Although the chaos of 2020 is far from over, most of us have begun to feel a sense of organization amid the pandemonium. That said, despite day to day routine of remembering your mask when you go to Little Victories, or the pure enjoyment of making your own espresso at home (me!), many in traditional face-to-face and B2B sales & marketing teams are still uncertain how to effectively contribute.
Learn about 5 changes in B2B marketing that are here now, and staying put:
1. Virtual Tradeshows
As CMOs work to finalize their 2021 budgets, tradeshows will be a hotly contested line-item. There are simply too many advantages to virtual events to ignore:
- Broader reach
- Better data collection from attendees
- Longer range of customer interaction
- Lower cost of execution
- Lower CO2 emissions! (Travel, shipping, physical production)
When it comes to driving value to the business, I believe that 8/10 sales professionals (or more) would prefer an increase to their client expense account for corporate gifting, client meals or other forms of direct selling, versus another centralized conference or tradeshow. Innovation of these virtual events will also continue at a rapid pace. If you were unfortunate enough to attend a bootstrapped virtual conference in April, the experience and tools available today are Netscape Navigator to Google Chrome. This advancement can only continue as personalization technology improves and tie directly into ROI calculators in your CRM – not just an Excel list of scanned badges.
2. Buyers look for partners not suppliers
Yes, yes, we all know this… but it has taken on new meaning in 2020. With a digital and remote workforce, many successful B2B companies have been able to weave their way into their clients’ workflow. Clients have shown suppliers a more vulnerable side and those suppliers who can deliver and build trust are going to win.
One method companies are using to project partnership is through free content, tutorials, and webinars. By not hiding resources behind a pay wall, buyers can get a feel for how a company will support them through implementation, usage, and troubleshooting.
3. Blending of Inside and Field Sales
With so much of the sales cycle falling into the digital and virtual realm, the roles and responsibilities of inside and field sales have never been more convoluted. So that leads to the thought – why do we still need delineation? For many industries, the answer is going to be – we do not. Buyers need a quick, convenient, and agile point of contact – but still demand a relationship. Sales professionals will need to learn a few more skills and wear a few more hats in the years to come.
4. Marketing automation will finally be adopted by the laggards
Data is the new gold and marketing professionals who have not adopted data driven strategies will be forced to adapt. Industries that traditionally rely on relationship channels will need to invest heavily to catch up, because first movers are leaning in.
5. Marketers will invest across the lifecycle of a buyer’s journey
A marketer’s dream is to have every customer be a brand evangelist. Relying on the product to speak for itself is naïve. The path to evangelism is more than a one–stop journey, it’s a multi-point interaction that builds a connection. Companies are investing in omni-channel messaging strategies that ensure brand cohesion from initial contact, discovery, research, sales, on-boarding, technical support and even billing.
This is what I am seeing, hearing and reading. What’s next in B2B marketing post COVID-19? Tweet @AcartComm and let us know!