Closing out 2020 is going to be more of the same experiences, but a bit easier.
All sorts of businesses have had to adjust in many ways in order to ensure business moves in the right direction. As we look back to all the changes and adjustments we’ve made, there are numerous good lessons about marketing planning we’ve learned as a result.
1. We learned the sales cycle can be maintained over phone or video calls.
As a sales rep, you were probably accustomed to going on-site to see for yourself the issue(s) the customer was experiencing. Or, you would send a team-member. Either way, in-person interactions felt vital to your funnel. Now, customers may use Zoom on their device and show you the problem virtually. You ask questions, they get the answer, and the sales cycle continues. Turns out, physical presence wasn’t as necessary as we may have insisted it was.
2. We found out how much we relied on trade shows for sales leads.
The “eggs in one basket” adage definitely applies here. When in-person events were canceled in 2020, a lot of companies’ lead gen tactics came to a grinding halt. Suddenly they had thousands of dollars from their marketing budget that needed to be allocated elsewhere– because trade shows had for so long been their central source of leads. But whenever you evaluated the quality of the leads you used to gather from your trade show booth, was it ever all that you thought it would be? Not usually. Sometimes people just kick the tires at these shows and weren’t actually interested.
So you may have gathered a list of names at trade shows, but what percentage of those leads moved into the sales funnel at all, versus what percentage is now ‘dead’ in your CRM? Chances are, redirecting your trade show budget into digital tactics has been a humbling experience. You’re probably getting far more leads– far more qualified leads, at that – for far less pennies on the dollar.
3. We discovered there’s a good size learning curve for virtual trade shows.
We need to put some muscle into our marketing planning and rethink how to make these shows successful. Everyone is learning on this one– from the teams that manage the show, to the exhibitors trying to figure out the ups and downs of these digital shindigs. Both sides are trying to figure out how the software works and how to maneuver its numerous features. So far, the findings are encouraging. Because the ‘chat’ function is critical in discussions, these events and their features turn out to be decent qualifiers of attendees who are interested in your services– or not. The key now is honing your skills in knowing who’s hot and who’s not.
4. We’ve got better at crafting our message.
In short… it needs to be more concise. Anyone can explain something decently if they take a long time and use a lot of words. It takes skill to communicate quickly and succinctly and to-the-point. Your message becomes highly valuable to audiences that way. It shows that you value their time (and their intelligence).
Where there’s challenging situations in life, some good things will also come out of them, too. Obstacles make us stronger; teach us lessons; and sometimes send us running into somebody or something (like an unexpected tactic or hobby) that soon we’d be loathe to live without. When we’re in the midst of stress and challenges, sometimes we forget to take inventory of the good that might be happening because it’s difficult to recognize. But just when it comes to the pandemic, think about it: would you have made these improvements to your sales tactics or marketing planning without being forced to do it? Probably not. But our understanding of the market and our digital assets is definitely better off for the experience.
What’s Ahead? Welcome 2021!
With this in mind, we now need to think about how to budget and plan for 2021. Waiting until mid-December may be too late, and thinking about how to approach 2021 with or without a vaccine is crucial to new business development.
The marketing planning and sales tactics will be a bit different. However, we do encourage you to take the time now and be creative. Here’s why. Relying on the usual ways of doing digital isn’t going to be enough. Just take email as an example. That digital outlet has been overused. If you intend to keep using it to excess, especially as one of your primary tools, your methods will need to adjust. SalesLeads will get deeper into the subject next month. However, if you have any questions on the subject, now is the time to ask for inclusion in that article.
Make sure you think about marketing and sales in a multi-touch approach. What other channels do you have left if email is too over-used? Plenty.
1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn will ensure you use it properly, as they restrict how much you can or cannot do. So think carefully about with whom you want to connect, and why. Be sure to personalize a note as to why they should connect with you. Think hard on the tangible value you will bring to them– not just the benefit their attention might bring to you.
2. SalesLeads’ Project Reports – These reports are instrumental in pointing you to companies that are expanding, renovating, and/or upgrading equipment. The content on the Project Report gives you insights into what they are looking to accomplish, and by when. You’ll get their contact names, email addresses, and direct phone numbers. Finding leads to go directly into the sales funnel is exactly the type of program needed for 2021. Which leads me to…
3. Calling Efforts – Pick up the phone and call. It always proves to be one of the most effective ways to get the information you’re looking for. Call the contacts on the project report. Because of the amount of emails they are receiving, you have a better chance of their answering the phone or at least calling you back.
SalesLeads has given you plenty to think about: what you’ve accomplished, and what to build upon next. With challenging situations, there’s always a positive element to be found. Let’s look forward to the positives, and keep the focus.