As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, millions of workers have been quarantined and are working from home in an effort to slow the rate of infection. And while employee safety is paramount, organizations are still responsible for marketing and generating revenue to keep their business healthy.
The changes wrought by the novel coronavirus are forcing buyers and sellers to rethink how they do business. With public health officials advocating social distancing amid economic disruption and uncertainty, face-to-face activities and familiar practices are not likely to return anytime soon.
Let’s look at what’s changing and explore how content marketing and digital assets can go beyond simply filling today’s gaps.
Fewer Industry Events
Tradeshows have long been the gold standard for generating demand, capturing leads, and connecting with customers. But as we’ve all experienced, cancellations are now the norm and are likely to continue through the second quarter, at a minimum. Some events may not even return next year, and those that do will likely face fewer exhibitors and attendees.
One of the more important benefits of face-to-face interaction at tradeshows is the ability to qualify buyers and assess what’s needed to convert them into leads. You can still fill the sales funnel using online content and interactive digital assets. These digital marketing solutions, especially interactive assessments and tools, are a great way to gather information to help engage and qualify buyers.
Less Business Travel
With most air travel curtailed these days, it is not currently feasible to jump on a plane for a face-to-face meeting with a customer. But it’s still critical to connect with buyers during the sales process. Buyers need guidance and insights into solving their business problems, and a personal conversation can quickly quantify the value of your solution.
There are a multitude of platforms available for conducting online meetings and videoconferences, which are essential for establishing and maintaining connections. Be aware that as these technologies become “the new normal,” they can be perceived as a waste of time if they are used to simply “touch base.”
Make your online meetings productive and valuable by having a clear purpose and agenda for the call. Use the opportunity to anticipate buyers’ concerns and deliver value to their journey. Focus on selling the problem you solve. And don’t fall into the trap of showing a demo because it’s an easy activity to conduct online. Instead, have a meaningful conversation that benefits all parties.
Larger Remote Workforce
The large-scale displacement of workers from their physical place of employment will be studied by experts for years. The experiences of these new remote workers will diverge greatly. Some will work 80-hour weeks on critical issues like reestablishing supply chains while others will be left to wondering how to do their jobs and fill their time.
Online engagement will rise sharply as remote workers adjust to their new life and search for ways to deliver more value in their roles. Because they will spend more time searching for solutions, sellers who create a strong online presence can attract their attention and open opportunities for engagement. As suggested earlier, digital marketing assets are an excellent strategy for doing so, with the added benefit of qualifying buyers and converting them to leads.
In this time of uncertainty, some industries will face unrecoverable demand loss or delayed demand. Yet others might see the acceleration of strategic, longer term initiatives that customers were already starting to consider.
However it works out, recognizing and planning for the changing buyer journey now is critical. Take advantage of the tools and technologies available to support and engage buyers and continue filling your sales pipeline.
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