B2B Marketing / Networking post Covid
Once upon a time, networking involved expensive conferences, business class flights, lot's of Coffee dates", uncomfortable seminars and plenty of booze to make it through without falling asleep.
The sudden need to go completely digital in 2020 has changed the way we network in the B2B space. It is more challenging than ever to keep people engaged via endless Conference calls, online seminars and an overbearing amount of online events. The key is to keep the human element involved in a world where standing less than 1.5m is illegal and flying anywhere is a rarity.
The founder of our company Myles McNamara traditionally would do all the networking whilst we implement the work he brings "home". Rewind to late 2019, the company underwent a structural change, implementing an internal digital marketing agency within our software development company to bring our brands to life. This built resilience within our sales pipeline, reshaped our message to customers and enabled rapid pivots to respond to COVID challenges.
Do not cut back on your marketing budget.
Evaluate marketing performance closely for direct sales impact. Marketing now plays a more significant role in sales enablement activities, and sales often require marketing efforts to assist in customer engagement barriers by creating new door openers and air cover.
Be a Giver
Host free educational webinars, post related and valuable content that your audience can connect too. People want to engage with people, not brands.
"On a B2B platform like LinkedIn, your "brand homepage" isn't your company page. It exists on the profiles of your executives, thought leaders and sales team. Smart B2B brands need to empower their sales team to act as marketing advocates and content amplifiers. Your people are your brand, so bring them to the frontlines because high-value B2B deals don't close without a conversation!"- Forbes
Digitisation should be your priority, not last resort.
According to the latest B2B McKinsey&Company decision-maker pulse report; Live chat rated as the top channel for researching suppliers, followed by the preference of mobile app friendly ordering increasing by 250%.
Focus on Experience
Focus on delivering- in all your sales channels- The three things buyers value the most is speed, transparency and expertise. The use of omnichannel selling, inside sales, tech-enabling selling and e-commerce accelerated as the top sale models.
Optimise & integrate your software platforms to give buyers ease and convenience, ensuring all your sale channels are united and incentivised to collaborate.
Don't forget the human element.
With the massive shift to digital resulting from COVID-19, video and live chat have emerged as the predominant channels for interacting and closing sales with B2B customers. In contrast, in-person meetings and related sales activities have dropped precipitously.
"Crises create an enormous opportunity to build trust with your brand. Do you respond to customers swiftly? Do you often communicate with your customers? Do you put their business interests before yours? But more importantly, are you going to delivery on what you say?
Actions speak louder than words, and when a company can surprise its customer with outstanding products and customer service, the trust will emerge organically." - CMO Nadia Cameron