The first half of 2020 has required substantial adjustment from most people both professionally and personally. Our routines were uprooted and our social interactions greatly modified by COVID-19. Marketing and Sales leaders have adjusted too, shifting their operations and business tactics to meet present challenges. But while we, as individuals, can improve our chances of health and stability by sitting at home and streaming movies, business leaders need to take drastic action to keep their organizations healthy and productive. This is not an easy task, but that makes it all the more necessary.
But where should business leaders start? How do organizations adopt and develop effective strategies quickly? Here are a few suggestions for where to focus your energy as Sales and Marketing teams get back to business.
Create Customer-Centric Marketing Messages
Marketing leaders spend a lot of time and energy developing and coordinating plans to match their business objectives. The four big responsibilities for a CMO right now include rescuing pipeline, navigating change, preserving their brand, and protecting revenue.
Upholding these responsibilities is sometimes difficult, leaving many Marketing leaders to wrestle with a bit of anxiety right now. In fact, some business leaders are asking if brands can—or should—continue to sell and market when the world is not focused on business? A recent survey found that only eight percent of consumers globally think brands should stop advertising altogether due to the coronavirus outbreak. That being said, a resounding 74 percent think companies should not exploit the situation.
Taking both of these statistics into account, the onus is on Marketers to find a balance. This is true for B2C, as the findings above show. But it’s especially appropriate for B2B as target audiences are facing their own challenges such as working with reduced staff or budgets.
Knowing this, it’s vital that Marketing leaders take campaign messaging back to the basics. Namely, understanding their audiences and addressing their pain points with real solutions.
Customers, regardless of B2C or B2B, are less interested in being sold to right now than they are in actual guidance. Therefore, it is up to Marketers to focus on demonstrating value through educational and helpful resources. Consider sharing thought leadership pieces and tell stories of other customers persevering through the current challenges, rather than pushing a hard sell.
Align Daily to Move Quickly
Dramatic cultural and economic changes breed a lot of uncertainty for business leaders. This instability is exacerbated by a lack of collaboration between teams and often results in breakdowns in messaging, teams pulling in opposite directions, or missed opportunities. To stymie or remedy these common issues, business leaders need to align regularly to meet changes as they come and adjust accordingly.
What does this look like in practice? By getting leaders across Marketing, Sales, Customer Success and Finance in a near-daily meeting, teams can align on messaging, pipeline goals and budgeting. This offers everyone a place to air their concerns and match them with real strategies. The keys to a productive meeting of this type are transparency, accountability and proactively solving problems together as an organization.
Things to consider during these check-ins include:
- Creating coherent messaging across Sales, Marketing and Customer Success,
- Identifying impacts and modeling outcomes,
- More narrowly defining ideal customer profiles (ICPs), as these may have changed in the past few months,
- Assessing which programs are generating leads to more aptly aiming budgets and resources,
- And determining the best ways to target ICPs for shorter lead-to-value time.
By aligning daily and promoting open collaboration, business leaders can eliminate aimlessness and allow for teams to pivot together.
The Role of Intelligent Virtual Assistants
As shelter-in-place orders ease and businesses and customers rouse to meet a new normal, organizations may see a surge in demand. While this seems like a welcome occurrence, the truth is that many companies have had to layoff staff and cut resources—in which case, they do not have the means to meet demand.
One strategy to help fill in the gaps is an Augmented Workforce powered by intelligent automation working in tandem with business professionals to drive top-line growth. Organizations leveraging technologies like an Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) see the value it provides in delivering personalized touches to each and every lead and elevating hot leads and scheduling meetings with Salespeople, at scale.
Members of Sales teams only have so many hours per day to do their jobs. This is known as the Sales Capacity Challenge. IVAs help Salespeople focus on high-value tasks (like closing deals) by automating many of the redundant processes Salespeople usually manage (including personalized lead outreach, updating contact information or asking leads if they are interested in scheduling a meeting). IVAs ease similar challenges facing Customer Success teams, thus allowing Customer Success Managers to focus on creative problem solving rather than chasing customers to schedule or reschedule a meeting.
By letting an Intelligent Virtual Assistant do due diligence, your revenue-generating teams can be more diligent in tackling high-value tasks. During a CMO Insights webinar titled “Sales & Marketing Strategies for ‘Getting Back to Business’, guest Rashmi Vittal (CMO at Conversica) shared that in the previous 60 days prior to the webinar, Conversica’s own IVAs actually increased the hot lead rate by 15 percent.
This goes to show that even in this moment of economic decline, organizations cannot give up on Sales and Marketing. Instead, it’s the perfect time to communicate with customers based on their needs, align with your teams on strategy to more aptly push towards your goals, and consider Intelligent Virtual Assistants to attract, acquire and grow customers at scale.
For more great advice on Sales and Marketing strategies for getting back to business, listen to the full webinar hosted by Peter Jacobs of Merritt Group and featuring guests Rashmi Vittal (CMO, Conversica), Russ Cobb (CMO, IronNet Cybersecurity) and Matt Selheimer (CMO, PAS Global).
And prepare yourself for the “new normal” by reading our eBook: An Augmented Workforce for Surviving and Thriving in the New Normal.