The on-going global pandemic has affected businesses in various ways across industries. The event has activated sales and marketing changes in the B2B, which has compelled marketers to re-conceive the old buyer persona for the new normal. Organizations have begun to adapt to this change in the best way they can and even for hard times ahead. There’s no point pushing the businesses and employees to the edge to try and reach what may seem now the most unrealistic targets. Maybe it’s time to put the financial growth forecasting at one side and remember that survival is the most integral at this moment. But everything is not up the creek; the reality is that this pandemic has been catastrophic for everyone, but there has been a silver lining too. While marketers may feel like their business is lagging, the reality is that other market players are right there with them too– sailing in the same boat. However, some companies will come out on the other side of this pandemic better off than their competitors, and that will be down to how effectively they are adapting to the evolving landscape. Things may be uncertain right now, and we don’t know when we’ll arrive at the “new normal,” but we do know that standard marketing budgets are being re-examined, and some businesses are not in favor of huge investments or commitments right now. Your business may be in one of these three positions as of now:
1) Survival is the pre-requisite for most companies: These businesses are not spending, but they are letting people go off and curtailing costs wherever they can.
2) Organizations focused on re-adjusting: These businesses are finding innovative ways to do what they’ve always been doing, such as by conducting in-person events, webinars, conferences, etc. digitally.
3) Organizations focused on innovation: These businesses have services or products that are crucial right now, and they’re leveraging the need to build and expand their businesses and create innovative solutions for the same.
Your company may gravitate towards either of these 3 categories, but B2B marketing and sales leaders will have to prove positive outcomes from all investments to survive a post-pandemic world. Let’s see how B2Bs can dig deep and put these qualities to work to stay adrift.
Six Ways B2B Companies Can Re-adjust:
The sales pipeline dries up, without effective marketing, which means money needs to work harder right now, and B2B marketers may need to accomplish more with relatively less. Businesses that haven’t been agile may end up struggling, and companies with more flexibility incorporated into their operations may be able to survive with the following listed plan of action:
1) Embracing the ABCs
This is the time to reformulate your business approach and to re-adapt. The present crisis has forced businesses to get back to basics. Redefine your definitions of sales qualified leads (SQLs), and marketing qualified leads (MQLs). It’s time you analyze your strategic account management to make sure your marketing and sales are aligned. Evaluate how you’re managing customer success, and build centers of excellence to bring together diverse teams together.
2) Give ABM a Try
Several companies are hooked on to the demand-generation model; however, you may need to say goodbye to goals focused exclusively on MQLs and SQLs. It’s the perfect time to test ABM strategies, which treat each prospect or customer as a market of one. With ABM, your marketing and sales teams can focus on acquiring the right leads instead of pursuing MQLs or SQLs that may not even qualify.
3) The New Way To Connect with Your Buyer
Marketing strategy plays an essential role in building on well-researched and documented buyer personas. However, different generations should also be considered as they might be part of the target audience. Stratifying a message by buyer persona, new-age customer expectations, and tone can be a great way to personalize the marketing message. It also helps in closing deals and generating revenue from the marketing efforts, and adding value to the conversation- being there for your customers, and being helpful can pay dividends in the long run.
4) Focus On Nurturing Verticals That Are More Stable
Consider pulling back with the businesses that require nurturing and are barely surviving. Instead, focus on verticals that are adapting and innovating and are relatively more stable- just make sure to re-adjust your messaging and approach.
5) Focus On Reviewing Your Tech Stack to Maximize ROI
B2B marketers are at a hem today and are expected to deliver qualified leads to the pipeline and maximize the ROI. Why? Because technologies let you track a lead from end to end, which is fresh and exciting, but if you don’t have a robust strategy with goals and KPIs in place, you could drown into the high seas of data. It is a perfect time to review your tech stack and make sure every technology you’re using is helping you scale up when its the right time. With a specific strategy and the right technology in place, you’ll be equipped to answer C-suite’s questions about performance and rationalize marketing investments.
6) It’s All About Your Customers
Your prospects should be your center of attention- a demand-generation and hybrid ABM strategy that B2B marketers have now adopted is to build a story around their prospects. The new-age brand messaging requires you to bring in more empathy and understanding and to make your prospects and customers the stars of your account. Ask questions like: Who are the people you’re solving the problem for? How best can you relate to them? How do you align your company’s account and value proposition with your prospect’s needs?
While some B2B businesses are downsizing their short term spending that has led to a slump in demand, some businesses may emerge from this plunge as actual leaders in the market. With the evolving needs of the B2B buyers’ persona, the marketers have to anticipate their pain points, challenges and capitalize on those opportunities beforehand for success.
The shift to the remote work has had massive implications on the B2B business model and the buyers, and these can have long-lasting effects on the future as well. It is, therefore, paramount that businesses embrace digital interaction and lends it with a personal touch to enhance customer interaction and engagement.
Digital tools are expected to keep teams in collaboration by increasing the sharing of insights and intelligence. The new normal needs B2B marketers to embrace it and shape the future. Instead of forcing prospects and customers into their narrative, the marketers need to reconstruct the narrative around them. Take control and adapt to the new normal. Besides, the marketers don’t have to sit back and wait for the “new normal” to knock on their door. The marketers may not be able to return to the way things were, and they don’t know how the future looks like, but now is the time to adopt the strategies that may allow them to do more with less. So whatever they do- they have to keep marketing and keep the pipeline fuelled up.