All eyes have been focused upon the financial impacts associated with COVID-19 since it first appeared in spring 2020. Unfortunately, this global health crisis has had severe economic effects upon the B2B community and some businesses have been forced to cease their operations entirely. Firms need to modify many traditional B2B sales strategies in order to cope with a changing world. Let us therefore examine five takeaway points which should be implemented going forward.
Appreciate the Perspective of B2B Customers
Nearly 75% of all B2B customers state that preserving liquidity and curtailing needless expenditures will represent their most dominant concern in the coming months. Thus, it only stands to reason that sellers need to appreciate how this mind-set may impact the sales and conversion pipeline. Clients are no longer looking for one-off solutions intended to deliver results. They have instead begun to place an emphasis upon sustainability within a changing economic climate. B2B enterprises that appreciate such perspectives will place themselves in an excellent position for subsequent growth.
Prepare for a Longer Sales Conversion Process
The average B2B customer is more hesitant to commit to a substantial purchase. Clients are likely to require longer periods of time to evaluate a specific product or service. Furthermore, they may also become more scrutinizing. These are completely understandable perspectives, and businesses need to be ready to allay these concerns in order to finalize a sale. Businesses that are able to engender a sense of trust during such a crucial time will be much more likely to cement a sense of brand loyalty for years into the future.
Focus On Targeted and Proactive Research
Research has always been key to better understand the correct demographic and to expedite the conversion process. However, we now need to take such a concept a step further. The average consumer is dealing with incredible levels of economic hardship. This will obviously impact sales margins. Therefore, B2B organizations need to focus on the customers of their customers. How can this be achieved?
Such a feat largely involves segmenting various demographics in accordance with specific products and services. A handful of strategies which can prove to be useful in this sense include:
- A more in-depth analysis of big data
- Examining the success (or the lack thereof) attributed to the closest competitors
- Encouraging timely and proactive feedback to determine the efficacy of an ongoing marketing campaign
Emphasize Deliverable Value
The notion of value has likewise been redefined throughout these trying times. B2B customers are no longer simply searching for a product or service that meets their needs from an ROI point of view. They instead require a much more sustainable approach that can deliver long-term results. Of course, this once again translates directly back to the end user. Assuming that all other variables are equal, B2B clients are much more likely to remain loyal if they feel that they are being offered quality as opposed to cost savings alone.
The Increased Relevance of CRM
Similar to the digital bedrock associated with sound search engine optimization techniques, customer relationship management (CRM) represents the foundation for success in a post-COVID world. However, the amount of effort devoted to this metric should be dramatically increased. Here are a handful of suggestions to consider:
- Focusing on every aspect of the buying journey
- Providing second-to-none levels of support during the conversion process
- Nurturing leads through feedback and engagement.
- Establishing a dedicated customer support team
- Creating targeted marketing campaigns based off of previous buying habits
- When fiscally possible, providing more value through bulk B2B discounts and loyalty programs
Many industry leaders will argue that the most profound change to expect in a post-COVID world involves the massive importance of developing a robust CRM strategy.
Remaining One Step Ahead
Ultimately, enterprises that are willing and able to adopt the methods outlined above should perform well in the near future. It is still important to emphasize that this is a fluid situation, which is why flexibility is likewise key. Above all, attending to the needs of B2B customers will take on an even more important role than ever.