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