How your business can Pivot & Fly in spite of lockdown
How your business can pivot and fly in spite of the lockdown
How to adapt your new business process with reduced customer contact and kickstart your sales process to increase profitability - If ever there was a time to pivot, it’s now. But pivot where? To do what?
We both know marketing is the activity that generates income and sustainability and every other activity is simply a revenue expense.
Whilst selling serves the interests of the company, marketing serves the interests of the customer and to drive a business forward it demands innovation and marketing in equal measures. The problem is, when a business is a reseller, for example, innovation comes from the manufacturer, therefore, the only innovation a reseller is in control of is marketing and user engagement (i.e. how we communicate towards prospects or customers). The same applies to businesses that provide professional services.
In today’s post lockdown economy, business owners need to be innovative in terms of marketing which means they need to become exciting, engaging and interesting centres for resources, over and above that of their competition.
Entrepreneurs Take Your Place...
Fortunately, it’s not complicated. It just takes a bit of time and effort to draw out the intellectual property business owners and their teams have in their heads and present it on paper, on audio and on video.
Done properly, there would be no need for salespeople (oh! think of the cost savings there!) as marketing would/should answer all the questions and people would simply buy. This was a concept shared almost fifty years ago by Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author of countless books on business and consultancy. And things haven’t really changed, not yet anyway.
Technically, business products like software and hardware may still need someone to explain how the product aligns with a set of requirements, but we both know this can probably be done with video in all its different forms, i.e. conferencing, live or/and recorded.
Now that the status quo has changed, how do businesses pivot?
Connection and Communications
To start with, because movement and personal interaction has been restricted, we need to overcome connection, which segues to restructuring communications and the methods used to generate new business.
If telesales and face-to-face ‘investigative’ new business meetings have been restricted, or even ceased, then businesses need a ‘Plan B’.
Fortunately Plan B is not as drastic or unwelcome as many would think. Plan B is going to be about restructuring communications to increase connections.
#1 Connecting with more business people?
No one can second guess what the politicians have decided to do, therefore you need a robust, secure, long-term strategy that enables you to weather this storm and any others yet to come.
Your awareness of existing CRM data and your ability to tell people you exist is paramount. Posting on social media by itself is not good enough as you need to tell people who and where you are and why they should consider you and your services in the first place.
Identifying your preferred vertical markets, geographic regions and business types and sizes is easily done, even if it means buying in new data.
#2 Developing Trust
Consider this. We both ‘buy’ when it suits us! Back in the 1980s and 1990s it was all about trust and the relationship the salesman had with prospects and customers. If the salesman was well presented, articulate and well dressed he/she did well. The salesman was the individual who held access to information about the products. If a customer wanted information or advice it was the salesmen who provided it.
Link to article about Peter Drucker: https://www.processexcellencenetwork.com/innovation/columns/peter-drucker-on-sales-and-marketing
Unfortunately, if the salesperson left and joined a competitor, there was a high probability he or she would take the customers or contacts with them.
In today’s economy I don’t believe there is the same view about trust anymore. If our content is freely available it means we (as the business owners) are directly engaging with prospects and customers. The more concise and comprehensive the content, the more ‘trustworthy’ the business is perceived, not the salesperson. Furthermore, the likelihood of customers following salesperson to the competition is dramatically reduced.
#3 Engaging in the Silent Conversation
For many years, due to the Internet, we can research any subject, obtain competitive data and costs and progress our own buying process by 60-70% before even contacting a supplier.
By engaging in the ‘silent conversation’ when buyers are researching, the trust element is communicated through the quantity, quality, variety and availability of helpful content we create, without forcing a buyer to give us their email address to access it.
