have in mind. Here are some tips to an approach that works well: SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING ("Smalltofeds"): Why Social Network To Promote Your Small Business?

However, profiling specific high value clients and finding out their value drivers is key. Social networking is invaluable in finding these clients but the task then becomes one of getting past the "Gatekeepers" Purchasing Agents and others with no clout and landing your pitch in the lap of the decision maker.

That takes market research right down to the org chart and then a value driven pitch: SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING ("Smalltofeds"): “VALUE-BASED” MARKETING TECHNIQUES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Combine social networking with market research and a value-based marketing approach to meet your goals.
 

VirtualGlobalPhone

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@Steve41 ; Interesting area of discussion.

Few pointers and statistics may help you to venture this and spend some hard earned money.

1. How many employers listen and take things seriously of employee.
2. How many employer have time to listen outside of business.
3. If you want to target the employer ; want employee to use and talk, so is the product for employer or employee.
If its for employee than employer may not be interested at all.
4. The value of the service / product is important. The employers are usually very serious and know the HOW'S, so they may squash out before even it comes towards them.

Take a look at all these and re-address / debate.
 
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To answer your question on who is the service for, it is for both really. Our service will help the employees get healthier which is a valuable to them, but also it will benefit the employer who will benefit from having healthier employees (more energy, alertness, focus, endurance etc.). The invoice will be sent to the employer, which is why I figured was my target customer but I'm thinking now that I target both employees and employers and see which one gets more leads.
 

Edvin

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I'm thinking now that I target both employees and employers and see which one gets more leads.
I'm not so sure if employees are your target audience...then again, there is no substitute for experiment and I highly encourage it for avoiding HiPPO effect.

If you are targeting small businesses (i.e. 30 employees); then, you are targeting the business owners; but, at some treas-hold your decision maker shifts. For example, Director or VP of Human Resources will be your target decision maker for larger organizations.
Attending local job fairs might be a way of initiating a dialog with the HR team.
Participating in HR conferences and experimenting with creative ads for HR related searches could provide another marketing channel.
You may also consider buying contact database of your target audience to send email offers, send post cards, and maybe even try sales call services to increase your reach.

Yes, I did say post cards;) I don't remember last time I got a post card in office; so, the recipient may glance over the ad.
You have a limited marketing budget; so, divide your mailing budget by 6 and send a postcard to the same people for the next 3-6 months (and maybe sending emails in between).
 
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#8
At this point it's all about providing as much value as you can up front, for free.
 
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My idea for this is a little "Out of the Box" but I have seen it work. It also takes a little work but I find it is well worth it.

Turn on your phone or mic on your computer and start talking about your expertise. This expertise is obviously what your business does. For example, if you teach accountants how to thrive post April 15th, just talk about that. Now how long do you talk? No real guide, but long enough to get the crux of your expertise out.

Next, take the recording and upload it to Rev who will transcribe it. Then go to either Fiverr or 99designs and get a book cover designed for it.

Next, use a Print on Demand Publisher for the book. I recommend Ingram Spark because they put your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and more. You can also use Createspace which is the Amazon publisher.

Once your book is launched, order a copy from Amazon and send it as a gift to your prospect with a note which you can use to sell your prospect.

Example: "I thought my book will help you with XXX. You can find the details on page YYY."

This works like a charm when done properly.

There is definitely some work to this, but you do the majority 1 time and can do it over and over and over...
 

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...There is definitely some work to this...
I like the idea; but, I am skeptical for the amount of time/value required to get the book published as appose to putting your energy in another form of sales/marketing tactic. It would be great if anyone can share specific insight/experience on this strategy.
 
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I like the idea; but, I am skeptical for the amount of time/value required to get the book published as appose to putting your energy in another form of sales/marketing tactic. It would be great if anyone can share specific insight/experience on this strategy.
There is a cost benefit analysis to be done. My take is, if you are in a long term business, it is worth it IMHO. An Amazon package always gets through a gatekeeper and it positions you as an authority in your field. Itis a win-win.
 

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