Don’t Kill your B2B Marketing

Lynda St-Arneault – 1 May 2020

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Today we’re facing a lot of uncertainty and this inevitably affects the companies and B2B marketing decisions we make. Let’s try to find, in all this chaos, a time for opportunity.

Let’s stay active!

Our decisions will have an impact on our entire ecosystem, starting with the people who make it up. From the outset, activate your internal communications with your world and with your community. Show leadership in your communications and demonstrate that you are present.

That’s why I’d rather talk about slowing down, rather than stopping all together, with my team. We will take this moment to review (actions, attitudes, processes, technologies, etc.), move away from them a little and, think about other ways of doing things that can be more beneficial. We can even think about this with regards to our customers, our suppliers and the community. We’re not on vacation!

At ExoB2B, we live this situation with the belief that we can only do better. This is also why we choose to slow down some of our B2B marketing “activities” in order to better create others that we believe are more relevant to the current situation and will have a tangible impact over time. We want it anyway!

More concretely, the objective of this post is to share an experience with a company that preferred to put a brake on its marketing.

Here’s the short story:

We are developing a new account. The potential client is a very good SME in the IT field and will need to deploy a significant international growth strategy. This growth strategy includes adding a new product to its current service offering and, better penetration of the natural market.

In short, the planned work covers several important issues, including delays in launching this new product in new markets (diversification = higher risks). As you will have understood, all this requires a fairly careful preparation if you want to be ready for the beginning of summer.

As a result, the digital strategy must also align itself with this diversification.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus crisis “landed” on Monday morning, March 15th. Some projects are being carried over to a few clients, which is normal. Surprisingly, this particular and very strategic project, is put on hold instantly and all marketing is “off” too.

I understand what is going on, I have a business and I have experienced several empty passages.

Moreover, I also understand with 30 years of practice, that one of the first functions that is put on the bench, is marketing. So, we should leave the client on ‘ice’ and go on the offensive with them. In the long run, the defense is able to do little, and everything will collapse.

More importantly, let’s go back to this company… During our exchanges, we understood that this was a growth strategy necessary to address short- and medium-term challenges. Something that cannot be improvised.

In an ideal B2B marketing world, everything would have gone according to plan. In a disaster scenario, everything stops. This is not the case at the moment.

Here’s what I would advise this company in a situation as it is now, that gives us the opportunity to do what we never have time to do. Even though we know it’s important!

Start by doing an analysis of your entire digital ecosystem. Then, you can correct the situation according to the expected growth strategy and your results.

Your website, blog and rich content

Take the time to analyze your reports and/or performance dashboards: SEO, where your traffic comes from, visitor behavior and conversions, etc.

Is your content aligned with the needs of your new markets?

Your CRM 

When was your last “housekeeping” done: bad entries, duplicates, oversights, dubious configuration, unnecessary reporting, non-existent marketing process (hahaha!).

Thoroughly analyze your funnels and pay attention to your opportunities, contact them. Stay close to them more than usual, even if they’re not a client.

It’s hard to talk about CRM without talking about marketing and sales automation. Do you have “scores” developed based on the progress of the purchasing process and the activities of your contacts/accounts? If so, they should point you to which short-term actions to take.  If you don’t have one, this is a great time to do it.

As everything slows down and is uncertain, we strongly suggest that you do “surgical” marketing. Your resources need to be focused and you need to stay alive.  Be precise and agile!

Your digital channels

  • Social networks and directories:  

Update your corporate profiles on all platforms where you are present and don’t forget Google My Business. Look for and analyze the platforms that are used by the target markets in your diversification. Start creating your profiles and gently integrate communities where you’re not present (listen then talk).

Look at LinkedIn for your north American natural market, especially Sales Navigator.  Let go of the futile!

  • Digital campaigns (Ads)

Look at your results. The competition will be fierce in the coming months. Analyze and take the time to understand your results and the changes that are taking place. Then, also analyze the actions of your future competitors. Get ready! You don’t run campaigns? Doing so can bring you a lot of information by analyzing your statistics and allowing you to fine-tune your strategy. This advice applies if your market is not in full shutdown

Transforming the offline (traditional) component

First thing: your budget. What do you plan to invest in the next 90 days? Will the money you usually invest in networking and trade shows be reassigned to telecommunications tools?

Reassign part of this budget in activities that will allow your sales force to be as efficient as it would normally be (e.g. Webinar).

Down with the silos between sales and marketing:  talk to each other to be agile and optimize your processes by integrating them.

Make sure you’re more present in video.

I only address the short term and elements that can be “operated” quickly and that do not require too much juice. This takes the form of a 90-day plan, reviewed every two weeks or as needed.

We could add elements to that list, but we have to take into account the bandwidth required to operate the plan. Stay practical and rely on data. Be vigilant and agile.

Stay well and share your ideas with us!

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