5 MIN. READ
Even with a vaccine on the horizon, the specter of COVID-19 looms large over your operations and those of your customers. So, the adage "Proper prior planning prevents poor performance” is especially true as you solidify your marketing strategy to increase sales in 2021.
In addition to the vaccine, governments and businesses are learning more about mitigating COVID-19's spread, allowing health and economic concerns to be addressed at the same time without adversely affecting one another.
In January 2020, the world was just beginning to experience the pandemic and its widespread effect. As your company approaches 2021, uncertainty remains, but you also bring with you the lessons learned in 2020, allowing you to be more proactive in your sales and marketing initiatives.
In the words of Bill Gates, "Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent."[i]
Take a look at a few steps you can take to help you gain more audience interest in the new year as you establish your new sales and marketing strategies.
With many of your employees and those of your clients working from home, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the latest technologies.
Step 1 – Upgrade Your Website
If your clients can’t find you or if your website is too confusing to use once they locate you, your website is not performing its function as part of your sales and marketing funnel.[ii] Simple search engine optimization (SEO) brings your company to the top of the list when your clients perform a search for your products, helping to solidify your marketing strategy. Once they find you, make sure that your clients and leads find a website that is easy to navigate. Provide clear examples of your work or product, and highlight applicable certifications that you hold. Increase sales by making it easy for the purchasing agents to decide that your product is the one they need.
Step 2 – Investigate Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) helps you analyze the mass quantities of data you have on hand regarding current customers. Solidify your marketing strategy by using this data to develop customer personas that tailor your marketing messages to each group of potential clients, increasing the chances that they will choose your product.
Step 3 – Try Digital Events
If your company would normally host a conference to introduce a new product to your best customers, hold a virtual event instead.[iii] Conference-hosting technology has improved by leaps and bounds, allowing for an informative, entertaining and interactive event that will increase sales.
Your customers are your greatest assets. Treat them as such, and they will return the favor, helping you to increase sales.
Step 1 – Use your Customers to Control your Branding
Today’s buyers, whether personal or business, grew up in the age of technology. They will not hesitate to leave negative feedback on social media should your product fail to live up to expectations.[iv] On the flip side, if your customers are impressed with your product, their opinions will increase your lead generation and conversion and serve as a vital link to solidify your marketing strategy.
Step 2 – Upgrade your Chatbots
Customers expect a personal experience when making major purchases. Technology has advanced to the point where chatbots can do much more than simply take messages.[v] Upgraded chatbots can answer complicated product questions, direct customers to simple repair instructions and conduct realistic conversations that meet customer needs.
Step 3 – Develop Meaningful Content
Often, customers and leads aren’t interested in purchasing a product immediately. They are performing research, trying to learn more about an industry topic or looking for guidance on efforts that will help them grow their own businesses. Each of these reasons represents solid, meaningful content that you could provide on your website.[vi] Solidify your marketing strategy by creating such articles to position your company as an industry expert to which customers will turn when they are ready to purchase.
While lead generation and sales funnels are an important part of a strong marketing plan, don’t neglect your current customers in favor of pursuing new avenues.
Step 1 – Revisit Account-Based marketing
Your current customers already know and are loyal to your brand. Reaching out to these customers to ask how your company can assist theirs through the pandemic is the first step in customer retention.[vii] Perhaps you have new products of which your current customers were not aware. Perhaps these products could help them regain their footing in uncertain times. They will definitely remember you when they are ready to purchase, and they'll speak well of your company on their social media platforms, both of which will help you increase sales.
Step 2 – Explore Business Marketplaces
In spite of the popularity of sites such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay, business marketplaces are often overlooked as a source of revenue.[viii] For B2B companies, a business marketplace may take the shape of a vertical silo such as IndustryNet, which lists 400,000 U.S.-based manufacturers and suppliers of more than 11,000 products, parts and services. The vertical silo approach makes it easy for one manufacturer to find another similar company to partner on a project with or to provide parts as a step in secure supply chain planning.
Step 3 – Lead with Compassion
Whether contacting current customers or exploring the possibilities of partnering with another company in a vertical silo, step back and evaluate your company’s core values. Decide on an outreach effort that displays these values in a compassionate manner to solidify your marketing strategy.[ix] A crass call to action such as “Buy now” or “Limited time offer” comes across as uncaring. Instead, show how your company can help other companies or the community at large during this time. For example, “We have reduced the carbon footprint in creating our air circulation systems so that you and your employees can breathe easier,” shows that your company is not only interested in the safety of others but also in the lasting environmental impacts of your operations.
Always remember, just as your company is struggling to solidify your marketing strategy and increase sales, your client companies are experiencing the same angst. An agile, technology-oriented, customer-centric and compassionate strategy will guide your customers to your product rather than pressuring them into purchasing before they are ready to do so.
Once you have improved and established your strategies, the next step is contacting prospects. With IndustrySelect, you have access to a database of over 400,000 US manufacturers. There, you can find valuable contact information that allows you to build a comprehensive list of reliable leads. To learn more about how IndustrySelect can help you optimize your sales and marketing initiatives, visit our website or start your free demo.