From the worst situations come creativity and innovation. B2B tech companies are stepping up in preparation to thrive in the new normal.
As our work from home lives have days and weeks blurring together, there are early signs that a re-opening of the economy is on the horizon. By the time this happens, most of us will have spent over 2 months at home, while our companies and our customers have found a new way of doing business.
For Incisiv and our Technology Clients, it’s been a breath of fresh air to connect on a weekly basis to share ideas, concerns and of course, the streaming TV shows we all have to watch.
During our calls the last few weeks we’ve touched on several core discussion themes such as personal development (by the way, B2B Marketers are NOT flush with time to take classes and learn new skills) as well as changes in marketing strategies & tactics being implemented during the crisis. Most have paused or cancelled a campaign over concerns of tonality and message and some have had to make tough decisions on staffing, etc. However, it was encouraging to hear that during these nutty times, innovation has taken hold and there is a strong desire that practices implemented and relationships built during this crisis will continue in the new normal.
‘Surgical’ focus on approach to marketing and targeting prospects
With the segments inside of retail experiencing dramatically different realities, marketers are taking the time to break down their prospects by highly finite groupings. While many are at the 1:1 account based marketing (ABM) level, many others are taking some of the best practices of ABM to tailor messages and campaigns to address the challenges of a specific retailer or a sub-segment of retailers. Marketers are taking the time to better understand accounts and segments, which is something that will lead to more effective campaigns going forward.
In addition, many B2B tech companies are taking the time to uncover instances where clients aren’t utilizing their solutions to their fullest capacity. In doing so, they can help them derive new value from a solution already in place or in some cases, a piece of the solution they can upgrade to. This helped their clients pivot to address challenges that weren’t on their radar 3 months ago. It likely generated more goodwill than revenue, which is the more appropriate strategy today.
Better collaboration between sales / business development and marketing
The age-old friction between sales / business development and marketing has been well documented. Many tech companies are seeing the unforeseen benefit of the ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality take hold inside their companies. Whereas investments like ABM were previously met with skepticism by sales, they now see it as a lifeline to not only deliver qualified leads but to better understand who they are selling to. For one marketer in our merry band of teetotalers and lushes, he said in this very short period we’ve been locked down, sellers have come to expect the intelligence that ABM is giving them. And that shouldn’t change going forward.
Another marketer stated that for years he’s been trying to convince his sellers to expand their targets beyond the 2-3 personas they believed were their buyers. As opportunities have contracted, he’s seen a broader willingness from sales to target different personas with the messages marketing has developed for them and from that, a few opportunities have developed.
Beyond our core B2B Tech participants, we’ve had the perspective from a venture capitalist (he’s invested in a tequila company so a perfect fit for our happy hours) and he offered a very cogent insight: In this current situation, try new things. If you find something that is working, this is one of those rare times where you have the willingness from your organizations to really build upon it and set the strategy in place to come out of this with a better plan.
While I’ve never been the ‘motivational quote’ type person, participating in these sessions for the last month really has been enlightening and encouraging. I found one quote I thought was a great synopsis of what we can make of this situation: “Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path”. While there are no doubt personal situations that are truly devastating, professionally I’ve never seen a greater level of creativity and resolve.
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