Re-imagining the Covid-19 B2B Sales Playbook: 4 Steps to Start With
We are all witnessing the first-hand effects and economic impacts of COVID-19 and how it is changing consumer behavior. Here are a few ways for sales leaders to adapt.
As countries slowly lift pandemic-induced restrictions and businesses start to reopen, it is time to prepare for the “new normal”. Over the last few months of partial or total lockdowns, marketing and sales has had to revisit their processes to adjust to the changing challenges and times induced by the pandemic.
However sales teams choose to move forward while focusing on building lasting business relationships with prospects and existing customers; it is clear that a better breakdown of insights and data, better understanding of current mindsets and changing trends in buying behavior due to Covid-19 is key to planning well for the months to come.
Keeping in mind the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, harnessing more creativity and empathy in every sales outreach is critical now more than ever. What sales and marketing need to focus on more is thinking about what their customer will want or need more of in the new normal.
The last few months have uncovered certain important changes in buying trends and online user behaviors, even in tech and B2B. These few steps can help Sales teams rewrite their sales playbook for the new normal keeping some of these in mind.
Expanding Digital Borders and Sales Outreach to Global Industries
Even though several companies across a multitude of sectors had to suffer layoffs or furloughs as a consequence of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the subsequent loss of business; while buying budgets came to a freeze for many companies, businesses and individual users did feel the need to invest in the right tech stack to help support their growing need to work from home during this time, besides which, businesses across other non-tech sectors who had to quickly adapt to a remote strategy soon felt the need to invest in the right software to adjust to the changing normal of the last few months and find better ways to digitize all their processes, including their sales and marketing.
This is where sales and marketing teams in tech and B2B have immense opportunity to identify a new blindspot and use the support of sophisticated targeting practices and sales technologies to inform and attract these new prospects.
Buying intent has changed, there is a new need for new technologies to support the new normal, this is the time for sales and marketing teams to use the tools at their disposal to manage their large amounts of customer data with the aim of personalizing offers, messaging and communication for each segment.
Sales and marketing teams who use analytics to help track customer preferences from a granular level will be able to respond to and identify new opportunities in this changing marketplace faster. Existing analytics systems and predictive analytics efforts may need to be remodeled to adjust to the new normal and changing customer mindset.
Product Roadmap to Align with the Changing Times
E-services adoption in on the rise and the new normal is only accelerating the pace at which people have to adapt to digital-first methods in most areas of their life, be it their banking and shopping needs or medical requirements, the Covid-19 pandemic has paved the way for medtech to offer online scanning and instant medical consultations to help critically ill patients better manage their home care efforts, for instance.
For tech sales and marketing teams; understanding what new features and capabilities your potential customer would benefit from, if it were part of your product offering whether in the form of a service or product will be the key to thriving through the new normal and ensuring business continuity. Adapting a product roadmap to changing consumer and user preference; offering a range of all-in-one services via custom dashboards, building a stronger partner ecosystem, focusing on new plugin capabilities from other providers are some of the instant innovations that will help sales and marketing grab more market share.
Personalizing the Sales experience with a Local Influence
In an at-home environment where both the seller and buyer are probably working remote from home, personalizing the sales experience takes on a new meaning. Hyper-personalization became a buzzword in sales and marketing over the last few years but today, at a time when both parties in a business interaction are adjusting to the new normal where #stayinghome is akin to #stayingsafe – personalizing the user experience may also mean that sales will now have to localize the customer experience. Now is the time for businesses to understand how they can localize marketing efforts or sales messaging to create that connect with new prospects. Sales messages tailored to different neighborhoods / regions – based on your target list, value-add information about the Covid-19 pandemic in their area or region will help teams stand out from other brands despite it being a market where customer buying trends and tech investment choices are rapidly changing.
Creating trust keeping in mind that – Health and Self-care is on everybody’s mind
Sales leaders have constantly reiterated the importance of building trust during these times, customers don’t want to be sold to when there are other challenges to think about.
Health and well-being are now top of mind concerns for people. Adjusting to the new normal for sales and marketing now also means sharing inputs with prospects and customers on better cleaning and disinfection procedures (for their businesses and while at-home), sharing creative ways or tips to ensure self protection with the right gloves and masks, tips on maneuvering more contactless activities in business and day to day life, etc.
Rewriting the sales playbook for the new normal will require a new set of fundamentals. Sales and marketing teams have to now focus on delivering a seamless customer experience across devices and channels customers use while they are largely at-home: a media mix that includes marketing or selling via Alexa or Google Home, using video conferencing platforms to channel a sales message in a more interactive way, navigating the new economy to create a more customer oriented multi-device, multi-channel digital sales journey is set to be the basis in the new normal.