We’ve been working a lot with clients recently applying a digital first approach to territory growth and global expansion.

Creating digital expansion plans that are founded on data and results that the management team, the board, the Private equity backers, and the bank can all understand and get behind…

Whilst many have hunkered down, waiting for a sense of ‘normal’ to return, other have been working on growth. Preparing the ground for expansion and taking steps to build the digital foundations to support this.

Thinking back to how we did this in the past, its so different to how we do it now.

A trip back in Business Development history....

Back then, we had enough of an idea that there was an industry that was of use to us in a specific location.

We would access lists and perhaps buy reports of sectors and organisations that might be interesting to us in a particular country or region. We might even have someone do some digging and produce an internal report using google and perhaps some friendly people in country.

We decided to run a series of discovery visits.

We would call and email around direct targets, indirect info sources, agents, suppliers and see if we could set up enough meeting for a 1- or 2-week visit.

We would arrive in country, travel around the different buildings meeting with people and soaking up information for our new territory report, remembering not to get too annoyed when that big meeting is cancelled with 3 hours to go…

We get back to home base, distil all our findings into a report and make a presentation and present to the board. We got a bit of push-pull on the numbers but, eventually the board gave their blessing to spend some money, whilst reinforcing that there must be favourable results…

We were off, bring on the air miles...!

the business lounge....

We set up meetings with prospects in country and before long were we talking to prospects about their needs and explaining how we might help.  The tri-fold brochures, the PowerPoint slides, the case study documents, and business cards were flying across conference across tables…. we were on fire!

Within a few months we were feeding back to the board that we were on bid lists and expecting major tenders…we really need to be thinking seriously about people and kit in country!

Today we know that it’s all change. 

How do we create a new territory plan today and what does it look like?

It looks digital…it looks like giving your team all the digital skills they need to prospect, network, build relationships and move to commercial interaction from anywhere in the world, at scale - and it tastes like getting this all in place before your competition get the advantage.

Travel may come back as it was, but we can’t bank on it. Even then, will people want you in their offices?

Where do we start...?

We start by understanding the key to this is building a digital dominance within a sector and geographies. This isn’t achieved with ‘tinkering around with LinkedIn’, this is about Strategic Social Media to drive business growth. 

You get your team trained in Social Selling & Influence, they have optimised profiles and understand how to grow our networks and engage in conversation.

We carve out target verticals, sectors, and target accounts and set a digital strategy for each.

Growing a meaningful network in Region

We design a Social Media connection plan for each region that covers buyers, influencers and people who can amplify our messages within those target accounts and territories.

A common mistake is that people only connect with people they know that are buyers – we need to think strategically here and bring in those influencers and people who can amplify our message into our network. 

These influencers and amplifiers may well be out with the account but, are related and useful for us such as, local government, regulators, or industry representatives.

Being where your regional prospects are

Look for the right groups to join. When you look at key target’s profiles in country, look at what groups they belong to and join them. Now, all the activity this group sees will come into your news feed. You can also post content into this group to increase your visibility.

You can see the members of the group and connect with those of interest.

Hashtags are important. Find the Hashtags that are relevant to your target country, industry, sector, and companies - follow them and start to use the tags. Now, all of your content that you tag will be delivered directly to relevant in country, industry, sector and company targets.

If you do this well and do it consistently, interaction and network growth will come quickly, and you will be having conversations you would never have had by any other means.

Social Selling & Influence is about having more conversations, not less…

Content planning

Now you have a meaningful network growing in those target account in your new geography, you can start to produce content specifically for them.

  • Writing posts about how you’ve worked there before on that big project.
  • Producing blogs about how you have taken your business in to other countries and how well it went.
  • Creating video that is related to what you do and how you rise to challenges – not just showing your stuff and saying, “contact me for information”.

Hashtag all of this with the tags you know your audience within that region are following.

This can be further turbo charged with tools such as Sales Navigator which gives advanced leads and company search capability, enhanced lead recommendations and CRM integration, allowing you to find the right people faster, keep track of lead and company changes easier and, enhance reach and engagement with prospects.

Of course, this is just a short chat on how its done. The real gold comes out when we start to work on it for real…

Your competition may be sitting around, waiting for travel to come back and meetings to start again or, they might be off and running ahead of you. 

In the roaring 2020’s, its important your team have all the digital skills they need to be able to network, prospect, develop and close business all online. 

They need to be better at all of this than your competition…

Live Social ‘21

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite