As some regions are planning their return to work post the COVID-19 lockdown, it is critical for B2B marketers to understand that unfortunately, we are returning to a “new normal”.
While the first phase has been to prevent the spread of the virus, the new business situation that we are finding ourselves in is mostly impacted by the following main drivers:
- Attention is still on “COVID-19” – While we see some decline, the level of attention on the topic is very high. See global COVID-19 coverage by CISION (from 138,000 online sources and 190 countries).
- Budget cuts – Companies are cutting spending in order to mitigate losses, prevent layoffs, and avoid going out of business.
- Businesses’ priorities are shifting to recovery mode – Organizations are in need of confidence in themselves and their own ability to survive, if not thrive, during times of disruption and uncertainty.
- Businesses are looking for answers – There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty with very little ability to forecast the mid- and long-term future.
- Higher buyer-seller dependency – Organizations have complex challenges that are in need of fast resolutions and many vendors have an almost ready-made solution for them.
- Stay-at-home and remote working – Potential clients are spending more time online, but this disrupts strategies and marketing tactics that are based on geolocation and IP address analysis.
- No in-person meetings or events in the foreseeable future – All meetings and events have swiftly migrated to the digital space.
“According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change. ” ¹
B2B Marketing Actions in the Post-COVID-19 "new normal"
Here are a few actions that we suggest you employ:
- Act early – Boston Consulting Group assessed the recovery of 5,000 companies across the last five downturns. An average of 14% of companies increased both their sales growth rate and EBIT margin (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) despite the challenging circumstances, while 44% declined in both metrics. The thriving companies acted much earlier in the process than the others. Apart from essential defensive actions like cost-cutting, companies need to be proactive in conducting radical changes that will enable them to grow in the long run.
- Revise your B2B marketing message – Adjust your positioning strategy to the new situation and under no circumstance seek to profit directly from the vulnerabilities and hardships of your customers/prospects. While we are now flooded with content about COVID-19, find the angle that addresses the genuine needs of your target audience.
- Make marketing “clean-up” a priority – Ensure your website is ready for lead generation acquisition. Start revising your content. Improve your Search Engine Optimization, so that you can easily be found by your prospective clients. Confirm that data stored in your various marketing platforms (e.g., CRM, Marketing Automation, CMS) is of high quality.
- Implement Agile Process – Reexamine your strategy and go-to-market plan. Aim for the long-term, while constantly altering it based on the short-term results and the new wildcard situations you are presented with.
- Cause marketing – “We’re all in this together.” Build new vendor-client partnerships with increased transparency and trust. Focus on the problem-solving process. Build collaborative relationships from the start, reducing formalities, and enabling both sides to ask critical questions.
- Explore new potential markets – IMF (International Monetary Fund) anticipates that the projected Canadian’s annual growth in 2020 will be decreased by 6.2%. Companies should explore non-traditional regions, for example, India and China, that are forecasted to experience slow acceleration and Southeast Asia that is supposed to remain strong. Research a new sector or industry that you previously did not cater to.
- Analyze data for upselling and cross-selling – Gather data from the field and other analytics indicators to create a scenario-based forecast that deducts on real opportunities for demand. Start with your most trusted clients as they will be the ones who most appreciate your added offering.
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The COVID-19 crisis presents major challenges in the short run, but it also offers the opportunity to introduce transformed marketing and sales operations in the “new normal”, which in turn will help companies come out of the crisis stronger.
If you have specific questions, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you.
“Ranking our Web site high on search engines results, designing a professional Web site look and developing engaging relevant content for a heavy technology company like us resulted in a dramatic increase in client leads that we receive from our Web site.”Simon Robin CEO, Hardent