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by yec

11 Places B2B Startups Can Build Relationships With Potential Customers

Sometimes the best places to find potential customers aren’t the most obvious.

Question: What are some lesser-known places a B2B can start building relationships with potential customers?

Twitter

"Twitter is a great place to organically connect with potential B2B customers. I'm not talking about using Twitter advertising, but rather reaching out to the right people using Twitter search, following relevant hashtags and creating a good list of people to follow in your industry. You can engage in conversations and network quickly and deeply."

Community Business Assoications

"Start where you live. Most communities have active business associations to tap into. Get involved, and give your time and resources to the organization. In turn, get to know the businesses that are members. Business will come as you build trust with them. "

Professional Online Forums

"Social networking platforms with professional online forums, such as StartupNation and LinkedIn, are great places to start building B2B relationships with potential customers. These forums often include questions that your product might solve. Search for relevant questions and add valuable insight to begin your relationship development."

Your School

"I have found alumni groups and university relationships to be an excellent resource for finding potential customers, but don't stop with your alma mater. Encourage your employees to reach out to their school networks, and if necessary, assist them. "

Speaking Engagements

"Speaking at conferences can be a way to share your expertise with a wide range of audiences and foster relationships. If it's done well enough, audience members will be curious about how your expertise can specifically help them. By providing insightful answers, trust and confidence in your offering will increase, which will make attendees more likely to hire you for their organization."

Existing Customer Base

"There's a saying: "Birds of a feather flock together." B2B clients network and associate with professionals in other organizations who could benefit from your product or service. With a proper incentive, your existing customers will provide you with warm introductions to new potential customers, which often results in a higher conversion rate, a faster sale and quality customers."

Quora

"There's a huge community asking questions about all sorts of topics on Quora. Use that as a breeding ground for customer development and potentially your first customers."

Industry News

"One great place to look for B2B leads is in the industry press. When you see an article in your industry's publications that mentions a key executive, it's a great opportunity to reach out to that person via email or LinkedIn to say congratulations about the article feature. Then, segue to a request for a call or meeting. Staying on top of industry news -- from a contact standpoint -- is valuable."

Third-Party Blogs

"It's critical that you employ a solid content strategy when marketing a B2B product these days, especially for SaaS products. Guest contributing to third-party blogs or websites -- especially the blogs or websites that your business decision makers read -- is a great way to engage potential customers. But, be sure to write about topics and answer questions that your potential customers care about."

Face-to-Face Networking

"If you're in the B2B space, relationships are going to be the key to growing your business. Focus on meeting contacts in the B2B industry at in-person events and then building a partnership. And when you do network, make sure you don't just go once. Network often, build your connections, and grow your business. "

Diversity Groups

"If you're a minority-, women- or LGBT-owned business, you can get certified as a diverse supplier. This provides a potential advantage for very large companies. Additionally it provides you with a network of other businesses with founders like yourself, who could make excellent clients."

by yec

11 Places B2B Startups Can Build Relationships With Potential Customers

Sometimes the best places to find potential customers aren’t the most obvious.

Question: What are some lesser-known places a B2B can start building relationships with potential customers?

Twitter

"Twitter is a great place to organically connect with potential B2B customers. I'm not talking about using Twitter advertising, but rather reaching out to the right people using Twitter search, following relevant hashtags and creating a good list of people to follow in your industry. You can engage in conversations and network quickly and deeply."

Community Business Assoications

"Start where you live. Most communities have active business associations to tap into. Get involved, and give your time and resources to the organization. In turn, get to know the businesses that are members. Business will come as you build trust with them. "

Professional Online Forums

"Social networking platforms with professional online forums, such as StartupNation and LinkedIn, are great places to start building B2B relationships with potential customers. These forums often include questions that your product might solve. Search for relevant questions and add valuable insight to begin your relationship development."

Your School

"I have found alumni groups and university relationships to be an excellent resource for finding potential customers, but don't stop with your alma mater. Encourage your employees to reach out to their school networks, and if necessary, assist them. "

Speaking Engagements

"Speaking at conferences can be a way to share your expertise with a wide range of audiences and foster relationships. If it's done well enough, audience members will be curious about how your expertise can specifically help them. By providing insightful answers, trust and confidence in your offering will increase, which will make attendees more likely to hire you for their organization."

Existing Customer Base

"There's a saying: "Birds of a feather flock together." B2B clients network and associate with professionals in other organizations who could benefit from your product or service. With a proper incentive, your existing customers will provide you with warm introductions to new potential customers, which often results in a higher conversion rate, a faster sale and quality customers."

Quora

"There's a huge community asking questions about all sorts of topics on Quora. Use that as a breeding ground for customer development and potentially your first customers."

Industry News

"One great place to look for B2B leads is in the industry press. When you see an article in your industry's publications that mentions a key executive, it's a great opportunity to reach out to that person via email or LinkedIn to say congratulations about the article feature. Then, segue to a request for a call or meeting. Staying on top of industry news -- from a contact standpoint -- is valuable."

Third-Party Blogs

"It's critical that you employ a solid content strategy when marketing a B2B product these days, especially for SaaS products. Guest contributing to third-party blogs or websites -- especially the blogs or websites that your business decision makers read -- is a great way to engage potential customers. But, be sure to write about topics and answer questions that your potential customers care about."

Face-to-Face Networking

"If you're in the B2B space, relationships are going to be the key to growing your business. Focus on meeting contacts in the B2B industry at in-person events and then building a partnership. And when you do network, make sure you don't just go once. Network often, build your connections, and grow your business. "

Diversity Groups

"If you're a minority-, women- or LGBT-owned business, you can get certified as a diverse supplier. This provides a potential advantage for very large companies. Additionally it provides you with a network of other businesses with founders like yourself, who could make excellent clients."

See Also: Why Building a Startup May Be More Fulfilling Than Your Original Dream

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