The current pandemic has certainly caused havoc in the business world, in all aspects. Many business conferences and other huge trade events have been canceled as a result, and as to when these meetings will be organised again is still uncertain. Businesses are operating in tough times, faced with tough decisions. Whether we like it or not - today and the day after COVID-19 - it is ‘Business NOT as usual’.
Business are trying to come up with contingencies to try and mitigate the losses associated with these inconveniences. The current pandemic has change how businesses operates, and the way they engage with their customers in a digital approach.
Digital transformation is not new. This pandemic is only accelerating trends that have already been changing how we operate and build businesses. One thing that is in almost every business leaders’ mind, especially when it comes to the most critical aspect of the business; how are we going to continue to engage with our customers and prospects?
Digital Marketing is now so important to B2B businesses, especially in today’s situation. In the coming months or years, B2B businesses will have to rely on their digital strategy, more than ever, as it will be the deciding factor whether they make it through or not. Content marketing, social marketing, SEO, and other influencer-led campaigns will be the new marketing techniques.
The cease of tradeshows and exhibitions
B2B businesses has traditionally leverage greatly on tradeshows / events to network with prospects and building sales pipeline. With this pandemic, we all know what the message is – maintain social distancing in everything you do. With government regulations prohibiting people from assembling, all physical events and tradeshows are halt.
Many B2B businesses are transferring their marketing budget towards digital. We can also see job openings for digital marketing roles. To ensure that your business remains active and relevant, it is important for you to digitise your marketing strategy.
Remote / Digital Selling will become the new norm
Secondly, as we head into the future – post-COVID-19 – more and more clients will be less open to the idea of meeting sales reps in person, especially considering that no one knows how long the virus will last. Mckinsey B2B Decision Maker Pulse Survey (May 2020) shows that:
The preference for digital engagement now is 2X more than the traditional sales interactions.
96% of the B2B businesses have shift their GTM model, and 70% of those surveyed believe that this new model of selling is just as effective, or more than before (up from 57% in early April 2020)
This new sales model is expected to stay. So, digitising and automating your marketing strategies will be the only way that would guarantee that you will sell.
The way our customers engage will change
Think about it, right now movements are very much restricted in many countries to try and contain the virus, but this doesn’t mean customers stopped buying. They have the internet with them, so, whenever they want something, they will try to find over the internet. If they don’t find you there, trust that they will look for alternatives.
To avoid this, you will need to digitise your marketing strategies to keep your customers and acquire new ones. If our customers now find digital as the alternative channel to seek information, and if our competitors can reach out to these customers, are we a step behind our competition and eventually losing our customers? What strategies can we put in place so that we can still sell and engage with our customers?
Lastly, even when things are back to normal, B2B businesses are expected to include digital marketing strategies in their long-term contingency plans, especially after seeing how beneficial it can be. In Singapore, the government has been encouraging businesses to implement digital strategies and transformation into their business operations. Most of these businesses had not integrated the digital channels in their marketing strategies, but as we head into the future, they will want to be more sophisticated in the use of these social platforms.