An overwhelming sense of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has sent many organizations into flight mode. Decisions to batten down the hatches, freeze spending, and limit activity may seem like the safest choice right now, but will it set up your organization to flourish when things finally turn around?
Traditional B2B sales cycles are long, from six months to year depending on the product, service, and the complexity of the sale. As many businesses pull back—including your direct competitors and customers—what impact will a halt in marketing and engagement have on the sales pipeline in the future? Even if your prospects aren’t buying right now, their pains and aspirations still exist; they’ve just been reprioritized.
There’s an opportunity in every crisis, so now’s the time to stay in the fight.
When budgets resume and business normalizes, who will your prospects remember? They will remember the organizations that stuck with them, stayed in front, continued to foster communication, built trust, and demonstrated value.
The Best Defense is a Smart Offense
Whether you’re maximizing the talent of internal resources or partnering with an outside agency (or both), there are practical and impactful ways to set your business up for success.
Consider the following:
- Do You Really Understand Your Audience? — It’s imperative to know what drives your customers and prospects, how they consume content, and who the decision makers are. If you’re not speaking to what’s important to them, they will turn to someone else. Personas, therefore, are a crucial tool. If you already have personas, revaluate them to determine their accuracy and effectiveness. If you haven’t developed them, now is the time. Here is a free personas template to help guide you.
- Strengthen Your Message — Evaluate patterns and the effectiveness of past marketing efforts and revaluate your messaging. Is it on point? Is it resonating with your personas? Is it reflective of your current company’s services, solutions, products, differentiators, etc. For Minds On, we recently revised our own messaging (vision, drivers, brand story) to continually evolve based on our customer’s needs. This work informs our website, email communication, social posts, etc.
- Stand Out Online — Your website is unquestionably what buyers use to evaluate your company, products, and services—before ever speaking with a sales rep. If done correctly, your website serves as your brand’s ambassador, product/service educator, 24/7 digital sales rep, and customer support specialist. If done poorly, it can be the reason buyers quickly turn to your competitors. For great tips to optimize performance, check out our latest business brief, 7 Imperatives to Driving Business Growth with Your B2B Website.
- Get the Right People the Right Tools at the Right Time — The buyer’s journey involves multiple stakeholders, each with their own needs and preferences for consuming information. Now is a great time to investigate what tools your customers need but don’t have. Commit time and energy toward creating more resources based on learned consumption patterns.
- Look Ahead with Campaigns — Even if you’re not set to launch new campaigns in the near-term, think about the communication you want to share in the future. What new product features will be ready one-to-three months from now? Or, how will your products and services fit in a potentially new business climate? Plan ahead and build the infrastructure now.
- Provide Free Value — In today’s market, we’re seeing companies extending trials or just flat out giving away services for the foreseeable future. While this isn’t sustainable for many companies long-term, when packaged correctly, it is a great way to illustrate your company’s value to potential customers. Always ask the question: “What can we give away for free that provides real, sustainable value and might create a lasting transactional relationship in the future?”
In a time of uncertainty, one thing remains true: for B2B marketing, the seeds we sow today determine the harvest we will collect in the months to come. To learn more about our projects or if we can assist you with a free brainstorm, schedule a meeting or start a chat at MindsOn.com. We’d love to hear from you.