As mentioned in our previous post, What if the Sales Funnel was Shaped Differently, a salesperson who is building relationships and leveraging communities, continually looking for opportunities to win referrals will (on average) experience a 63% win-rate (Source: Sales Benchmark Index). Sure, there are many ways to go after prospects, but the image below demonstrates how referrals far outperform any other lead source or channel:
The conversion rate for referrals is 2x of any other source of B2B leads.
Leveraging the communities of your partners and buyers’ peers will take more time and intentional communication than investing in other channels, (such as email campaigns or tradeshows) but it will produce more qualified leads. Working toward engaging qualified leads will save you from hours of wasted time, filling the top of your funnel with thousands of unqualified leads.
84% of B2B decision-makers start their hunt using referrals. (Source: American Association of Inside Sales Professionals)
The first step toward going after referrals is understanding where your buyers are turning for insight. See image below:
The second step is learning how to engage these influencers. To begin building relationships with referrals, it is essential to understand where your buyers are hanging out. Start to engage them, connect, be personal and always be genuine—looking to build a relationship with no strings attached.
Here are a few simple ideas:
- Use LinkedIn to congratulate them a promotion or new job
- Drop them a note if you are going to be in town
- Share relevant industry/role-based insights
- Host a buyer panel online or within their relevant community
Build relationships and SERVE others— this will lead to referrals, which will lead to closed deals.
Embrace this new strategy, and allow yourself and your team freedom from finding an unnecessary amount of leads. Sell smarter, not harder.