"You never know where you'll meet your next customer. You could be on a plane, in line for coffee or leaving a meeting with another prospect," says Mary Miller in an article at Target Marketing. The beauty of today's B2B marketing world, she adds, is that "the flight or coffee shop could just as easily be Twitter, Facebook or some other marketing channel."

To help B2B marketers better target prospects in these fast-moving times, Miller offers four steps for nurturing a personalized B2B relationship in just about any circumstance. Here's a quick synopsis.

  1. Take it slow. If you exchange business cards, swap emails or connect with someone on LinkedIn, add that contact information to your marketing database, Miller advises. Learn—and record—a bit more with each contact.
  2. Compile data wisely. Work to acquire information such as "areas of the business each [person] is responsible for—or better yet, the things they have authority to purchase—and fill in the blanks," she advises.
  3. Contact them on their terms. Refer to your data to better target your messages. Ask for the prospect's preferred method of contact, and respect it. Whether prospects buy from you "depends on how you treat them," she says.
  4. Know when to close the deal. Don't think it's a "done deal" just because a prospect is engaged with your brand online, Miller cautions: "Remember, that prospect could have had similar experiences with your competitors." She recommends that you instead rely on the targeted data you've collected to judge where that prospect is in the buying cycle—and proceed accordingly.

The Po!nt: To serve them well, know them well. Now more than ever, the key to nurturing B2B prospects lies in gathering detailed data to ensure each contact is personalized and pertinent.

Source: Target Marketing.

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