There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has, and will continue to fundamentally change business behaviour as the way we live, work, and buy has been dramatically rewritten. While shifting demands inevitably pose a challenge for both businesses and marketers, it also represents an opportunity to learn and redesign marketing strategies to not only optimise and adapt to changing business conditions, but to become more resilient and future-proofed for a post-pandemic world.
Now more than ever, business-to-business (B2B) companies need to rethink their sales and marketing strategies for a post-coronavirus world, where “normal” is set to take on a new meaning. The ensuing approach must be agile and cost-effective to meet the demands of the future – Forbes
So, as we navigate the ‘new normal’, how can we power our B2B marketing strategies for a post-pandemic world?
Lead with Data
We all understand that knowledge is power, so leading with data is crucial to building and executing successful B2B marketing strategies. Data-driven marketing optimises brand communications based on customer information. Marketers should leverage this insight to develop more personalised strategies for a higher return on investment. Further, data-driven marketing builds credibility with customers as they are receiving information that is useful and relevant to their situation. Improved data and insight is crucial in business response and recovery, and with businesses finding themselves in unfamiliar waters, marketers must focus on data-driven marketing strategies to be able to provide value to customers.
Importance of B2B Relationships
COVID-19 has forced sales teams to maintain and build on their relationships with clients, and this should be the key priority for B2B organisations during this time. Even businesses that have not been as significantly affected have had to change how they operate, to both protect the health of their employees and to be empathetic to their clients and partners.
Building trust and recognition with your customers is critical in your survival, post pandemic. 2020 has highlighted the importance of managing and maintaining strong B2B relationships and in many cases, has forced sales executives to reach out to their clients without a sales agenda. This shift in sales behaviour will, hopefully, transcend post-pandemic and give those individuals the opportunity to build on their relationships with their clients.
As we move towards the next ‘normal’, it is crucial for B2B marketers to harness digital transformation strategies to secure their success. Digital centricity will be key to continuing the momentum, with a particularly strong focus on content and social media but further, to optimise your efforts and gain insight into customer behaviours and new audiences. COVID-19 has forced many marketers to shift their effort from primarily outbound saturated strategies towards inbound opportunities.
Adapt to Shifting Customer Demands
The way that we reach our customers has changed and may, in many cases, never be the same. Marketers have had to operate with a degree of sensitivity, recognising that many individuals and businesses are doing it tough. Subsequently, we have to re-evaluate our current B2B marketing strategies to firstly, ensure we are operating with compassion but secondly, to ensure they are a good fit for your customer. Further, post COVID-19, the messaging we use will need to understand the persona of the new customer, post pandemic. By tapping into your consumers’ purchase decisions today, businesses can gain actionable insight, develop a profitable sales strategy and adapt to the new hybrid consumer culture.
COVID-19 has shaken the world. The B2B culture has changed and may never be the same. Businesses have had to operate with sensitivity and compassion first and prioritise this over getting the next deal over the line. The last six months has been about maintaining and building strong relationships, operating with compassion and sensitivity, learning more about target audiences and their shifting demands and how we can meet our customers where they are. While the pandemic has left B2B organisations with no choice but to do so, all of these things should continue to form a significant and important part of our marketing and sales strategies in 2021, regardless of where we stand in the pandemic. While this year has been tough on organisations and individuals alike, hopefully the way we have pivoted and operated informs how operate post-pandemic and that we continue to learn and grow to unlock our full B2B potential.
To learn more about this article, contact one of our digital marketing specialists. Most importantly, we hope you are staying safe and well during these tough times.