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ALF Insights

14 Feb 2024

The importance of networking in B2B Sales in the Advertising, Marketing & Media Industry

Natalie Fedden
Whether you’re attending your first ever networking event or you’re a seasoned veteran who’s looking to sharpen their skills, we’ve put together a guide to why networking is so important in B2B sales and marketing, our top 5 tips to action on the day, and suggestions of where you can network in the advertising and marketing industry.

Don’t forget, networking not only increases new business opportunities, it also nurtures customer relationships, boosts confidence, establishes your personal band and enhances your career development. Sound good? Read on to find out more…

The importance of networking in B2B sales & marketing

  • Speak directly to decision-makers. You’ll gain valuable insight into their buying potential, saving a tonne of time and guesswork associated with unanswered calls or emails, resulting in more effective pitching. Face to face interactions allow for a better understanding of them as a person and the best way to approach them going forward. You can build stronger relationships by engaging on the content and experience of the event, not just a one-track sales call. You’ll more likely to be remembered by that prospect in a year’s time, than your name at the end of phone call or email.
  • Establish trust and credibility with potential clients. People buy from people even in B2B relationships, so buyers want to know they are investing in someone who they can rely on. By approaching potential buyers at networking events, you have the opportunity to show your credibility and build trust. They are more likely to proactively reach out to you, whether to purchase your services or for assistance once they have signed on as a customer.
  • Nurturing Relationships & Referrals. Even when you don’t expect it, you’re likely to bump into a few existing contacts at networking events. Knowing a few people already on the ground can help boost your credibility in group settings because these contacts can vouch for you. Even better, invite along an existing client. If they advocate for you and your product/service is in front of other potential customers – that’s a win-win – touching base with your current customers and piquing the interest of prospects.
  • Partnerships. If you’re attending an event, the likelihood is your peers and competitors are too. Don’t take giving away trade secrets to your direct competitors but get talking to businesses with a similar audience to your own. It could open up opportunities to collaborate and ultimately bring in new business. Partnerships are a great marketing tool to help reach a wider audience and to speak to an already engaged audience.
  • Industry Insights. Although some networking events get straight to the point like speed dating meetings, other will be centred around content. Networking events can give you crucial insights into the what’s going on in the industry including trends, competitor analysis and emerging behaviours or technologies. All of this information can help bolster or refresh your sales pitch. It’s so important to be knowledgeable about your industry. Staying relevant builds credibility in your conversations with customers, showing you allocate time and effort to learn about the wider sector, suggests you’d also pay as much care and attention to your customers, ensuring their business needs are met.
  • Feedback. It’s constructive and beneficial to hear current, ex or potential clients view of your product or business. Yes, it’s a boost to hear them say great things, but even more valuable could be the criticisms or suggestions for improvements. This can be fed back to your team so that overall sales/marketing/user experience efforts can be improved, and therefore benefit your selling in the long run.

  • Keep Building Your Personal Brand. Participating in networking will help boost your industry connections, and your ongoing presence at such events will help people remember you. This can open opportunities within new business, but also to help develop your career, from opportunities to speak at future events or even job opportunities. Networking helps add credibility to your personal brand – by showing up it shows you value your role within the industry.

  • Establishing a support network & perhaps make a new friend! Sales and marketing can be hard. Find allies in your industry who you can go to for advice, inspiration or even mentorship. Networking’s real value often comes to fruition far beyond the deal. And remember B2B buyers are just like everyone else, they are not an intangible entity. Behind the job title and decision-making responsibility, B2B buyers are just human beings. Yes, everyone wants to have successful outcomes from networking events so be professional and don’t lose sight of your business objectives, but don’t forget to be yourself.


ALF’s 5 Top Tips for Successful B2B Networking

  • Define your objectives and practice your elevator pitch.

What do you want to achieve from this event? Set achievable goals. By elevator pitch we don’t mean your sales pitch. You could be introducing yourself to a lot of people on the spot – Try and sum up who you are, what you do and why you’re there in a neat sentence or two – it’ll help you appear clear and confident at first impression.

  • Bring your business cards, engage with the event app or connect on LinkedIn!

Don’t waste a valuable connection by leaving without a way to contact. If it’s a busy event remember to make notes on each of your conversations. Whether it’s notes on your phone or old-fashioned scribbles on the back of business cards - find a system that works for you.

  • Be Genuine.

Build authenticity and make genuine connections that will benefit both parties in the long-term. Always offer to introduce people to others in your network, to help establish worthy connections. Don’t gatekeep knowledge – share tips and insights that will help boost your credibility.

  • Don’t go for the hard sell.

Depending on the event, people may not be in the frame of mind to listen to an in-depth pitch, they’re just there for the content. Listen to your prospects’ needs and take a genuine interest in what keeps them up at night. Then offer how you can work with them to achieve their goals and make sure to follow up.

  • Follow Up!

Always follow up with your new and existing connections after the event – an email or LinkedIn message will do. Also, be sure to post about the event on your personal LinkedIn to build your personal brand and reputation.


What networking opportunities does ALF offer?

The ALF Awards – Join us on 1 May 2024 to celebrate your peers in the business development world get inspired through an insight into great sales & marketing work taking place across the sector, and network with your industry counterparts.

Networking events with our partners – ALF is proud to be affiliated with MADFest, the BD100, BIMA, Pimento and Agency Hackers; all experts in helping sales and marketers grow through a calendar of events with opportunities to network.

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