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07-14-2017 · Business Development,

2 Things Every Professional Education Unit Should Do to Grow Their B2B Pipeline

Design to Click: 5 Email Marketing Tips to Captivate Your Audience

I wrote over 150 hand-written thank you notes from 2012 to 2014.

And after email, the first application I opened every day was Salesforce.

Anyone responsible for building a pipeline of B2B partnerships for their professional education unit should consider doing the same.

My thank-you-writing Salesforce-first habits were developed when I was managing foundation and corporate relations at a higher education and workforce development nonprofit. The organization’s culture was equal parts relationship and data – a yin and yang that drove successful corporate partnerships and accelerated the organization’s scale and impact.

Since pipeline building is the foundation of all predictable, repeatable business growth, here are 2 suggestions for strengthening your and your team’s ability to develop relationships while capturing data that moves your opportunities forward.

  1. Write a hand-written thank you note after any meeting that moves a relationship forward. We’re all saturated in digital communication so the occasional hand-written note stands out. How many notes showed up in your work mailbox over the past year? I bet you’d remember them. Keep it short, authentic, and stick to building a human connection – no “next steps” or action items, ever. Thank them for their time, write a line about something mutual you discovered in the meeting (e.g. you’re both fans of the same football team), and that you’re grateful for the opportunity to be in conversation.
  2. Track important data and to-do’s in your CRM. Within 24 hours of every meeting or call 1) log your notes and 2) create an accompanying task (a time-based reminder to take an action) in your CRM. Note keeping in a CRM can be a hard habit to build, but it’s critical for creating institutional knowledge that helps you now and your organization in the long-term. Make it easy by writing in 1-sentence bullets and submitting in “draft” form. No one’s grading your notes, so don’t overthink it. Most importantly, create a task to take a future action such as “schedule proposal feedback call” by a certain deadline. A rolling list of time-bound tasks is critical to keeping your opportunities moving forward. Without a CRM’s sophisticated ability to capture and connect this data, your ability to make timely context-driven actions will inevitably slip through the cracks – and so will your pipeline.

Best of luck growing your business relationships and happy pipeline building!

How I lived, saw, or experienced one of MindMax’s values this month.
Get Results – Learn Always – Align to Mission – Build Meaningful Relationships – Ask for Help.

Full disclosure: I love, love, love to offer help, and I hate, hate, hate asking for it. At a recent conference, I struggled for nearly an hour to assemble a banner display. After coming to the end of my problem-solving list (including YouTube), I sheepishly approached a fellow vendor for help. His response was so kind and useful (he was familiar with the display type) it reminded me that asking for help isn’t humbling, it’s practical – together, we got the display up in 5 minutes. I only wished I’d asked him sooner!