B2B Marketing Strategies for Uncertain Times
During the coronavirus pandemic, business-to-business organization are struggling to drive sustained growth.
Based on a TOPO survey that analyzed the effect of Covid-19 on B2B sales, more than half of 400 respondents said that buyers working from home had a negative impact on their ability to create a pipeline.
During this time, B2B leaders must recalibrate as they reassess campaigns, budget allocation, and expectations. Consider these strategies as you navigate this crisis to a new marketing strategy.
Focus your limited resources on companies that are most likely to do business with you with an account-based strategy. Digital content noise is getting louder as companies ramp up to reach buyers working from home. Rather that waiting for buyers to find you, prioritize outreach to the right people on high-value accounts.
For a successfully orchestrated, account-based approach, you’ll need the right target account list. Consider the value of the account as well as the ease of selling to them. To build that list, marketing should work in lockstep with sales, and weigh several factors, including:
• Company characteristics (e.g., size, industry, number of locations)
• Their current use of technology (or complementary solutions to yours)
• Engagement (such as past sales into the account and how engaged they are with your marketing efforts now)
• Intent data (i.e., if they are actively looking for solutions like yours)
Note: Don’t overthink it. Good is better than perfect when you’re just beginning with an account-based approach.
Market to The People You Know
Now is the time to focus on the people already in your database. Reach out to them with relevant information and messaging that can truly help them.
Let Insights Guide Relevant Outreach
It’s truer now than ever: “People don’t hate buying; they hate to be sold to.” It’s essential that your sales efforts do not ignore the reality of the current crisis. Now is not the time to pretend it’s “business as usual” for all your target accounts.
Instead, think about the steps your company can take to be sensitive to the needs of buyers. Here are some examples:
Pull back prospecting in geographic regions where COVID-19 is hitting hard. Understand that accounts in travel, hospitality, and other affected industries is inappropriate to target right now. Filter out prospects based on hard-hit industries and geography until they improve.
Research high-value target accounts. Use the insights to tailor outreach based on relevant audience priorities and the current mindset.
Rely heavily on engagement data content downloads and intent data to ensure every touchpoint is both relevant and timely based on your prospect’s behavior.
Efforts such as these can enable your company to ensure relevant outreach sequences are based on your understanding of the buyer and what they need. It’s rarely a hard sales pitch, but rather helpful content that will help each account during trying times.
When Sales and Marketing share responsibility for defined prospects, they will align naturally. However, at a time when every dollar spent is under scrutiny, consider orchestrating these team’s activities to minimize wasted resources.
In an “orchestration” model, marketing creates relevant, engaging outreach that is approved and executed by your sales or customer support teams. Rather than operating independently, your sales, marketing and customer success teams synchronize outreach to a target account and its stakeholders.
If you choose to transition to an orchestrated approach, be mindful of the following common obstacles:
• Going it alone: Orchestration is a team-based approach. Your goal is to align revenue teams (i.e., marketing, sales, and customer support).
• Relying on automation: Orchestration creates one-to-one interactions. Don’t over-index on automation at the expense of real human engagement.
• Generic outreach: Personalize to each buyer at valuable accounts, and ensure content and messaging is relevant to the key contact in the account.
• Funnel tunnel vision: Use orchestration through the entire life cycle of the account, from awareness and acquisition to renewal and customer advocacy. Don’t limit yourself to just one part of the funnel.
Be empathetic toward nervous buyers.
During uncertain times, buyers are more uncertain and risk-averse, which means you need to step up your efforts to build trust. Make sure every marketing touch is reinforced with validation, such as reviews, analyst opinions, customer references, and awards.
In downward economies, marketing budgets are often the first to get cut. So, ensure you’re measuring the return on investment of every campaign and activity. This enables marketers to both allocate their budgets to the areas of maximum impact and ensure their budgets are making a difference.
If you’re like 79% of companies whose pipeline has decreased due to the coronavirus, I hope these recommendations help you to adapt to these changing times. If you succeed, it’s not only good for your bottom line, but it’s also good for your buyers. Everybody wins.
As you reassess and rebuild, if you find your cash flow waning contact Allied Financial Corporation of Delaware Valley for help.