The world is changing more quickly and more dramatically than most of us have experienced in our lifetime. The coronavirus will fundamentally alter our lives. It is a lot to wrap your head around.
At the same time, most of us are antsy to identify ways we can move forward. We want to keep doing what we love: creating unique campaigns, communicating with customers, driving a business forward.
To help you move forward, we’ve identified three simple steps:
Feel: Begin at the Beginning
Before you can take action, you must understand your situation. That’s why I believe the very first thing we must do is feel. We must commit the time to wrapping our heads around the present, learning how our environments are shifting, feeling the impact COVID-19 is having on our business, our community and ourselves.
What is frustrating about this step is that, for many of us, the feeling phase may last much longer than we’d like. But because a global pandemic is a new experience for all of us, there is a lot of new information to take in, which takes time. Think of this period like you would a marketing campaign, your very first step is often to collect a lot of data. Feeling is that collection period.
Reflect: Identify the Marketing Work
Once you have taken the time required to understand your situation through feeling, you’re able to move into a period of reflection. The reflection period is all about evaluating the situation to develop a strategy for action.
As B2B marketers, our essential question is what action can I take to help sell? Unfortunately, in times like these the old-standby-style answers are not always correct anymore. Reflecting must entail identifying what actions you can take to help sell in this new environment. Consider what you need today to support a sale in the short term and the long term. You can begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- How is my sales cycle changing? Is my company’s sales cycle increasing or decreasing? Does it require different types of engagement? The virus could be shifting your cycle in ways you don’t imagine. Understanding how it’s changing will help you identify what you need to support it.
- To support the shifting sales cycle, what resources do I need? Identify what prospects need at this moment. Do they need help grasping the new retail environment? Maybe you can support them with a byline article. Do they need advice on creating better digital experiences? Maybe you could offer a free consultation via email.
- What do people need when it comes to communication? The methods you use to communicate may need to change. If you use marketing automation, evaluate campaigns to ensure they empathetically address the situation. If you can, it may be even more effective to create tailored communication for each contact, calling some or waiting to contact others.
No matter what, you can’t go wrong by being compassionate. Asking empathetic questions and offering ways you can help will help us all identify a path forward.
Create: Develop Campaigns and Prepare for the Future
Once you have reflected on how things are changing, you’ll have the information you need to create new marketing efforts. Your sales process is likely changing. The volume and readiness of the pipeline may be altered, but your actual cycle may be decreasing or increasing as well.
If your sales cycle is decreasing, you’ll want to focus on crafting action-oriented campaigns that can help convert prospects quickly. Dive into your data to identify which campaigns were the most effective at converting and dial those up. If an email campaign promoting an ebook has worked particularly well in the past, invest in that campaign. Just make sure the messaging has been updated to more compassionately address the current situation. If an ad on LinkedIn has shown success, maybe it’s time to re-active it, again updating the content and creative in light of the coronavirus.
If your sales cycle is lengthening because of COVID-19, it may be the right time to hunker down and invest time into big projects that will set you up for future success. Events and awards may have been rescheduled but there are things you can control.
We’ve seen that long-form content is the backbone of B2B tech communications. Now is an opportune time to sit down and write. As a general rule, it’s good to have two to four long-form pieces of content (whether a whitepaper, eBook or research report) released per year. These can inspire blog posts, social media posts, ads, print collateral, webinars, articles, proactive pitching and even press releases. Overall, we see them help generate leads, illustrate your expertise and inspire new or ongoing campaigns.
Similarly, this could be a good time to invest in a time-intensive project such as a rebrand, website update, newsletter launch or persona refresh.
Don’t Stop Engaging With the World
Now is our time to rediscover the world. As we feel the impact of the coronavirus on our environments, it can be very challenging to identify a path forward. But by remembering to feel first and then reflect, we’ll be able to identify steps we can take to create our new environment.
You do not have to go through this transition alone. If you are ever looking for perspective, advice or a compassionate ear, we are here to help. We’re in this together. We have your back.