Times are not quite yet like business as usual and those in the B2B space are still grappling with social distancing norms, limited staff at the office, layoffs, cancellation of events and shows and lost revenues to cover. But post lockdown, and with the economy slowly opening up, businesses are slowly getting back to their pre-COVID-19 days. It might take a little while, but normalcy will return. For now, for businesses in the B2B space, there needs to be a clear path forward on how they can solidify their marketing and stay engaged with prospects until meetings, networking and events resume like the old days.
Here are a few ideas.
1. Reassess Your Offering
In the past few months, customers’ buying habits have changed and evolved. Hence, now that lockdowns are opening up throughout the world, marketers need to assess the current status quo and learn how they can quickly adapt to the new needs. As marketers, remember that you are the ones who can influence buyers based on how you brand and promote your company’s product or service. For instance:
- You can offer a free trial of your product or service, extend the trial period, offer to upgrade them to a premium service free of cost, help with better delivery of your product, and so on.
- Smaller businesses might have to revamp the way they operate by focusing on the digital space to reach out to the clients through relevant ways such as videos and live streaming discussions.
- The content that you create and share on your website and on social media will also help the buyers to know more about your current offering. Hence, make your content newsworthy and informative while staying sensitive.
With the opening up of the economy, you need to reassess your offering as well. Ask yourself if what you were offering before the pandemic will work now or if you need to make changes. During the lockdown, for instance, there were companies that changed their offering altogether as well – it is not impossible!
- In New Zealand, Good George Brewery began to use some of its facilities to start manufacturing hand sanitizers.
- Gull Service Stations, the fuel company, donated high-quality ethanol to help out when there was a shortage of hand sanitizers.
- Larger companies, too, have been adapting to the changing needs. For instance, Ford has partnered with 3M and GE Healthcare to produce face shields and other protective gears.
2. Show You Care
Care for the Customer
Even if lockdown is over, the prospects are still anxious and are only beginning to take baby steps towards normalcy. Hence, while you brainstorm over how you can make up for the lost time and grow your brand, you also need to come across as a name that is concerned about the customer’s welfare and is there to address their concerns and help them out. So, this is the time when you need to design a brand building campaign that tells the buyers that you are there to support them, educate them, and show them empathy.
- When you reach out to the prospects, you still cannot be overly salesly and think only of profits.
- Read what they are asking about on social media and listen to them when they reach out to you with queries. This will help you to solve their challenges better.
- If you have partnered with any government organizations or other agencies wherein you are helping the community in any way, do talk about it so that prospects know about it.
When you are strategizing on how best you can connect with the audience, know that there is no one right way. For instance, while a live streaming might be beneficial for an important product announcement, you might need to do a one-on-one free consultancy for clients who are facing issues with a product feature. Being agile is the need of the hour. So, your strategies need to be flexible and evolve based on the customer’s needs.
Care for the Employee
There is still likely to be a large part of your workforce who is still working from home. They are bound to go through periods of vulnerability when they feel confused and anxious. As the leader, you need to keep them motivated and you can do this in various ways.
- Communicate with them more often – have calls to decide on the next steps, to strategize, to hear about their issues and find solutions to them, and also to talk to them casually to boost their morale.
- Always inform them of the changes in company policies that are happening.
- Now is the time to be more visible. Hence, you can ask the leaders of your organization to share their expertise and knowledge with the sales team through live video calls on platforms like Zoom and Skype.
- Assure them that they can rely on you and help them and their families in whatever way that you can.
As for those returning to work, you need to assure them that you have made all efforts to sanitise the workspace and taken steps to maintain social distancing.
3. Engage Virtually with Your Prospects
Just because events and shows are yet to begin, it does not mean that you have no other way left to connect and engage with your prospects. There are, in fact, multiple ways that you can recreate events virtually.
- Webinars are the most common form of online engagement.
- You can organize a 360° virtual tour of your facility.
- You can host a virtual summit for a live Q&A session or a speaker event.
- You can host virtual workshops to demonstrate to the clients about your new product or service offering.
4. Generate Leads from Existing Databases and Internally Available Sources
With the end of the lockdown your sales team will slowly get back in the field and meetings will begin once again. However, this will be a little slow in the beginning as people are still figuring out the safe way of working. However, during this period, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find new prospects. Your existing databases and emails is where you need to look to generate new leads!
- If you have been using ScanBizCards, you would already have a ready database of contacts in your CRM. Go through this list to find out contacts who have not been followed up with in recent times or might have been missed out on.
- The ScanBizCards app also has a built-in feature known as Email Signature Capture that helps to auto-capture contacts from your emails. By using this app you will be able to find out new contacts from your email exchanges as well.
5. Improve Your Online Presence
Be More Visible on Social Media
Internet usage increased during the lockdown. While some of it was due to greater viewing of movies on channels like Netflix, a greater part of it was because social media became the most popular way that people were staying connected with one another. Even post lockdown, not all will venture out as the virus is still out there. Normalcy will come, but slowly. Hence, so as to stay connected with your prospects, you should use the various social media channels to communicate more with your prospects.
Overhaul Your Website
Needs and wants of the buyer have changed in the past few months. Thus, what they used to search for earlier on the internet has also altered. Keeping this in mind, you need to change the way that your website looks and feels. For instance:
- Review your content and blog posts and see if they are still talking of the lockdown – change it! With lockdown over, now is the time to have content that is more positive as customers want their lives back on track soon.
- Do a keyword research to find out what prospects are searching for and use that to revamp your website.
The pandemic has had an impact on personal health, on the economy, and on businesses. You need to acknowledge this fact and re-evolve yourself because the way you operate your business is in your hands. Post lockdown, initially it might seem a little daunting to find the correct marketing mix that will get in the profits for you, but don’t panic. Currently you might be operating on a shoestring budget and hence being a little cautious on the next steps, but it is time to rejoice because lockdown days are over. The world is getting back to their feet once again and the time has come to start sketching out the future strategy for your business.