COVID’s Impact on B2B Sales & Marketing
Over the last 18 months, sales and marketing as we knew them have changed. And they’ve changed for the near future and likely forever. Salespeople were not able to knock on doors, make cold calls, or even call people in their offices to follow up on things – because people were not there. And if they were in the office, they weren’t allowing visitors
So, if you’re selling to other businesses, how do you get in front of your prospects?
How B2B Companies Adapted to COVID’s Impact on Marketing
A majority of our clients sell to and service other businesses. From medical devices and LED lighting to uniform and textile rental services, all of them were hit hard a year ago and their salespeople idled from cruising their territory and calling on prospects. They couldn’t even just call an office because so many people were working remote and just trying to adapt to the new normal.
Those businesses that made an investment in additional marketing, or at least continued with their marketing by taking it digital, are now seeing the positive results as people return to offices.
In a study in the 1980s by McGraw-Hill Research, 600 B2B companies were analyzed in terms of how they performed during recessionary periods. Those that increased their investments in sales and marketing grew 275 percent more in the three years following the recession than those companies who didn’t maintain or increase their spend.
As COVID continues to impact the economy and change the way we all work, what can your business do to increase marketing efficacy and sales opportunities?
Increased Benefit Focused Email Marketing
Creating specific email communications to connect with prospects is a great way to build on your marketing efforts. These should be personalized from individual reps with their contact information (cell phones, email, etc.) to stay in front of people.
Using this content to highlight how your business has and continues to adapt to current customer needs, promote new products, adjust deliveries, offer customer friendly invoicing and so much more, all show prospects that you’ve been paying attention.
Digital tools are readily available to us. As people visit your website, sales reps or an inside salesperson (even if remote), can be connected to a live chat on your website. Being able to answer visitors’ questions when they’re on your website can help convert them into prospects and quality leads faster.
Online chat questions can also be great items to build out the FAQs section of your website for future visitors!
Follow Up Mail Pieces or Collateral
We’re not talking just blanket direct mail to a list you have. Who knows if people were there to receive it? Creating valuable follow up pieces to reinforce any past interactions is always a nice touch. They could be mailed to someone’s office, confirming that they are there. Or reps could ask for a temporary mailing
Creating a piece of collateral that can be mailed physically or even emailed as a nice follow up is a great way to keep your brand front and center.
As more businesses do research online, they may visit your website but they aren’t ready to reach out just yet. Retargeting ads can build brand awareness and reintroduce your business to recent visitors. These are affordable ways to display key benefits, products, or services to those you want to attract most.
While many businesses continue to circle their wagons to protect the business they do have, those who are out there prospecting and attracting new business will see their rebound happen much sooner.
As you ramp up, and even as your customers get back to full capacity on their end, you’re sure to encounter your own production hiccups. Whether related to supply chain issues, employee retention, or hiring challenges, know that most businesses are dealing with these same challenges.
The more you communicate with customers, the more likely you are to preserve your relationship with them even during a rough patch.