Like any new year, we started 2020 with hopes to implement new marketing techniques, boost sales and generate a higher ROI for ourselves and our clients. 

No one began this year thinking we would face a global pandemic that would put the world on pause. Commercial travel was halted, stay at home orders were in place and many businesses suffered from financial hardship. This pandemic forced many people to find a new normal - not just at home and at work but in their business and marketing strategies. 

Like many others, we were faced with questions like, why is this happening? How should we handle this? 

And then we stumbled upon the right question to ask — how can we evolve? 

We must appropriately adapt in order to survive and thrive in a crisis. When the world hit the pause button, we didn’t stop our marketing efforts, and here’s why. 

 

Now is the Time to Lean into the Long Sales Cycle

We’ve all heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race.” In a more normal business setting, it can be easy to grow impatient and want to curse the long sales cycle. 

You get excited about a prospective partnership, delve headfirst into it and all the amazing things you could do for a client. And then the momentum dies. Days turn into weeks, and you’re left wishing there was anything you could do to make sure the deal closes sooner rather than later. 

But today, with the world on pause, smart B2B marketers should consider the advantages of the long sales cycle. 

Take this time to step back and evaluate how your content and online presence performs at each step in the sales journey, especially your leads in the awareness, interest and consideration stages. 

The B2B customer journey is usually longer and requires more research than a B2C cycle, which is actually a great opportunity. 

In a longer sales cycle, companies spend more time answering questions and providing information about their product or service from prospective customers. Which is really where inbound marketing shines. In-depth content diving into the information that customers are looking for is a far more scalable option than hiring additional salespeople. 

Plus, targeting your leads farther away from the decision stage will allow you to use this time to nurture your prospects and get them closer to purchasing when budget cuts have been lifted. 

 

It’s a Great Time to Build Relationships

Don’t ignore the bottom of your marketing funnel, even if your inbound marketing strategy is top-notch. 

Spending in the immediate future may have halted due to economic uncertainty, but it won’t be forever. And that means that this is the time to build and nurture relationships. 

That might mean you have to get creative when it comes to product demos and sales meetings. 

Using the tools at your disposal, such as video conferencing and screen-sharing, can be key to your sales success. Studies have shown that video calls are more effective in developing trust amongst leads than traditional forms of communication such as a phone call or videoless conferencing. 

Nothing can replace the real connection that happens in a face to face pitch, but given the current circumstances, we must evolve our sales process in order to be socially responsible. 

Your prospects are likely worried about their families, their health and even their own businesses. Right now is the time to stay connected and offer your assistance. Be empathetic in your engagements and address the current climate in your messaging. No one wants a pushy salesperson filling their inbox and voicemail with out of touch messages. 

To ensure you are at the top of your prospect’s mind when this crisis subsides, build trust and loyalty by overcommunicating and showing compassion. 

 

Make an Investment Now That Will Drive Growth Later 

Marketing isn’t an optional business expenditure. It is an essential cost that assists in the generation of new business and revenue. The last thing you want to do is go dark in your marketing during a crisis. 

When a crisis hits, many organizations bring their spending to a halt, and that includes marketing expenditures. 

However, there’s a reason a popular marketing adage states: “When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.”

Businesses have an interesting opportunity to advertise now with fewer competitors, fewer brands bidding on coveted keywords and lower media costs which could lead to a higher ROI. Savvy B2B marketers know this will keep their products and services top of mind for current and future prospects. 

As mentioned before, focusing on the top and middle of your marketing funnel and embracing the lengthy sales cycle will put you ahead of your competition coming out of a crisis. 

 

Stay Alert and Be Prepared 

I’ve seen it more times than I can count: We don’t know what the world will look like on the other side. 

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be all bad.

With the right preparation, when we do finally reach the other side to discover our new normal, we will have spent this time building relationships and investing in our future. Which is exactly what we can be doing now to thrive. 

Stay calm, take care of what matters most and be well. It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be okay. 

Meagan Peters Meagan Peters

As Station Four’s Marketing Manager, Meagan Peters uses data and analytics to draw conclusions and make educated decisions on difficult marketing tactics. Meagan helps businesses of all sizes maximize ROI by using data driven strategy and marketing best practices to build campaigns and awareness. Her extensive experience with email marketing, social media and content creation allows her to develop campaigns and drive conversions for clients.

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