The business world is upside down. Things are chaotic right now, and rightfully so, but there are still signs of hope. Entrepreneurs and business leaders need to think outside the box to help their companies navigate these unprecedented times and hopefully to come out stronger on the other side.
Now is the time to be agile, to be willing to re-evaluate your strategies and change your business models, and to adapt your marketing on the fly. I’m seeing a lot of examples right now of how B2B companies are using this moment of crisis as an opportunity to grow by re-positioning their products and services based on current needs.
Here are a few ideas for how your company can adapt your marketing strategies to rise to today’s challenges:
1. Help companies adapt to working from home
Millions of American workers have suddenly been mandated to work from home. While some businesses already had good remote work policies and systems in place, many other companies are suddenly scrambling to offer the right tools, platforms, and digital solutions to help their people stay productive while working from home. This is a big moment of opportunity to adjust your marketing and sales pitches. For example, if you sell document management solutions, now is the time to emphasize all of the ways that your solution can enable employees to access critical documents from home.
If you sell cyber-security tools or information security solutions, make sure you are adapting your sales pitch to speak directly to your prospective clients’ concerns about how to keep a new remote workforce secure.
If you own an HR consulting firm, make an aggressive marketing push with special offers around helping companies set up HR procedures and processes for managing a remote workforce. Your potential clients might still need your services, but with a different focus of your expertise.
2. Offer free trials and test runs
Another creative idea is offering a “free trial” of your product for six months or so. During times of uncertainly, some organizations may be less likely to buy expensive new software or services. But if you can give away access to your solution, once they see the value and things are calmer, these test-run users could very well become paying customers.
3. Find the areas of B2B spending growth
Even though many restaurants and small businesses have temporarily closed and some companies are cutting back on spending and investment, that doesn’t mean that the entire economy has ground to halt. There’s still business going on and lots of work to be done, but much of that economic activity is shifting to other areas and verticals. This is especially true in the major account B2B space, where a lot of business spending is driven by longer-term priorities and yearly budget allocations. Businesses are still spending, but they are spending differently.
For example, think about what your prospects need to spend money on right now. They’re probably more focused on making “defensive” moves to protect their systems, people, and infrastructure from disaster: things like information security, business continuity, backing up systems or insuring assets. Some industries and businesses are counter-cyclical even in times of crisis. Your prospects might be making some aggressive moves right now to invest in new technology, hire new talent, or pursue customer acquisition. Don’t assume that “no one is buying” right now. They might just be taking a few weeks to see if this situation calms down. It’s true that some companies are scaling back on non-essential spending but other companies are just biding their time to capitalize on what will hopefully be a fast recovery once the rest of the economy re-opens for business.
Now is the time to be agile. This crisis might be presenting a whole new set of challenges that your prospects are facing for the first time, or dealing with on a larger scale for the first time. Think critically and strategically about what the new pain points are, and make sure your marketing strategy and sales pitch can keep up.