We’re now in the second half of 2020. The pandemic has certainly resulted in changes in the behavior of customers, and impacted most businesses in some way or the other in terms of sales, revenues, human resources and more. It has made companies think about what they can do to deal with uncertainties in their business and the ecosystem surrounding them. For instance, marketers have been making changes to their marketing budgets and re-evaluating their approaches and channels through which they reach out to their audience — whether in B2B or B2C scenarios.
The way the world is today is different, and there is no particular “the best way” to deal with the new normal. The need of the hour is to use insights and data to develop new, cost-effective, and creative strategies that take into consideration the new norms of changed spending habits, social distancing, working from home and so on.
So, what are the lessons for sales and marketing teams and how can they learn from 2020 so far to prepare themselves to grow their business and stay competitive? Read on, as we share our perspective.
1. Quickly Develop New Marketing Strategies, and Products / Services to Support Them
The greatest lesson to be learned is to be both reactive and proactive.
- As customers’ behavior keeps evolving, marketers must develop new strategies that meet the customers’ expectations.
- Trends can be hard to predict and you won’t know it all until you’re right in the middle of it. Marketers need to be quick to identify emerging trends, detect irregularities, and also know when a particular trend is on the decline.
- As their companies’ brand representatives, marketers must be quick to realize that a certain change needs to be brought in, and must act quickly – agility is the need of the hour.
SalesIntel, a B2B contact data intelligence company quickly adapted to the changes in the market and came up with a solution that truly solves its clients’ challenge in current times. The company now offers remote work location data to meet the current need of the market.
We at ScanBizCards are helping our clients with new ways to generate B2B leads, especially because of the impact the pandemic has had on the B2B events industry, limiting opportunities for lead generation from marketing events. We have optimized features such as Email Signature Capture and Human Transcription – allowing our users to discover new leads from their email threads, and clear their backlogs of business cards leads though bulk scan and export, keeping the CRM updated. We get great feedback from our users on how they’re able to manage their leads and close more deals.
This is the time when you should focus on developing your brand image for the long run – right from your email campaigns through which you target your prospects, to analyzing your content and your advertising, to how you will better engage those who visit your website.
- With limited opportunities for physical networking, meetings, events and so on, sales and marketing teams are increasingly relying on digital channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and digital advertising. Companies now allocate more of their marketing spend on the digital channels.
- Whether it’s B2B or B2C markets, with more time at hand while staying at home, your prospects are wanting to discover new and exciting brands. Hence, positioning yourself ahead of competition and creating a distinct value proposition is now all the more important to stay relevant. This might mean making changes in your offerings, pricing, and so on. It is also a great time to do sustainable branding. For instance, Starbucks in the USA has been serving free coffee to front-line COVID responders. Salesforce has been helping businesses throughout the pandemic with productivity solutions tailored to meet the current needs of businesses.
2. Build the Right Story to Tell
At a time like this, when you can reach out to them with positivity and reassurance, if you choose to remain silent or not alter the message that you are communicating to the audience, then you will surely be losing out on sales. This is when you need to be attentive to the customers’ needs and be sensitive to their demands. The story that you thus tell them needs to be entertaining, truthful and yet an emotional one.
- Instead of trying to hard sell with your message, try the soft sell approach as the former can get you labelled as aggressive. Also, you should focus on the right ICPs (Ideal Customer Profiles) rather than trying to sell your product to companies or individuals who currently don’t fit the criteria. A buyer is one who has the need, buying intent, and the budget for what you offer and is actively searching for that product.
- If you are taking steps to protect the health of your employees, then add that to your marketing message. Let customers know that you care for the well being of everyone.
- Be flexible with your customers. For instance, don’t penalize them in case of delayed payments, offer attractive deals and refunds, and others. This will give out the message that you are here to reassure them, thus helping to build a stronger sales funnel and better brand value.
In an exceptional situation such as this, brands that make customers feel assured and safe do well and stay relevant in the minds of the consumers.
3. Think Creatively — More Than Ever Now
Many businesses experienced a slow down during the pandemic. If you have too, now is when you need to experiment with new tools, new ways of advertising, and new types of content. These don’t need to be expensive but it might mean that you will have to train your staff into thinking differently. For example:
- A study done by GlobalWebIndex revealed people are listening to more podcasts.
- Now that events and shows are few, webinars have been steadily gaining popularity.
- You should also reach out to your customers informally. With gatherings and events still not happening, many are starving for engagement and connection. So, the more you reach out to your prospects, the more you will be building on a relationship with them in the long run. For example, the Zoom video conferencing app has become quite popular lately.
4. Keep Your CRM and Contact Database Updated
You are probably still unable to meet all prospects during this pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep in touch with them. Have a centralized database where the contact details of all your prospects are stored. This will help you to know who needs to be reached out to, where each is in the sales funnel, which mode of communication does each prefer, and others. For example:
5. Collaborate with Others
You may be a big brand, but that does not mean that you are infallible. You may also be a small brand, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot be relevant and deliver value. Things have changed and most businesses are looking at ways to adapt to the new normal. One such way is to develop a collaborative approach. This could involve collaborations with other brands, PR companies, e-commerce platforms, your existing clients, and others. For example, CRM companies are doing joint webinars with other complimentary service and product companies in the ecosystem such as agencies, digital advertising platforms, and so on.
The impact of COVID-19 is not here to stay forever – business will resume, and things will get back to normal. However, it may still take time for things to be just the way they were before 2020. So, don’t get impatient if conversions are not happening quickly. Mental toughness is what the current situation demands. Hence, stay optimistic and keep following the right methods to build on your brand equity.