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4 tips for improving B2B sales in the age of global financial crisis

We are in the center of a financial crisis without comparison. In addition to the obvious safety consequences, firms have witnessed economic and political crises and the most volatile financial era in recent years.

B2B sales in the age of global financial crisis

The coronavirus epidemic is now one of the significant business news headlines in the world, and it has impacted all forms of markets from production to tourism to global supply chains. The stock market has experienced a new phase of instability. All conferences and events have been canceled or delayed. There are almost none physical networking opportunities or business trips. Digital is the only “window” into the business world. 

Many B2B industries are much more affected than certain companies that work directly with customers (B2C) because huge amounts of business pause activities or operate very slowly. Small bounces create a domino effect with alarming consequences. 

As COVID-19 pandemic is declining in many parts of the world, and some markets are finally getting in better condition, we are aware that this is just the beginning of a global economic recession which will last at least one or two years.

B2B sales professionals are exploring ways to stay efficient and reduce the impact of COVID-19. There are several B2B sales techniques that companies can consider now when we can “feel” some recovery on the markets

This article addresses quick B2B sales strategies for companies whose market performance has been impacted by the epidemic.

Adopt your product/service value proposition for markets that are less affected by the pandemic. 

Although most professional recommendations are related to how to outreach the clients affected by Covid-19, we recommend that you do the exact opposite and identify the stable and healthy businesses and interact with them. The first move should be reevaluating the markets that you are considering. Think about how you can shift your offer to be more significant to sectors in top condition. This can be difficult for many businesses, but you can see so many options for reconfiguring your product/services value proposition to companies who are healthy and - and can pay right now.

Adopt your product/service

We understand that pivoting a business can be difficult, but sometimes even with a slight change in direction, we can adapt to some other industries/markets. This is especially relevant if business targets mainly the high-risk sectors. Over the last few months, you’ve probably seen some areas were hit hard like tourism and hospitality, while others have boomed. Try switching to better-performing market sectors if feasible with limited adjustments to your product.

  • Adapt, modify or pivot your main product/service   
  • Adapt website and landing page   
  • Adapt digital campaigns, ads and target audiences   
  • Adapt communications and content across the web and social media channels.

   

Reconnect with existing and old clients      

Out of sight implies out of mind. You have to stay connected. Maintaining and up-selling to existing customers is much cheaper and faster than attracting new ones. 

Reconnect with existing clients

So the main task is to continue to keep MRR (monthly recurring revenueto the maximum possible level and hold all existing ongoing projects.

The biggest issue we are discussing is that lowering rates can harm your brand image. This is possible only in normal situations, but if Covid-19 impacts the company, and you have free assets to make use of, you can provide some discount deals to the past/existing buyers. Market dynamics are modified such that the laws of the game have to be adjusted.  

How to engage with clients in times of financial crisis? 

Depending on your “industry”,  “client size” and “applicable number of your clients”, you can:  

  • Use remarketing and custom audience targeting (or CRM retargeting) to outreach all current and past clients and communicate with them. Marketing automation is the simplest, quickest, and most effective way of staying in touch with the clients. You need to deliver tailored and personalized communications to existing customers who would like to hear from you.  
  • Use account managers who are always customer-relations-oriented and have or had communication with clients. 
  • Use direct email outreach (newsletter with your customer email list) to establish personalized and targeted communications. 
  • Support everything with content strategy. Content is an essential factor for the B2B lead generation, B2B sales, your marketing campaigns, and the continuity of interaction with your existing customers.

Concentrate on quality-added content at a stage when the conventional demand mechanism and competitive sales strategies are collapsing at a period when we are all confused, terrified, and suffering from these conditions. Staying on top-of-mind through online channels and maximizing value-added content is vital as it helps with consumer engagement during crisis — which ensures you'll have a community to connect with, once life gets back to normal.

Advice for clients who canceled agreements: 

Since most of them didn't want to cancel cooperation, most probably they have been forced to do that - At least, ask them to give you review/testimonials and try to get as much value from them as possible, or in specific business areas, they can recommend you to their complementary clients or partners that can become clients.  

 

Use direct response PPC campaigns. 

Targeting users lower in the purchase funnel.   

Direct response paid click campaigns are the best approach for quickly improving B2B lead generation and get clients who are in the “consideration phase” and already have some intent for buying your type of product or service.

Globally, due changed bahaiveors in advertising ecosyistems and global internet usage, PPC prices are lower in the most markets and on almost all platfroms, and ad Inventory for search, display, and is higher. There is big “gap” for fast results.
  • Google Search Ads - adapt your ads and communication, define your new/old target audiences, experiment with different keywords and landing pages, and get real conversions.
  • Linkedin ads - Besides standard Newsfeed ads you can use Linkedin conversational ads (beta) to acquire the quality potential leads and “segment” them based on a quick response.
  • Use Social and Display ads to target Similar or Look-a-like audiences in order to reach users that are similar to your current converters (based on demographic, interest, location, intent, etc). Platforms such as Facebook or Google have very advanced machine learning models and can easily detect those users. (Linkedin also have that feature but we don't recommend it since it is very unprecise on that network)
  • Organize the free online consultations for more qualified leads and add functionality to your website so users can easily book virtual appointments
  • Arrange the online webinars 

Keep in mind that in the times when most of the people are working remotely and usage behavior patterns have been changed a lot (for example we are seeing huge increases in desktop traffic compared to normal market activities).

Use cold outreach techniques (email + Linkedin) in combination with web and social retargeting:

Targeting users top of the funnel

In times of financial crisis, you have to keep up on sales opportunities. Dedicate additional time, attention, and resources to lead generation and sales prospecting right now, even if you're busy at the moment.

  • Prepare valuable and targeted informational articles on your website. If it is suitable, use video format to increase brand awareness and get a human connection with potential prospects.
  • Use direct email outreach and send interactive/advisory pieces of information and push users to learn more on your site. (don't forget: you don't sell anything since in cold approach clients don't know anything about you yet, first, they need to have several interactions with your content in order to expose them to real "offer" ) 
  • Use direct Linkedin outreach. (activate your sales/business development teams to engage on Linkedin, send direct messages, join discussions, etc). 
  • User remarketing storytelling to lead them through your funnel - from brand awareness phrase to conversion. Set a specific set of ads for every stage, and lead users which have shown some interest in your brand in the ‘’cold outreach” stage to some “warmer stages”. (Track interactions with your videos, social media pages/profiles, websites, apps and build relevant audiences based on user behavior).

Conclusion 

Nations and markets have experienced many disruptions over a couple of months. What we can learn for past financial crises is that every time companies that recover are more prepared, more skilled, and with many stronger plans for growing their business.

We are confident you will make up quickly for any temporary losses.

We are Creitive, digital product agency. If you want to learn more, check out our Digital Strategy Consulting page.

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