This post was written by Benjamin Gold
What happens to your B2B marketing strategy when the entire world shuts down? How can you show ROI when your customers aren’t R’ing on your I? The truth is that much of what we built in preparation for the 2020/2021 Financial Year must be thrown out and rebuilt. The tactics that have continued to show success for your business for the past decade are now irrelevant. Industry conferences, the lifeblood of almost every B2B marketer out there, have either been cancelled or severely curtailed. The traditional way of getting in front of potential customers, really anything more than an email or social post, can no longer be a part of your repertoire. Instead, here are some practical tips for your B2B marketing strategy in the age of COVID-19.
Quality Over Quantity
Losing sleep over your sudden lack of leads? With so much in flux, many of the contact details you had at the beginning of 2020 may well be out of date. It will take time for you to go through your database and see which businesses are still viable leads, but until then, focus on shifting to an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach. ABM is a strategic realignment of B2B marketing and sales teams to more accurately target preferred accounts. ABM emphasizes the importance of personalizing content to marketing personas and there’s no better experts on your customers than your own sales team. With the average buying committee increasing to around 7 members for an Enterprise organization [hbr.org], personalizing the sales and marketing experience can be a determining factor in closing a new customer.
Buyers are now more engaged in the decision-making process earlier than ever. You’ll often find that many prospects have already made up their minds long before they ever reach your website. Personalizing your content for different personas is critical to engage multiple buying committee members. Work with your sales team to narrow down the accounts you want to target and build out your personas. Creating a highly targeted, and resource rich, series of accounts will allow you to spend less money and time on accounts aren’t a great fit for your business.
We’re All in This Together
The one constant theme that brands are invoking, be they B2B or B2C, is the idea that everyone is suffering during COVID-19. Empathy with the plight of your customers, many of whom know someone affected by COVID-19, is not only good PR but good marketing. Showing what your company is doing during the pandemic, even if it’s simply letting your employees work from home, helps humanize your brand beyond the email that you send once a month.
Your Channels Are Changing
As I mentioned before, the traditional way of marketing is both dead and buried and is just not coming back (for the foreseeable future, at least.) Because of this, your company needs to invest in the channels where customers can stay updated. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Email are all great platforms for keeping connected with your audience. Now is a great time to go through your website line by line and audit it all. Does the flow make sense? Are there any content gaps that you see since you last built out the website? If you’re investing in an ABM strategy, which you really should be, can you create dynamic web content that targets personas or accounts? If so, there’s no better time than a pandemic to prepare for after the pandemic. Here is an interesting article by DemandBase on dynamic personalization in B2B Advertising.
The key lesson to take away from all of this is communication. Your story doesn’t end just because the global economy has taken a hit. Your connection with your customers doesn’t end because we’re all stuck inside. Instead, you’ve been given an opportunity to try something new. Throw something at the wall and see what sticks. Building a strong relationship with your customers now will pay off when they’re ready to buy again. The pandemic itself will end but some of the changes that we’re seeing will be around for a long, long time.
About the author
Ben has been a B2B marketer for almost 10 years. Cutting his teeth in the Tel Aviv high-tech scene, he has marketed products in the healthcare, law enforcement, and cloud computing industries. His passion is the role of technology in society and how digital transformation is changing the way that we work.