The health crisis is far from over, and people are still being shaken to their core by the dynamic changes of the “new normal”. People are still afraid to go out and carry on their daily activities as they used to. There is still massive economic pain and high unemployment. However, many businesses are reforming, reshaping, and fully adapting to the “new normal”. What B2B sales strategies for the “new normal” can they implement to get back on track? How can businesses get back on their feet?
Many businesses are reopening, and many are introducing new business models. The stock market is slowly recovering from its losses from earlier this year. We are not safe yet, but many B2B buyers are emerging and coming out of hiding.
Getting proactive with customer outreach
Businesses have to stop waiting for customers and leads to come to them and implement proactive outreach and lead generation strategies in order to reach out to as many prospects as possible.
Strategies such as outbound and inbound lead generation have to be reshaped and reinforced in the companies’ daily sales and marketing approach if fast economic recovery is to be achieved.
Companies can also implement referral strategies for their employees and ask them to gather as many leads as possible from their inner circle of friends, family and people they know.
Treat your B2B customers as equal partners, not targets
Everybody from individuals to companies is laser focused on survival in times of crisis, so it’s no wonder that companies will expect you to go the extra step to make them feel like they matter.
The environmental changes are driving fundamental changes in B2B buyer behaviour and B2B customers now expect a drastically different approach from all companies. One of the many approaches a company can take is to be proactive in ensuring the well being of their B2B customers and make sure that they are maximizing the results they get from using their products and services.
Continuously implement a consistent process
Consistency is a key factor in uncertain times. Lots of B2B organizations have gotten a little complacent with their customer communications and sales processes. The post-COVID world is becoming more competitive each day, with companies and brands competing for the attention of every customer.
Companies have to revisit their whole customer acquisition process and make sure it reflects the “new normal” we’re living in. Marketers and sales teams can go through some of these phases to ensure their customers are taken care of:
- Contact and discovery phase;
- Phone call with the sales rep;
- Product demo if available;
- ROI calculations;
- Q&A with decision makers;
- Final arrangements;
Not every company has the same sales process. Closely monitor your sales and marketing funnel to revise what needs improvement.You have to make sure the approach you’re taking reflects the industry you’re adapting the approach for. Not all customers go through the whole process, and some customers spend more time in one stage of the process than others.
Make the story about the customer – not you
A good approach companies can take is to align messaging with their prospects, to build the story around their values and needs. In times of crisis, empathy and understanding are paramount for brand messaging. Companies and marketers will have to make sure that their customers are the heroes of the story by following up with questions such as:
- Are we solving their problem?
- Can we align our brand voice to speak their language?
- How do we align our value proposition with theirs?
Instead of forcing customers to fit into our narrative, we have to make sure into theirs.
Monitor intent and respond accordingly
With the COVID 19 crisis in full swing, we have to understand that people will be much more cautious when making purchasing decisions and committing to one company. The landscape is changing daily and companies do not have as much resources and time to experiment with different B2B partners.
What we can do is monitor their intent and adapt our offer accordingly. This way when they stumble across our products and services, they are more likely to choose us if they like what they see as soon as they discover our brand. This also minimizes the time B2B customers will spend less time in the consideration phase.
You can monitor search intent by using several tools:
- Google Search Console – Mine search reports to see what users are searching for when they click on your website;
- Google Ads Search Query Reports – Mirror the actions above to see if your ads are now matching to different or new queries;
- Trends or Viral Topics – These tools will let you see user interest in specific topics or keywords and opportunities;
The data gathered with these tools will be invaluable in the months to come.
Adapting to a highly dynamic environment
Everyone is going through the same unpredictable environment right now. Customers, businesses, companies, suppliers everyone. The competitive landscape is changing literally every single day, faster than it ever has. Companies have to pay attention to the needs of their customers more than ever. A vendor may go out of business and open up possibilities for new customers acquisitions. A target group whose needs have changed might make your product a perfect fit for their needs.
All sales conversion needs to reflect the spirit of resilience, persistence and dynamism. Find ways to make your customer’s business stronger, more profitable, more efficient and lower cost. You have to put in the effort to make your brand and your values reflect safety and security in these trying times.
In conclusion, you have to stop sitting and waiting for the “new normal” to knock on your front door. Things may not return to the state they once were in soon. Now is the time to adopt the strategies and approach that will let you do more with less so whatever you do, keep hustling.