Did you know that Targeted Account selling is now recognised as the number one approach in lead generation by successful wedding suppliers?
Targeted Account management – or taking a strategic approach towards developing relationships and partnerships with specific companies or industry heavyweights – is being hailed as a game changer in B2B marketing for 2018.
For suppliers, the wedding industry has long been centred on winning customers in the form of engaged couples. And whilst this is still the case, 2017 has seen a surge in wedding professionals choosing to focus more of their time on developing relationships with other wedding suppliers and wedding venues instead.
The benefits of referrals and preferred supplier lists is only really just beginning to be capitalised upon by UK wedding companies.
However the success of these partnering relationships is so significant that we predict business and bookings in 2018 will be driven largely by B2B relationships and targeted account selling and management.
Targeted Account selling is based on you identifying the very best potential customers for your product or service, and then spending time, efforts and resources on targeting that audience with personalised messages and communications.
It’s about being proactive in your approach to securing new wedding bookings rather than being reactive to enquiries that come through to your inbox.
This means building strategic B2B marketing objectives into your marketing plan – be that partnering with wedding venues, forging mutually beneficial referral relationships with other wedding suppliers, spending more time networking and even speaking at events and exhibitions.
Your key accounts will be the ones that generate the most bookings for your business and in accordance with Pareto’s 80:20 rule, you should spend more time (80%) on the smaller proportion of clients (20%) that bring you the most business (80%).
1. Take your time and do your research
Learn as much as you can about local wedding venues and local wedding suppliers.
Do your research before approaching potential partner suppliers and find out who the decision maker is for the wedding venue or organisation you’re approaching.
You should have the name/s of one or two people you want to reach out to when discussing preferred supplier lists and referral agreements – don’t settle for sending a generic email to a generic address.
Swot up on all kinds of information about the wedding pro’s you’re targeting. What have they announced recently on their website? Which events have they attended or sponsored?
The key is to know more about your targets than your competitors do so that you leave a lasting impression and come across as professional, personable and knowledgeable.
2. Be clear and persistent in your communication
If at first you don’t succeed…
Reaching target wedding suppliers and receiving even an initial response may take multiple attempts, and whilst you should persist to get noticed be sure that each communication is clear, simple and focused, not harried.
The content and medium of communication should vary for each attempt you make at contact. Try emailing your target once then following up with a phone call before reverting to another email with new content. If that doesn’t work, perhaps try attending a local event or researching where the wedding venue or supplier may be exhibiting.
Be creative with your communication attempts and develop a system that works for you.
3. Prepare your marketing material in advance
When you hear back from your target account contact they’re likely to want to arrange a meeting with you, and knowing the wedding industry as well as we do, that meeting is likely to take place pretty quickly.
Make sure you’re ready to accept their meeting invitation by pre-preparing marketing materials ahead of time.
Prepare standardised questions that you can tailor to suit each wedding supplier as well as your portfolio of works, and have a think about any referral fees, rates and USP’s you can sell to partner suppliers that might work as an added bonus to them working with you (e.g. a successful blog you own or awards you’ve won that position you as an industry leader).
Wedding suppliers – start building an account list today so that you can focus your sales and marketing efforts in the right place and on the right people in 2018 and beyond.
Target Account selling is a structured, repeatable methodology that enables you to efficiently build a network of distribution channels – that is, suppliers and wedding venues who will market your services to their audiences to help you win more bookings.
This Targeted Account approach will help you reduce marketing costs and rely less on more resource heavy avenues such as online advertising.
Partnerships and referrals are a surefire way to earn the trust of engaged couples and are one of the best ways to win new business in an era of savvy consumers.