8 Top Lessons B2B Businesses Learnt from the Pandemic
2021 started with a ray of hope especially after the overly-pessimistic year we left behind. It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and although because of pandemic, it is a little faded, 2020 also has a bright side which we must acknowledge moving forward.
Businesses took up a lot of risks when it came to changing and adjusting marketing strategies throughout the pandemic. Immediate digitalization, remote working, and new technologies shaped the major shifts in the way we worked and changed sales in a way that might never go back to pre-pandemic times. Let’s recapitulate the important lessons.
1. Buyers are the heart and soul of a business!
The pandemic that forced businesses to slice their budgets, had a similar impact on clients as well. They were no longer open to looking at products and services, slowing down the new sales pipeline for most B2B companies.
Sellers felt the need to slide into the shoes of buyers and look at things from their perspective. They started to understand the challenges faced by their prospects and figure out a way to solve them with the limited resources available. The stereotypical sales industry brought out its humanitarian side and transformed into a helping hand.
77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience to help them connect with the brand. Taking the center stage during the pandemic, they have proved their worth for any business.
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2. Sales is no more just art – it’s also Science!
Pre-pandemic, selling was more art than science – passion, experience, and a few right techniques served the purpose. There was no real definition of looking for leads, qualifying them, and guiding them through the funnel; it was just something you did with your creativity.
Slumping sales post the pandemic compelled B2B marketers to target leads based on data and analytics. The whole new era of digital marketing brought with it an overwhelming amount of consumer data, which is further being harnessed by sellers to provide a more streamlined service to their potential clients.
Queries are being answered without any delay and every content-piece goes through various quality checks before getting published. Further, B2B organizations have also started to capitalize on advanced tools and technologies which ensure accurate and less-complex purchases.
3. Flexibility will always be rewarded
2020 was notundercutsone of the ordinary years. It had a dozen challenges, apart from the ones faced in your professional life. Some lost their dear ones, some used the family time, some couldn’t wait to get back to normal. All of us had enough to deal with.
Sales reps have had to tailor their way of approach with the assumption that buyers are also dealing with the same problems. It might just be the worst time to pitch for a product. Even the leaders have also had their share of a struggle trying to keep the team optimistic and focused.
The flexibility, now drilled into them, will continue to facilitate in communicating better and thriving as an organization.
4. B2B messaging should be more human
More than anything, the pandemic taught us humanity. We learned to be more considerate towards others, not knowing when things might head south. This impacted B2B businesses as well.
With the crunch that awaited the industry, companies tried their best to sympathize with their clients and stand together in the time of crisis. Being completely aware of the situation at hand, marketers sent out messages that were more reassuring in nature, than salesy. They monitored the statistics, checked the sales, and adapted themselves to a new reality every day.
Enterprises also realized that they were not money-minting robots, but flesh and skin that needed to have the best interests of their clients in mind before they went to pitch.
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5. Alignment between sales and marketing teams is imperative
Cooperation between the two teams was an important topic of discussion even before, but 2020 turned into a necessity. With the pandemic forcing businesses to perfect their future plans, it was the alignment of sales and marketing that saved the day – it closed deals 67% better.
At a time when company-client communication was absolutely important, the teams’ efficient collaboration ensured that their brand messaging was heard. The teams also invested in various software and platforms to work hand-in-hand in qualifying leads and closing big-ticket clients. It also prevented them from investing time in prospects that were less likely to convert.
Remote working does not necessarily mean poor communication or collaboration and it was further proved by the customer’s delightful buying experience.
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6. Digitization is the ONLY way ahead
It is undoubtedly the most important takeaway for marketers. Stuck at home with no meetings or greetings, digital platforms or mediums were the only way to communicate with consumers and prospects.
While the budgets were under cuts, digital marketing proved to be a savior with its cost-effectiveness. The dinners and conferences also turned virtual and were now conducted via video conferencing platforms. Long story short, the efficiency of consumer service was now identified by how well you serve your clients through the screen.
Without the hassle of travel or formal dressing, buyers and sellers have now conveniently adapted to this new way of business. Did you know that 62% of B2B buyers can make a purchase based on digital content? If you don’t exist online, you probably don’t exist at all. And this is not going to change any soon; this is the new normal and it’s as here to stay!
7. Sell from anywhere, everywhere.
You do not need the intimidating conference rooms anymore. Do it from the comfort of your home. Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model, and more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.
Scattered in various parts of the city, state, and even country, sales reps learned to communicate with the team and pitch their products online to the prospects. Although face-to-face communication can never be recreated on digital mediums, cheerful presentations and case studies come in handy while adapting to this new method.
Even after the pandemic is gone, workers are hoping to continue working remotely with the help of digital tools and kits. So, now you know why I am saying “Sell from anywhere, everywhere!”
8. Your toolkit can make all the difference.
Remote working is impossible without a rightly chosen toolkit. In the post-pandemic world, most transactions are digital. So, if you fail to invest in the right tools, it is sure to impact your whole business altogether.
Create a package of tools that will help you plan, create, engage and monitor. Any tool that helps in communication, as Google Drive falls will ensure smooth collaboration in the team. Further, invest in content tools like the MS Office pack and other software that facilitate content curation. HubSpot, WordPress, and your social media apps can be used to drive engagement from consumers. Did you know almost 80% of marketers say increasing engagement across multiple social media channels is their top goal? And lastly, tools like Google Analytics, Mention, and Mixpanel can help track your progress.
Pick a combination of these killer tools to equip yourself to work in this challenging situation. Who knows it might give you the edge you needed?
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The B2B market was evolving even before the pandemic and it has continued doing so throughout the crisis. There are numerous heroic cases of marketers and sales leaders who took up the challenge of selling virtually and remotely, altering their strategies all along and emerging triumphant after the whole chaos settled down. They saw the disruption, not as a hindrance, but as a challenge, assisting their transformation to a new version of themselves earlier in the race.
The things you learned during the pandemic are vital, irrespective of whether you learned it the hard way or knew it from the very beginning. The world is slowly moving back to normal along with new opportunities knocking on your doors. You just need to be prepared with a foolproof strategy to knock it down. There are only happy days ahead!
So, are you prepared for the post-pandemic World? If not,
we can help!