It’s all in the connections we create.

Be a Mentor to Your Future Customers

by Wendy Sack on October 15, 2015

mentor-10-480x318In the B2B world of industrial manufacturing, sometimes it’s hard to penetrate your target companies; it can be even harder to find the right person to talk to once you’re in. While there are ways to effectively reach seasoned engineers and purchasing agents, right now we’re going to focus on those young men and women who are the future of your customer base: students and young professionals.

What I’m suggesting isn’t really that radical. Simply, become a professional resource and sounding board for someone who is just starting out. In short, become their mentor.

Where to start?

Google is your friend!

For the purpose of this post, I searched Google with the term “student engineering forum.” The key is finding the places where engineering students hang out online. Here are my top results:

  • Top 40 Engineering Forums & Message Boards This is a pretty broad list. The great thing is that it’s broken down by discipline.
  • Engineering Students Reddit feed With almost 50,000 subscribers, this feed on the popular social media platform reddit is extremely active and full of engineering students.  It is “a place for engineering students of any discipline to discuss study methods, get homework help, get job search advice, and find a compassionate ear when you get a 40% on your midterm after studying all night.”
  • Engineering Exchange A very active forum with over 14,000 members from around the world, the Engineering Exchange was “developed for engineers by engineers.” I can endorse this site from personal experience, as in a previous role, most of the engineers I worked with used it.

Leverage industry associations.

Do you belong to any industry associations? Does your company? An easy way to find out about the latter is to reach out to your marketing communications department. Chances are, you have memberships you’re not even aware of, and certainly not taking advantage of. Make a target list of associations and get to work! Why? Most have member-only forums where you can join discussions and foster relationships with those in your industry from all career levels, from students to seasoned veterans.

An excellent example is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Membership gets you access to ASME’s online community, where you can:

  • Share your professional qualifications with tens of thousands of engineers
  • Communicate with our fellow engineers and make professional connections
  • Post relevant articles, photos, video, and more from your personal Dashboard
  • Join Groups for your areas of interest, where you can participate in discussions in Forums, comment on blog posts, and share news in the Activity Feed

Ask your best customers.

I wouldn’t recommend asking all of your customers, only the ones you have the best relationships with. Particularly the younger ones who more apt to network online. What are their go-to sites for industry community? Chances are their answers will not only surprise you, but open up possibilities you never would have found otherwise.

Go back to school.

Most, if not all, universities have alumni associations specific to their different colleges. For example, the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering has its Capstone Engineering Society. These alumni groups can be an invaluable resource for networking with college students and recent graduates. Most universities already have mentoring programs already in place. Like this one from Washington University in St. Louis or these from the University of Minnesota or this one from the University of Pennsylvania.

So check out what your alma mater has to offer!

Head to human resources.

Does your company partner with local universities to recruit graduates? If you’re not sure, pick up the phone and call your HR office. Lots of companies have recruiting campaigns that their employees know nothing about. This is a huge opportunity for you to get connected with upcoming graduates in your area. These graduates could end up working with you, or they could end up working for your customers. Either way, these relationships could prove to be valuable both personally and professionally.


Of course, this isn’t just about grooming future customers.

Mentoring someone is not just beneficial for the mentee. Try it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fulfilling it can be! From a great post on

When you teach something to another person, you discover all of the details that you don’t completely understand yourself.

The bottom line: Take the leap and mentor a student or young professional in your industry. Not only might he or she end up being an integral part of your customer network down the line, you’ll also grow professionally and personally.




image credit: University of Minnesota

image credit: University of Pennsylvania


Connects Marketing Group has launched a new service for prospective clients – the Customer Creation Consultation.

If you are interested in building your B2B business through a robust system of research, qualified lead generation, customer creation and retention, please take a moment to read through how Connects Marketing Group can help. We are now providing free consultations to companies that feel they might benefit from our services. Recipients are under no obligation to Connects for this free service; It is simply our way to demonstrate to you how we can help you reach and exceed your sales goals.

The three-phase consultation process is high-level, designed to provide you with a clear understanding of your current situation, challenges and goals, along with specific recommendations for overcoming those challenges to reach those goals. Our consultation will help you accelerate your sales by identifying strategies to attract new customers and expand the ones you already have.


In this phase, we will conduct an in-depth discovery interview with you to identify your ideal customers and markets, along with your present-day close rates.  We will also explore your current sales and marketing initiatives, pinpoint the results you are looking to achieve and determine the gaps in between.

During this process, we will create for you a Total Customer Profile—a graphic that captures in a single page your key goals, values, challenges and opportunities.


