No matter your view on the current state of affairs and ideas on it blowing over, the fact remains, businesses globally have been sent a message that the established and basic approach to generating new business through cold-calling and face-to-face communications has been severely restricted.
Before you start, you have to bear in mind that ‘change’ cannot be achieved in a few sentences, so grab a coffee, this will only take you about nine minutes to read. What’s in this article:
COVID-19 Business Advice: Top 10 Marketing Review Tips
No one knows what the temperature will be when this blows over, but one thing is for certain, no business will want to be as exposed as they have found themselves this year.
We have seen people switch from calmly doing their weekly shopping to auditioning for bit-parts in The Walking Dead or World War Z and acting like zombies buying up toilet paper and soap. My thoughts were, “well that escalated quickly - nothing like the reserved Brits queuing up for their food during rationing in the 1940s.”
It didn’t take long for all travel, events and face-to-face contact to be severely reduced. If, like me you have been thinking, “well, how will my business fair in the next few weeks and months?” Then you might be thinking along the lines of video conferencing and Skype.
I think the Brits will simply ‘Carry On Regardless’…
The likes of WebEx, On24 and Zoom are increasing their marketing, to ‘make-hay-while-the-sun-shines’ (for them at least) and their shares have shot up too. Microsoft have offered their top tier of Teams for free for six months and Google have given free access to their advanced ‘Hangout’ features.
But that only takes care of communicating with your staff and existing customers. What about generating new business? We all have to keep doing that too, as I doubt the government will be throwing multi-billion-pound support packages at SMEs any time soon.
Just because people are sitting at home for the time being, it doesn’t mean all business has ground to a halt.
You already know how difficult it is to find new business and positioning your organisation alongside prospective customers, with or without ABM. The trouble is, they don’t want to know - they rarely do - because you’re contacting them out-of-the-blue. We all react in the same way.
For at least fifty years, business marketing has relied on salespeople to find, meet and close new business. This approach has become increasingly difficult because people, like us, don’t like being cold-called and we also know we can find all the information we need online.
In an earlier article, I explained why Chief Marketing Officers only keep their jobs for about 18 months in the UK. In summary it was because they did what they had always done, got what they had always got, and got fired!
Based upon what prospective CMOs said in their interviews, Managing Directors and CEOs expected their new ‘hires’ to move the needle and generate more new business. Clearly, they didn’t/don’t. This is the reason why tenure for CMO posts in the past five years has remained at approximately 18 months.
Because of the CMOs’ poor performance, business leaders got involved and told them to ‘do what they did back in the day’. The CMOs were compliant and did as they were told because they didn’t have a better idea. And now, in 2020, a raft of businesses are going to suffer even more, because no one has a resilient marketing strategy that can keep functioning, no matter what the world, or China, throws at it.
The marketing options open to businesspeople right now are as follows:
Before I make any suggestions, try this for starters: -
The second approach enables you to promote your business differently, and to a greater audience, instead of attempting to drive ‘Lead Generation’ and maintain the KPI calculations everyone applies today.
The only way to promote your B2B organisation is to post online
The fact is, it’s not simply about COVID-19; it is about the reluctance of marketers to adapt to a changing market. They tell business leaders to choose software platforms over content and accept a misleading argument between sales and marketing departments, who blame each other for poor performance.
The current state of affairs in business-to-business terms is an exact illustration why CMOs and marketing leaders have failed business owners and shareholders. I’m also not going to blame this on salespeople, as they have been conditioned to ‘sit and beg’ for leads. When they don’t sell, Marketing says it’s the salesperson’s fault, and vice-versa, until eventually they both get sacked.
That said, how can you adapt now? Firstly, there are two extremely important articles for you to read, not least because no one you employ will ever tell you what we will: -
Our recommended strategy is to ensure your business is grounded in such a way that no external situation can adversely damage your stability. The business framework open to everyone is unprecedented, yet it has not been exploited by B2B and many will fail in the coming months.
Whilst marketing teams are at home, now is the time to get them to review what you already have and start planning for the next stage in your business life (and theirs!): -
The Internet allows you to create content, reduce head count and get more profitable. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not just about writing a few blogs and it does involve changing the way you communicate information using video and podcasts and the way you manage and structure your teams.
Some years ago, there was a concerted effort to encourage businesses to allow for redundancy. That included uninterruptable power supplies, secondary telephone systems and all manner of computer-based contingencies, such as RAID and now cloud-based services (thank goodness for them!).
From a practical, new business perspective, organisations want to ensure continuity of income and that can only come from exploiting the Internet. It means providing sufficient and varied content that matches their prospects’ ‘search intent’ and communicates an accurate message demonstrating that: -
Of course, there’s more to it, but it’s not complicated. You need to start thinking about restructuring your business to accommodate prospects who are researching products and not to expect prospects to give you emails, that are euphemistically called leads (irrespective of lead scoring within marketing automation platforms).
We provide consultancy for the following:
Watch our films (videos), read the book (and brochures and articles) and listen to the podcast(s); whichever way you want to find out more, we’ve got it covered, as you will have your own customers’ needs covered too.
We’ve identified the problem and can offer a complete solution and that’s what salesXchange is all about. From redefining content strategies to planning digital workshops; from consultancy support to bespoke business groups, salesXchange has an exciting and business-focused approach to B2B marketing for technology, software and services companies.
If you want to increase your profitability and restore a sense of direction to your marketing, you can DIY or ask us to get involved. We can even chat via Skype/Zoom or meet dressed up in hazmat suits :)
Stay safe, think long term and it will all work out in the end.