For many small to mid-sized businesses, success is often attributed to networking and relationships; a reliance on the leadership and sales team to be constantly working their network to generate business and drive referrals.
Unfortunately, the world has just changed. As we come to terms with lock-down, and social distancing becomes the new normal for the foreseeable future, many businesses will have to adapt the way they generate opportunities.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN CHANGING
The way businesses have been buying from other businesses has been changing for some time. According to SiriusDecisions, almost eight out of every ten (78%) buying journeys now start online with a search engine and more significant, over two-thirds (70%) of the buying process is now completed before the engagement with a salesperson.
This switch to ‘passive’ engagement is only likely to accelerate in current conditions. With no tradeshows, networking events or face-to-face meetings, reliance on networking alone for new business is going to be far less effective.
HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR STORY?
A statement I frequently hear from small-mid sized business leaders is “When we get in front of a potential buyer we seldom lose; our story is very compelling”. This is great if you can get in front of the right people in a timely manner. For now, this is not likely to be the case; these meetings will not happen and if they do, it is likely that the buying cycle has already progressed so far, that you have lost your opportunity to influence.
On the bright side, what we are seeing is a greater appetite from potential buyers to consume online content. Whether they have more time or it’s becoming the new default option, more people are visiting the websites of potential suppliers, searching for articles on solutions and exploring online what they could be doing differently and what is possible.
The reality is that you still have the opportunity to tell your story, however, the way in which you tell this story has to adapt.
TURNING YOUR ATTENTION TO MARKETING
Regardless of whether there is a general downturn in demand, connecting with potential buyers is going to be tough and this is why marketing is important in ensuring that every engagement counts.
- Making sure your website is fit for purpose is a good starting point. Does it tell your compelling story and draw people in to what it is that makes you different? Does it do you justice?
- When buyers are searching online, make sure they find you. Out of the 78% of people starting their buying journey online, 41% of these only click on the top three search results and we often joke that more people summit Everest than go to page three of a Google search.
- When they get to your site, content is key if you want to engage with potential buyers remotely. You will need something that will grab their attention and succinctly get your message across, complemented with more substance that tells your full story.
Reaching potential buyers means being where they are. If you are reading this blog, it is highly likely you have clicked on it from your social media feed. Today it is all about digital hunting, using social channels and email to serve up the right content to the right buyers at the right time.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT NEW BUSINESS, BUT ALSO CUSTOMERS
It is also important that small and mid-sized businesses retain a focus on their customers. With fewer physical meetings, it is essential you find other ways of keeping that connection.
With a recession inevitable, customer retention is key. Marketing can help to up your game by ensuring that your customer communications maximise the value you offer and uncover new and different ways that you can help them.
THE CREMARC APPROACH
At Cremarc we have created what we believe is one of the best marketing teams in the B2B technology sector. We help our clients to quickly establish effective marketing by providing them with a ready-made outsourced marketing function that enables them to connect with their target market and drive growth.
We would be more than happy to expand on our thoughts about the importance of Marketing during this time and explore how we can help your business. Simply reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.cremarc.com.