21 Ways to Remotely Network in B2B
How do you connect with others?
For something we all do so often, connecting with people can be harder than it sounds. Successful businesses rely on long lasting relationships with not only their customers, but also industry professionals; both competitors and partners alike. We plan around trade shows and seminars worldwide and look forward to the days we can gather and strengthen our friendships. In person networking events can be a driving force for change in any industry when everyone comes together, and we’re having to learn how to do without them this year.
I spoke with these 21 B2B leaders to learn more about how they are networking during a time of crisis.
To know more : https://www.360connect.com/
- Be Open to New Platforms
“Over the past two years, it’s been my job to develop relationships with influencers in the social media space, and be open to whatever possibilities those relationships revealed over time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through that experience it is to be open not just to where the relationship might go, but where it actually takes place as well. You see, while you might prefer Twitter or Instagram, the people you want to network with might prefer Facebook or LinkedIn. If you focus on your own preferred network to the potential exclusion of others, you risk eliminating possibilities that you couldn’t have imagined were waiting for you. My tip therefore is to spend a little time every day on every platform, growing connections and networking with new individuals whenever possible
- Connect through Facebook Groups
“Find Facebook groups that have a lot of people in your niche. Introduce yourself to the community & add people who you vibe with and make sure to connect with the new people that you add
- Industry-Specific Twitter Chats
“I’ve always found Twitter chats to be a great B2B networking resource. Every industry has at least one chat with the best and brightest minds available for easy and fun networking. Since the chats tend to be recurring, you can quickly become friends with many people, and this will lead to in-person meetings at your next industry event. All you have to do is show up at the designated time for that chat (example: #CREChat), answer questions where appropriate, and interact with the other participants. Twitter chats for the remote networking win!” - Matthew Owen, CTO For High Growth Startups
4) Don’t Ask to be Included, Take the Initiative
“Perhaps the single greatest discipline as an “out of sight, out of mind” employee or consultant is asking to be included in every weekly meeting or stand-up of teams you’re not a part of — in rolling one-month cycles. Entering their world on their terms (and on their timetables) fast tracks relationships and pays networking dividends like nothing else.
5) Connect with the Human Beyond the Screen
“Take the time to get to know the human being on the other end of the email, text, direct message, etc. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle, the work, the idea — but remember to also find out about what makes them get up in the morning, what their favorite ice cream is and why, and find ways to laugh together and confide in each other.
6) Build Relationships
“There are resources in relationships! As a speaker, your strongest network is other speakers. Be open to inviting them to connect via LinkedIn! This is where online conferences and virtual events can really be an asset. Whenever I'm invited to participate in a virtual summit, I make a point to reach out to every other speaker on LinkedIn, crafting a custom introduction, where I let them know that we're both speaking at that event and I'd love to connect and support them.
7) Be Passionate and Connect
“The strongest B2B relationships are ones that share a common passion. There’s no better way to hear someone’s passion than in their voice. So, pick up the phone, take time to share your story and hear theirs. This will build a human connection and a foundation for trust.
8) Align with Others
“To build your dreams you need to align your time, energy and efforts with other like-minded people, to become an unstoppable force to grow your business and social value
9) Maintain Your Relationships
“Connecting and getting on that first call is pretty straightforward BUT maintaining relationships and fostering trust is the largest challenge. Aim for a quarterly check-in, jot down the topics you chatted about and put in a date for the next catch-up. Rinse and repeat and time will test the quality and strength of your network.
10) Create Genuine Connections
“Create genuine connections instead of focusing on making sales or seeking to boost your career. In my experience, the most inspiring conversations leading to partnerships were enabled through genuine interest in the person. But networking is not only about establishing but also grooming the relationship and staying in touch. In my previous corporate career, I held a global position for 7 years at a Fortune 100 and ensured I stay connected and establish rapport with my stakeholders through regularly scheduled virtual coffee chats in which we also connect over other (personal) matters than just business
11) forget the Agenda and be Casual
“Unstructured, “no agenda” video chats are my favorite way to un-network. We schedule them for Friday afternoons — when I just can’t “network” or “business” anymore. Sometimes there has been a glass of wine involved (“virtual happy hours”). Here’s the thing: When you DO NOT “network,” you actually relax and just connect. That’s why a surprising amount of actual business results from those “no agenda, un-networking” moments.”
