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Cassandra Nordyke - 03.23.2020

How to Keep your Funnel Full during COVID-19

B2B businesses are facing major uncertainty as it relates to lead generation with cancelations of trade shows and major events worldwide that serve as critical avenues for generating leads and meeting face-to-face with prospects. Below are a few ways B2B businesses can shift their focus to digital strategies and tactics while still building rapport with potential customers virtually.


Video is your friend. 

While client dinners and meetings may be frowned upon at the moment, video is a great alternative to face-to-face meetings. As it relates to content that you would typically share during client meetings, think about leveraging longer form videos for more engaged prospects and short (30 seconds to one minute) videos to capture your new prospect’s attention. Virtual reality (VR) is also another great tool to consider using for training and ‘walk-throughs’ that can’t take place in person.


Shift your focus to digital media. 

Even though trade shows and major events have been canceled, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to feed your funnel and make meaningful connections. A great way to do this is through digital media. Consider shifting your marketing dollars to paid digital media, which allows you to reach the right people, with the right content, in a super-efficient way. We (you, me and your prospects) are all in the same boat, likely working remotely. This is the perfect time to be consuming content to help you further your development, along with your business development. Whether it’s through paid social, display, sponsored content or even paid search, people are connected to their devices, consuming content now more than ever. Gartner reports that over Chinese New Year, China saw a 20% increase in smartphone screen time versus the same period the previous year. While in Italy, the country with most confirmed cases after China so far, brands are already seeing increases in online traffic to their sites and social media.


Webinars are not dead. 

Don’t worry; your time wasn’t wasted preparing for upcoming events, instead, go digital and set up webinars to show off the content you already had prepared for prospects that were to attend your event. This will also open up the possibility of reaching more prospects.  

  


Use chatbots to engage with site visitors.

Utilize chatbots to engage with your audience who is already interested in your company and visiting your website. Chatbots can fit into your sales tactics in many ways, establishing a relationship when prospects are researching has always been a struggle. Chatbots allow you to intersect that research phase and help direct them to the information they are searching for, starting the connection and conversation at an extremely early stage.


Many chatbots also have features that allow you to pre-qualifying leads by asking and collecting data or even scheduling a meeting/demo while also circulating leads evenly amongst your sales teams as they come in. 


Lastly, if your products and services can help people during this time of crisis utilizing chatbots as a way to provide quick response and 24/7 support is critical. According to industry leader Drift, 75% of chat respondents expect an instant response, and we’re moving toward a marketplace where 85% of customer interactions take place via AI. 

Tap into social.

There are many resources available for you and your sales team to take advantage of to network virtually and better research your target accounts without having to leave your home. Here’s a list of some of the top resources we recommend utilizing:


Also, ensure your sales personnel are tapping into their own social media and/or personalized emails to distribute content, as well. 

Improve or build your ABM tactics and strategy. 

Depending on the services you offer, you can use this time to evaluate your pipeline. Are there accounts that need your company's solutions/services during this time? In addition, make sure you are continuing to connect and engage with your clients in your pipeline. A few examples of ways you can engage with your clients during this time is to:

  • Find out your prospect's favorite local coffee shop or restaurant and buy a gift card, supporting both local businesses and showing you have done your research. 

  • Send personalized handwritten notes while everyone is flooding their email inbox.


Don’t forget about your current book of business. 

It is important to show support to your current customers at this time and ensure you are providing as much guidance on how you and your company can be an asset to them. Are you enjoying this blog post? Send a quick email with a link and let them know you are thinking of them and are here to help!


Personalize your one-to-one emails and Inmail. 

Now is the time to get personal and do your research. No more copying and pasting the same generic message and sending it to every prospect and customer. Take the time to tailor your message and ensure you are showing value to your prospects and customers and/or addressing their pain points. 


Where to go from here

Rather than seeing the recent events as a dead-end to your marketing plans, look at it as an opportunity to think about your business differently. During this time of uncertainty, the teams that can pivot quickly, think differently and show compassion will be the ones that come out stronger than ever. We are all going through this together, so remember to lean on your partners to find solutions. 


  1. Leverage key insights and analytics to help pivot your marketing strategy and make educated decisions supported by data.

  2. Consider setting up a daily cross-functional recurring standup to check-in with sales and marketing to monitor and measure your efforts during this time.

  3. Shake things up. Business is not, as usual, so your strategy shouldn’t be either. How can you achieve your goals in a completely digital way? Stay nimble and flexible.

 

 

 

Have 5 minutes? Check out our e-book, "Navigating Business NOT As Usualthat highlights how B2B & B2C organizations can be nimble in times of uncertainty.

 

 

About Sagepath

Sagepath is a digital agency based in Atlanta that takes pride in bringing together a cross-functional team of experts to match the needs of any marketing and website redesign project, from digital transformation strategy and user experiences to enterprise development. To learn more about how we can help please contact us at https://www.sagepath.com/.