Finding and filling value gaps in these difficult times of global adversity!
While B2B marketers are trying to re-evaluate strategies to address opportunities that exist during these distressing times, B2B sales and marketing are undergoing an interesting transformation. The implications of this epidemic might be precarious, but the business consequences are even more ominous. Only those technology businesses that can realign and evolve with this “new normal” will recover and succeed sustainably. A higher focus on marketing to deliver significant sales pipeline and revenue is more likely now than ever before. With increased digital engagement and more accountability for every dollar spent, more CXOs are focusing on the measurement of customer market need gaps to optimize their pipeline performance, and ensuring it is aligned to future or current opportunities.
Changes in customer behavior driven by this emergency, have accelerated digital consumption – from how much the companies would ‘spend’, to how ‘digital interactions’ may increasingly replace traditional sales, and all the way to sales being ‘remotely’ handled through video conferencing and web sales – B2B marketers and sales leaders are learning to navigate deeper challenges that this global crisis has created.
Imminent shifts for B2B marketers:
- Businesses spend – Given the grim economic situation, it was expected that there would be some drastic reductions in spending. But a sizable number of B2B companies are maintaining and some are even increasing their digital spending, at least for now. Spending pattern across 50% of US companies has witnessed an increase, with some B2B companies maintaining the spend at a higher rate than most of their European counterparts. According to a McKinsey report, in some of the South Asian markets, Chinese and Indian decision-makers even cited a higher percentage of spend increase.
- Digital Interactions – B2B sales leaders rate digital channels twice as relevant in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. This impending shift in the importance of digital interaction is reflected in the customers’ preference for digitally-enabled interactions, which has jumped significantly. Mobile apps, social media engagement, or online communities show a mercurial increase since 2019. To deliver an outstanding digital experience and encourage loyalty, B2B companies need to monitor and maintain an integrated multi-channel digital ecosystem globally.
Reviewing Digital Readiness
It’s the time to become more visible, albeit digitally. Attending meetings or events sounds improbable right now. However, digital events and virtual meetings are critical to maintaining consistency and forging trust. With the kind of uncertainty, customers are experiencing, it’s all about listening to the challenges they’re facing and understanding where help is needed. Now’s the time to invest in your customer community.
Although it might not be the best time for aggressive email marketing, it is a perfect time to connect on a deeper level. It’s the best time to necessitate crisis communication, including updates or information on remote service access where applicable. A word of caution though. As much as you want to keep your customers engaged, by either providing them discounted access to some of your online resources, avoid pitching your services.
You have to think about how you can add, lead, and support your customers through guidance, value-added webinars, as well as other leadership insights. It is all the more critical now for organizations to streamline CRM and automation for response management and customer value-chain analytics.
ABM in the Times of Pandemic
Depending on the volume and scope of your ABM program, it is an ideal time to re-evaluate and re-prioritize your target list based on the current or predicted future market behavior. Researching for end-client level changes in decision marker hierarchies and adjusting to the requirements of your target accounts, is the most crucial thing you could do today. Clients who usually re-evaluate their target lists every quarter or twice a year are using this time to do it, paying particular attention to – and realigning. This is also an interesting time to consider it as an opportunity to flex your creative bone and find innovative ways to reach your target audience, retain or win-back their attention.
COVID-19 has forced many businesses to switch to work from home, and hence, keeping sales and marketing aligned is another demanding yet important goal to aim for.
Remodeling Content Marketing
Re-adapt your content plans to respond creatively to the current market requirements. More B2B businesses are leveraging their databases to lean onto active and engaged customer-base for evaluating hidden possibilities through personalization. Elevated attention towards top-of-the-funnel content campaigns to attract prospect interest is a strategy being considered and adopted at some software majors.
The priority now should be to audit existing marketing initiatives for strategic communication, transparency, and brand consideration. Businesses and B2B marketers have to patiently exhibit authentic agility for better customer experience. Cross-vertical product and service companies are embracing contactless deliveries or self-service or both.
Segment based disruption is expected, with spends expected to decrease moderately for software, media, and telecom sectors. Manufacturing sectors are the worst impacted globally according to industry reports. What B2B marketers need is a dynamic marketing strategy, including but not limited to re-allocating event marketing spends to content creation, lead generation, and search marketing.