No matter what your particular specialty, all professional consultants will spend a great deal of their time building lists of targets and referral sources and factoring brokers are no exception. Once lists are created, the work of relationship building begins and though slightly different relationship building methods are often employed for each list category, one common (and important) element used in the relationship building process is “Drip Marketing”.
Typically, the lists you create will be segmented into two broad categories…
- NETWORKS: The lists in this category will be made up of your referral networks or other B2B professionals you have met (such as loan officers, accountants, etc.) that can send business your way
- TARGETS: The lists in this category will be made up of business owners operating in industries that often employ factoring or alternative commercial finance when financing their business
Relationship Building Tools:
Mass Outreach vs. One-On-One Outreach
When building relationships with your targets and network members, you will use two types of outreach…
- MASS OUTREACH: This is a marketing campaign that is impersonal and goes out to every member of a specific group or list. For example, you might send a pertinent case study on how factoring provided the capital for growth for a cash-strapped janitorial service to all members of a list you have created with commercial cleaning and maintenance companies as list members.
- ONE-ON-ONE OUTREACH: One-on-one is a powerful relationship building tool that is personal. It will include…
- EMAIL (once each quarter): Personal one-on-one email specifically targeted to the receiver’s interests. For example, if you have a member of your accountants network that loves fly fishing, sending him or her a personal email with a link to a great article on fly fishing along with a short note will go a long way in building a relationship.
- PHONE (twice per year): A personal call to everyone in a target list or network is essential for building solid relationships. This does not necessarily need to be during business hours. It can also be an after hours call utilizing a voice mail message. It is simply important that the individual hears a voice.
- IN PERSON (once a year): If a referral network member or a target is local, try to personally meet up with them face-to-face at least once a year. This can often be accomplished by attending functions at your local chamber of other business associations where you are both members.
Drip Marketing in the Relationship Building Process
One of the most commonly employed methods of periodically “touching” members of your networks and target groups for mass outreach is called “dripping. Often called drip marketing campaigns, they are primarily made up of a set of pre-written marketing emails that will be sent out automatically to each member of a list on a specific time schedule. Though direct mail and phone marketing can also play an important role in drip marketing, it is the automation of email campaigns that is most association with drip marketing.
In drip marketing automations, one email will typically go out as soon as someone is entered into the system and tagged as a member of a specific list. It will then be followed by another pre-written message automatically perhaps 30 days later, followed by another in 60, 90, 120 etc. Dripping does not eliminate the need for one-on-one outreach, but setting up such automations eliminates the risk that an important “someone” you have met at a networking event subsequently slips through the cracks for follow up and becomes just another lost opportunity for business.
Setting up drip marketing campaigns might seem challenging at first, but actually it’s quite easy and especially when utilizing software specifically designed for the purpose and one such software product is a program simply called Drip.
Replacing Traditional Email Marketing Programs With Drip Marketing
Though factoring brokers utilizing solid direct marketing techniques can develop some level of business by simply being in the right place at the right time, most business development in factoring tends to be based upon “long cycle sales”. You cannot actually sell factoring today to a business owner that does not need it. So the lion’s share of new clients are generated by simply building relationships with business owners over time and when they eventually have a cash flow crisis that factoring can solve, your services can be brought to bear and you will have landed a new client. So one of the keys to building a successful consultancy is to understand long cycle sales and to develop an understanding of which business development tools you can employ to reduce the burden of marketing effectively in such a long cycle environment. Software specifically designed to manage drip marketing is a “star attraction” when designing campaigns to employ and automate many of the tasks associated with relationship building and long cycle sales.
Unlike traditional email marketing programs where you add contacts a series of specifically defines lists, software designed for drip marketing uses only one list and all of your targets and members of your networks are members of that single list. Members of the list are segmented or grouped, however, by assigning “tags” which allows you to target certain actions towards any segment or group. Quality programs designed for drip marketing also utilize “triggers” which are used to start a series of actions. For example, when someone simply signs up on website form to receive a offer, such as a free report or case study, that person is automatically tagged based on the form fields and they will receive their free report as well as other emails you have pre-programmed in that workflow. For factoring consultants, the power of drip email cannot be overstated and those using such programs will soon find the they no longer need more traditional email marketing programs.