5 Ways to Increase B2B Sales for Post-Covid Sales Success
Covid-19 hit businesses of all sizes, in different industries across the globe, hard. One moment we were making plans for 2020 and beyond, the next we were staring at lockdowns, layoffs, and dwindling sales.
Post-Covid, B2B sellers are finding themselves on an even tougher playing field. Buyer needs have changed, others have disappeared entirely, and the decision-making process is taking even longer.
The sellers have to think about the viability of their offerings, existing structures, and the ability to achieve sales goals. It’s tough but still achievable and we’ll be sharing tips on how you can equip your sales team to succeed.
1. Redefine Your Sales Strategic Direction
Your sales strategy must take into consideration the realities of Covid-19. It may be tempting to say, “Team, we have to grow by 200% to make up for last year’s losses.” Rather than throw a number at your sales team, re-evaluate the relevance of your offerings and how your sales processes fit in today’s market. It may be a good time to soften your SMART goals and focus on securing a foothold in the changing business environment.
Identify the sales behaviors you need to achieve your targeted growth. These may include increasing your teams’ skill set, equipping them with relevant tools to boost success, doubling down high-value opportunities. You can seek partnerships with other organizations to bundle your products, offer discounts, or re-design your offerings entirely. It’s not just your B2B sales strategy that needs a new direction, your salespeople need it too.
Covid-19 changed many perceptions, and it’s important for your team to feel confident enough to tackle the new challenges. Set up forums for your team to voice their feelings and address them effectively and efficiently. A solid and supportive foundation will help the team feel comfortable and motivated to work towards the company’s success.
Include the team in goal-setting meetings to create a sense of ownership in the process from the beginning to its outcome. You can also help your team get back into a rhythm quicker by setting realistic short-term goals.
2. Rediscover Your Customer
Customer operations changed drastically because of the pandemic. Businesses that relied on your services pre-Covid may not need them presently, while those that hadn’t considered you may now be willing to buy. A survey by McKinsey, a reliable research company, shows that 55% of businesses were reducing their overall budgets. The remaining 45% were increasing or maintaining them.
This is an exciting time for businesses to rediscover their customers and nurture meaningful connections if they want to stay relevant. Use data and industry insights to know how your customers and leads have been affected by the pandemic. Experts recommend scheduling short video conferences with your customers to empathize with them and listen to their pain points.
The customer will feel appreciated and valued while you’ll have the chance to update your relationships and pick up emerging needs or threats. Doing so will enable you to find innovative ways of providing custom and value-driven solutions for them.
The process may be slightly different for leads. You’ll still need to research their pain points, existing solutions, and competitors who are eyeing the same deal, then you can create custom solutions and present them to the prospects.
3. Revamp Your Content Marketing Strategy
Understand the “new” buyer journey. Sales experts state that post-Covid, most B2B buyers prefer self-guided digital services and remote interactions with humans over in-person engagements.
Today’s buyer has a greater propensity towards conducting online research before reaching out to sales reps. The question becomes, “How well is your content marketing strategy supporting this buyer journey?” Revamp your content to meet the needs of all four stages in the buyer’s journey.
Examples of relevant content include:
- Awareness stage: Potential customers know they have a problem and are open to solutions. They will need social posts, blog posts, research studies, eBooks, and white papers.
- Consideration stage: the B2B buyer is now evaluating potential offerings, prices, and ability to fulfill their needs. Relevant content at this point includes case studies, expert guides, videos, and podcasts.
- Decision stage: here your content should highlight your competitive edge and unique value proposition. Share testimonials, product reviews, case studies, product literature, and demos
- Loyalty stage: the journey doesn’t end with the purchase. Your buyers will look for best practices to help them get the best out of the product/service. Provide user guides/demos, product-focused articles, loyalty programs, surveys, and product updates.
In addition, ensure that your website has a live chat feature where prospects and customers can raise queries and receive an immediate response.
4. Scale Outbound Sales
If you weren’t taking advantage of outbound sales before the pandemic, now is a good time to do so. If you were already using this strategy, scale-up. B2B cold calling when done right, can generate leads you can nurture and convert into revenue.
Like all other strategies, you’ll need to prepare for the call before making it. Not only will it be an effective use of both your time, but you’re likely to be heard. Research your prospect’s name and designation and the challenges their industry is facing following the pandemic.
Mention an initiative or achievement that the contact or their company has done in the recent past. It will give the lead an impression of existing knowledge, build rapport, and warm them towards you. Build the relationship by listening to your lead. It will provide vital information that you can use to educate and offer custom solutions.
Remember to follow up with potential clients to keep them from falling through the cracks. Besides cold calling, you can also leverage the power of cold emailing. We’re not talking about sending generic emails to 1,000 people, rather cold emailing specific leads you intend to nurture into clients
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Personalize the email: like the cold call, research who they are, their values/hobbies, and acknowledge something they’ve done recently.
- Be specific: get to the point by telling them why you’re emailing them. Talk about the problem your product/service can solve. Promise nothing you don’t intend to deliver.
- Plan right: send the emails between 8 – 9 am. Your potential leads will be arriving at work then and can spare a couple of minutes to read through emails.
- Close with a call-to-action: If you don’t tell your reader what to do next, they might not know that you’re waiting on them to respond.
5. Use Virtual Events
With many people still hesitant about in-person events, virtual run events are the way to connect with existing and potential customers. The advantage of virtual run events includes lower overhead costs and the ability to reach a larger audience with measurable results.
These events allow you to measure interaction quality and quantity, giving you a clear sign of the topics your audience resonated with most. Your sales teams can then leverage this information to nurture the leads.
Further, the footage and material from virtual events can be repurposed for your content marketing strategy. Examples of virtual events include multi-day conferences, webinars, live demos, expert panels, how-to-videos, interactive user group sessions, and sales presentations.
To ensure your events are successful:
- Create compelling content that will pull in audiences and keep them engaged
- Ensure your production quality is top-notch. Dark rooms, poor speaker quality, and inaudible speakers are a no-no.
- Schedule a dry run to test the equipment, internet connection strength, ambient noise, and backdrops.
- Promote the event beforehand to ensure it reaches as many people as possible
- Host a short welcome video before the main session to allow audiences to practice logging in
- Consider your audience’s time zones
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.