The pandemic has significantly changed the way buyers and sellers interact. Customer behavior has changed, and digital interactions have become the norm. Sales now needs marketing’s support more than ever in helping return businesses back to operational health.
Preference for digital is now more than twice as high as traditional sales interactions. Remote selling is accepted and seen as effective. These changes in sales models are expected to stay. In fact, 32% of respondents to McKinsey’s Decision-Maker Pulse said they were “very likely” to sustain shifts they had made in their sales strategy until at least a year after the pandemic.
Considering this, the biggest and most significant step CMOs must take is in adapting their teams and strategies to this new world. Marketing has a central role to play in the B2B business rebuild and will be expected to support sales in rejuvenating revenue streams.
Marketing must prove its ROI
Businesses are looking to bounce back stronger, smarter, and more innovative than before. Those that can adapt and respond quickly will be the ones that recover the fastest.
McKinsey believes that we are now at a “digital inflection point”, where sales operations will look very different than before. Almost 90% of B2B sales have moved to videoconferencing, phone, and the Web. How much this will stick is hard to gauge, but nearly half of McKinsey’s respondents believe the new methods are least effective than field sales.
With tighter budgets, however, CEOs will be looking closely at the ROI of marketing campaigns in the near term. Sales and marketing will need to align much more closely together to help move digital leads through the qualifying stages. Inevitably marketing campaigns will need to be more effective than ever. The biggest challenge for CMOs will be predicting the buying behaviors of B2B markets and coming up with a strategy to convert leads into sales as quickly as possible.
B2B CMOs can learn from Proctor & Gamble and turn the current situation into an opportunity. The FMCG giant is going against the trend and increasing its marketing. It sees this as the right time to “remind” consumers about its brands and their benefits.
5 tips for CMOs to re-engage their B2B audience in the new normal
1. Revisit your target account list and ensure you are focusing your budgets on accounts that will most likely be able to act.
Make sure that you have marketing materials designed specifically to address their business challenges and concerns in these unpredictable times – and align with your services and products.
2. Ensure your marketing messages and content are hyper-relevant, scalable and hybrid.
From sales development through to digital campaigns. These messages need to provide clear answers to customers’ current and short-term pain points. Use cases are invaluable here.
3. Collaborate and innovate with sales to ensure the right content is being produced for the right target audience.
Sales teams can pinpoint the business challenges. This sales intelligence enables marketing to personalize and customize marketing materials accordingly.
4. Remember that content consumption has been high during lockdowns.
The desire for people to engage with digital content is greater than ever. Content, however, needs to be more informative, engaging, and versatile. Business audiences are seeking out authorities on topics. If content isn’t well thought out and valuable your audience will quickly write it off as more digital noise.
5. Content marketing post-COVID is should be storytelling that resonates with readers.
Consistent, quality content with a human touch will reinforce brand perception and grow a returning audience. Readers may remember where they found the expert opinion they were looking for.
In the new digital economy, we have found that B2B buyers are just that bit smarter. They don’t want to be bombarded with advertising. They want informative content that helps them spend their budgets wisely.
By consistently working closely with sales teams and content experts, CMOs can help companies create individual, lasting relationships with customers. This is crucial in turning sales leads into all important purchases.
If content was king yesterday, it is ruler of the world today. But it isn’t a case of churning out content for content sake. To get results content must resonate with the target audience and help companies stay connected with their customers. This is where collaborating with the right content experts is crucial. If you would like to speak to us directly so that we can help you make your content strategy achieve its goals, then email us on [email protected].