12) Create Opportunities for Collaboration
“I have found the cornerstone of remote networking is to create opportunities for social collaboration. Crowdsourcing content with people you want to network with is a great way to create mutual benefit. The investment in co-creation builds pride and will inspire efforts to make the content successful - a win for everyone involved. This approach has helped me reach nearly 250k B2B network connections and drives much of our business.
13) Connect on a Real Level
“You need to connect to people at a real, human, visceral level. I’ve been working remotely for the past decade, and here are three things I’ve found helpful:
- One: connect via live synchronous media regularly. Ideally this is full video, but at minimum it’s voice. Text in Slack is insufficient. An email can be impersonal. You need to establish real human relationships with colleagues and clients, and that requires real-time communication, ideally “face to face” with video.
- Two: use the medium they prefer. I’ve worked with clients where the best way to connect with the CEO is via Snapchat, while the best way to collaborate with colleagues was Slack, and the best way to do meetings was Hangouts. But, a key contact responded better to email, and for another, SMS was best. So: know what people like and what they’ll respond to, and personalize to them.
- Three: in a related point, you can calculate the strength of your relationships with remote clients and colleagues by how many points of interface you have with them digitally. Is it just Slack, or Slack plus email? Are you also Facebook friends or Twitter connections? Can you also call them on WhatsApp? The more points of connectivity you have, the deeper your connection often is.”
To know more : https://www.360connect.com/
14) Know the Difference between Strong and Weak Ties
“The majority of my consulting business is virtual - both new business creation and ongoing customer relationships. My best tip for B2B businesses that need to build connections virtually is to remember the difference between strong and weak interpersonal ties. Any new connections we make digitally (no matter how targeted they may be) are weak ties until we make an investment in a relationship with that person. I recommend introductory calls, video chats, brainstorming sessions, virtual coffee dates, and other low-pressure, no-sale situations with zero expectations besides getting to know each others’ world, expertise, and goals. Too many of us make superficial outreach (from a Twitter DM to a LinkedIn connection request) expecting the benefits of strong ties.”
15) Leverage Social Platfoms
“B2B has never had more opportunity to connect with their key stakeholders online — remote or not. Linkedin, alone, is a goldmine, if you know how to leverage it. It’s 100 percent worth the cost to invest in their Premium services so you can unlock more opportunities to search, connect and conduct outreach. After that, spend the remainder of your time doing the following: 1) creating helpful and resourceful content (versus blatant product pitching); 2) engaging with prospects in groups and conversations that impact your industry; 3) doing 1:1, personal direct messaging to offer something of value to those in your network.”
16) Connect with Leaders on their Preferred Platforms
“As the founder of an A.I. powered desktop writing platform we constantly shift from B2B to B2C because our resource is for everyone. We have focused on utilizing online communities and forums where B2B leaders often congregate. We know if we can connect with them on a personal level where they're already spending their time we see a direct correlation to more products downloads and more engaged users.”
17) Focus on Meaningful Outreach, Not Only Sales
"We work in A.I. and complex technology, and we work with a wide variety of different businesses and organizations. We’ve created something radically new: a framework for navigation and autonomous behaviors designed for vehicles that move, fly or swim. We identify B2B partners online and work to build relationships. We've found Linkedin allows us a way to connect with people and brands who are interested in what we do. Linkedin offers the ability to search by job role or function and then provide meaningful outreach versus a sales-first introduction."
18) Find Your Audience
“Find industry forums, communities on Reddit, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, or any other place your audience talks shop, then join the conversation. Add valuable information and insights. The networking will happen naturally!”
19) Use Video for Personal Messages
“The best way to network remotely? By using video. Video is one of the most simple, and personal ways to connect online. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or energy. Simply grab your phone to film what you do, explain who you are, or record a personal, one-to-one video message. I’ve helped a ton of businesses get more leads simply by recording a personal video message. Video is by far the best way to connect on a personal level!”
20) Explore Something Different
"Companies should also look at alternative online networking options beyond video hangouts, such as a social virtual reality platform like AltspaceVR or Mozilla’s Hubs. Platforms like these allow users to interact via avatars and also easily join through a browser instead of just solely through a virtual reality headset. Using virtual reality creates a focused, memorable and immersive experience and is an innovative way to hold virtual networking sessions, focus groups, meetups, AMAs or even product launches!"
21) Be Proactive and Engage
“The best way to remotely network in a B2B environment is to actively seek out conversations to engage in. So many people treat social media as a one way street and just dump content onto their feed. Instead of just hoping people engage with my content, I make sure I block off some time each day to proactively look for interesting topics online where I can engage with what others are discussing to build new connections and strengthen existing ones.”
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