In the second phase, our goal is to help you chart your course and actually begin your journey to greater sales. To do so, we  review your Total Customer Profile, ask clarifying questions and confirm we understand your needs.
Next,  we will provide you with specific recommendations that we believe will help you realize your sales goals and accelerate your sales cycle. Your Recommendations Report  will contain those recommended actions and next steps.

These recommendations may or may not  include utilizing Connects Marketing Group programs. Connects programs are not for everyone. We only invite clients to participate IF we are confident we can have a big impact. If we are not confident that we are a good fit for you, we will suggest alternative programs we know well in the industry.

Mutual Commitment

In the third phase, if we mutually agree that there is a strong basis for us to build a long-term relationship, we will schedule a meeting, called the Mutual Commitment Meeting. This meeting will take place only after you’ve had time to study the written recommendations we offer and review the details of the programs we suggest. It is important for you to collect your questions or concerns about the fit and take time to reflect before the meeting.


We are excited to offer this free consultation and look forward to meeting with you! Please contact us today to get started!

Connects Marketing Group
PO Box 1027
Langley, WA 98260

Click here to read what our clients have to say!


Is Big Data a Big Flop or a Big Win? You Decide.

by Wendy Sack on April 7, 2014

“Big Data is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream almost 20 years ago.” cloud-hoskins(Forbes)

Big Data this. Big Data that. The term has been bouncing around the marketing universe for a few years now, even more so in the last year. But, what IS Big Data? Well, not to be obtuse, but Big Data is just that: big data. It’s data analytics- the collection and examination of information- on steroids. It’s the ginormous sets of data that are created in today’s world of digital and social media. For my own sanity, we’ll just say data for the rest of this post.

This data is coming at B2B marketers harder and faster than ever before. It comes from things like:

  • Your company’s website
  •  Number of visits per month
  • Number of visits per page
  • Names, titles, employers of those who visit your site (if you’re smart enough to have a website member area)
  • Number of minutes someone spends on your site
  • What’s being downloaded
  • Search Engines (Google, etc.)
  • The words that are driving people to your site
  • The most popular search terms in your industry
  • Social Media
  • Number of fans, followers, etc.
  • Analysis of these fans, followers (Who are they? Where are they from? What companies? What industries?)
  • Who’s commenting?
  • What’s being shared?

I could go on and on, but I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re reading this, you know that there are almost unlimited ways that you can gather data on prospects and customers. The question then becomes…what are you doing with all of this information?

Now What?

“Those that use Big Data and analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are 5 – 6 percent higher than those of their peers. McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.” (Forbes)

What you do with your data depends largely on two factors: the size of your data pool and the size of your marketing team, but here are some things that companies of all sizes should consider.

1.      Map your top prospects’ behaviors: Map your prospects by tracking their digital interactions with you. What do they open, click on, link? What pages do they visit? What do they download?

2.      Identify your purchasers, and then branch out: Identify prospective purchasers, and use this as a starting point to map out his or her sphere of influence.

3.      Don’t wait!: If a prospect is nibbling, contact them sooner rather than later. And don’t, under any circumstances, send a generic email. Pick up the phone!

4.      Know the B2B Customer Decision Journey: Contact, nurture and delivery sales-ready prospects to your sales team.

Here’s a real-life example.

Platform: Website

Tool: Online Member Area

Specifics: In order to access e-tools, users are required to register their names, emails, locations and company names. They also have the option to give specific application or industry information.

Result: Company has database of more than 20,000 members, broken down by sign-up date, location and whether or not theses members are current or prospective customers.

For this particular real-world example, the company is a part of a multinational corporation and offers complex e-tools and services targeted at engineers.

Now ask yourself: if this situation existed in your company, how would you go about converting these leads?  Sure, you could set up some sort of automated system where anyone who signed up would receive an email and a kind of ‘we are aware of your interest’ letter.

But what if these leads require immediate action? Do your sales engineers have the resources and time to make that happen? More honestly, do they even care about these leads? Let’s be blunt. A lot of sales engineers are territory-driven, so they don’t want to spend their already stretched-thin time focusing on leads that won’t affect them.

Here’s how Connects can help:

Your new members are downloaded and contacted via phone within 24 hours of registration. Through a well-thought-out conversation based on a pre-determined set of questions, your inbound web leads are qualified (either in OR out) and turned into hot, actionable sales leads ready to be handed off to a sales engineer.

The bottom line: Big Data can almost be overwhelming, but to not have a system in place to take advantage of it is almost a criminal waste of marketing dollars.