We accept the premise of learning through doing. But when it comes to marketing – learning what? There’s too much to learn. Here I explain why you should put prospecting on your learning shortlist.

It turns out that learning isn’t in nearly as much demand as it could be. Our culture and our systems don’t push us to learn. They push us to conform and to consume instead.
– Seth Godin ((This observation on the nature of learning – versus getting an “education” – comes from Seth Godin

This observation seems to be about learning and education but it’s directly connected to business and marketing.

Because no matter what your ideal client looks like, and no matter how you package and deliver your solution – product, consultation, service – they need to be a learner.

And they’re only going to become a learner because they do something. Or use something. Something you made from your expertise.

Yet our “culture and systems” try to derail our ideal clients from doing and using the things we offer. They might look for so-called “done-for-you” services, even though real change in business is never done for you. Or – more likely – they might commit to doing and using – but not to following through, at least not over a sufficient period of time.

Your marketing challenge as a business owner is identifying who wants to learn by doing – who wants to learn what you or your system or your product will teach them. Finding your best students.

For owners of complex B2B solutions businesses, this starts with “prospecting”.

Take action on this. Your best students don’t live in your head and you don’t what they’re thinking. So we can fire up LinkedIn Sales Navigator or – or some other prospecting tool – and start to find out. 

It’s overwhelming to figure out what to prioritize when it comes to marketing and business development.  How do you follow all the bad marketing advice that slams you like a sledgehammer every time you log on to LinkedIn?

But you don’t have to.

What you do have to do, however, is your own prospecting work.

This is why every one of you should use some sort of prospecting database like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Not have it, use it. 

You have to look at your prospective ideal clients one at a time, person by person, and figure out a way to listen to what they are saying and where they are saying it. 

To deepen your prospecting, you might also try BuzzSumo or SparkToro ((SparkToro hasn’t been released yet but I know it and can recommend it – for some uses cases – because I was a beta tester. I love that you can use it both for advertising and other forms of cold marketing, as well as for content marketing)), which help you quickly figure out what people, media, and publications influence your prospects the most.

You can delegate and even automate prospecting once you have learned it yourself – and learned from it. And yes, you can hire a minimum wage worker to do it for you. But not until you master it yourself.

And even if you delegate it, eventually you’ll want to go back to doing your own prospecting. That’s partly because it’s such a wonderful form of ideation.

  • Content marketing – it will feed your content marketing with ideas.
  • Messaging – it’ll help you figure out how to describe what you do.
  • Solution design – it’ll help you fine-tune your products and services themselves.

Try it – make a list of 20 strangers – and let me know what you learn!

My best,