The ‘Pivot’ is to make a change in the dependencies within an organisation. To reduce the number of salespeople and increase the content needed to satisfy the appetite new prospects have during their research stage. Your capacity to connect with new prospects is only limited to the quality of your content and quantity of prospect data. Link to our article about CMO and Consultants https://salesxchange.co.uk/blog/item/should-you-hire-a-marketing-consultant-marketing-director-a-cmo-or-a-cgo-in-2020
Next is to review the funnel illustration to visualise a prospect’s journey. This needs to correlate with the documentation/content you have made available so a prospect can self-serve to the point of sign-up and helping them navigate your business funnel. Link to our web page about with marketing funnel graphic - https://salesxchange.co.uk/b2b-marketing-strategies/marketing-consultant
True Digital Transformation empathises with prospects, customers and staff, ensuring all three parties are intrinsically linked throughout their respective processes within your business. Link to Digital Transformation article Part 1/3 - https://salesxchange.co.uk/blog/item/digital-marketing-transformation-part-1
It’s not about creating a bland systematic structure. Rather, it’s about presenting an authentic, vibrant company and products that makes others think “I like them so I’ll do business with them because they have thought about me and perhaps they’re like me.” This applies to prospects, customers and staff, existing and future employees.
Useful Links to author Seth Godin:-
- This is Marketing (people like us!) : YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPK_qzeH_yk
- Tribes: TED Talks Video - https://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_the_tribes_we_lead?language=en
There are three stages; attraction, engagement and commitment.
- Attraction - Create an advert that satisfies the initial reaction of holding someone’s attention for a few seconds. People want to know ‘what’s in it for them’ within about five seconds. They, we, want a short advert and to know the gist of the offer before committing any more time to it/your offer.
- Engagement - The ‘offer’ is your article, blog, podcast, video, live show, event etc., Your objective is to create interest to encourage business people to click on the advert to look at what you are presenting.
- Commitment - The advert catches their attention, encouraging them to follow through and commit to reading or watching the full ‘feature’. The content serves the buyer’s appetite to research and learn. If it’s well written or produced, they will remember you and possibly be open to a micro commitment depending on your call-to-action within the content.
Link to our article about SEO & Content and what Google says constitutes a good article? https://salesxchange.co.uk/blog/item/b2b-seo-guide-for-2020
We’ve not changed very much sine the 1970s, however B2B organisations have relied on salespeople, almost at the exclusion of marketing, as marketing was to create the pretty pictures and not account for the 70% ‘silent conversation’ of the sale. This has now changed
The B2B ‘Pivot & Fly’ Summary
The ‘Pivot & Fly’ strategy is simple; create as much content as possible and then advertise it. It’s what B2C marketing has been doing for decades yet it hasn’t translated very well in to the B2B sector because, in my opinion, of the reluctance of the marketers, doing what they’ve always done and getting what they always got.
The two programs listed below, whilst seriously low cost to use, will help enable your staff to create short, smart and effective adverts to promote your content.
- Adobe Spark (Graphics & Video) - https://spark.adobe.com/
- Canva Studio (Graphics only) - https://www.canva.com/
Obviously you need to have the content ready in the first place before you can advertise it, but I’m sure that can be easily sorted out. Let me know if you need any help.
We’re planning to start broadcasting live
Over the past few weeks I have been evaluating and planning our own live broadcast. Initially we are going live on Facebook and uploading each episode to LinkedIn and YouTube. In time to come, we plan to go live on LinkedIn and YouTube as well.
We expect to broadcast our first ‘pilot’ show this week and once we have our schedules complete, we’ll begin regular shows. The reason we’re doing Live broadcasting is for the following reasons:
- We need to understand the production factors and iron out any problems in order to advise our clients accordingly.
- Relatively low cost, ranging from £0 to any amount depending on equipment and automation
- Low production time, once everything is ‘cabled and connected’.
- Easy to implement as there is no post production editing like we have on video.
- Can engage multiple people over Skype or Zoom and present high quality ‘multi cam’ conversations, essential for account based marketing scenarios.
- High quality production using DSLR cameras instead of laptop webcams or wobbly hand-held mobile phones
- Significant options and possibilities for business and product promotion
I’ll write and record a series of articles highlighting this journey, especially as it enables all businesses to better connect directly with their customers in a new and engaging way. It’s also far quicker and easier to produce live shows than it is to produce, record and edit video. I’ll let you know when they’re posted online.
About the Author
Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping SMEs for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.