The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of lives across the globe. Most public events have been canceled – including business conferences and other networking events – it’s hard to even be allowed in a room with those outside your immediate family and social circle and even a trip to the shops is still something of an expedition that needs to be heavily planned.
Here though we are going to take a look at how business networking and lead generation have been changed by the pandemic. The undeniable fact is that there are some harsh realities almost every business is facing – or will have to face. And the crazy-sounding fact is that one of the ways that businesses can keep themselves afloat, and even thrive, is by ramping up lead generation and appointment setting efforts in these admittedly very tough times. The buyer journey is more important than ever.
Here’s a look at five of the ways many (most?) businesses are being affected – or will be affected – by COVID-19 and why building and maintaining a solid sales pipeline, lead generation strategy, and marketing strategy even in this new abnormal (because nothing is normal right now) is still one of the best investments of time and money you can make.
Reality Check #1
Businesses are Losing Clients and Customers
Usually, when a business loses clients or customers it’s either a)because they have done something wrong and the client is dissatisfied or b) the client/customer has made some mistakes, and they are in some way failing.
COVID-19 has turned all of that on its head. It may not matter how great of a job you’ve done in the past, or how great a job you are still managing to do now, the chances are you will still lose business. Companies are facing up harsh realities in terms of finances and despite various stimulus and aid package put together by governments they may fail, so business owners are having to do things like end long-term partnerships with trusted vendors, and lead nurturing is suffering too.
If you so lose clients – or have already – how are you going to fill the gap they left behind and stay afloat yourself? The one place where you should not be making cuts is in your budget for B2B lead generation.
A great lead generation and/or B2B lead generation and appointment setting team can not only help you retain current clients but uncover new opportunities for you. Not all businesses are hurting in the pandemic – some are thriving – and they may be looking for just what you have to offer.
Reality Check #2
Market Share Is Probably Up for Grabs
The fact is that some businesses are handling the fallout from COVID-19 better than others. It’s not that they were prepared for it – nobody was – but they are agile enough to have adapted quickly and/or offer products and services other businesses still need, whatever else is going on in the outside world.
If yours is one of those businesses then there’s a good chance that some of your competitors are not quite as agile or efficient, so there may be market share opportunities available that simply weren’t there in January of this year. Sales opportunity is also increasing and many companies took advantage of that.
Take Zoom, for example. A niche product that some people used but wasn’t a world leader. Their net income, an unadjusted profit metric, rose from $0.2 million in the year-ago quarter to $27.0 million in its most recent three months in 2020. Because the company behind it was ready to deliver – and make adjustments on the fly when challenges arose.
Business is still operating and there are still lots of opportunities for growth. But without a great lead generation team how are you going to find them?
Reality Check #3
It’s Time to Rethink Face to Face Selling
Right now, face-to-face sit-downs with prospects are pretty much out of the question. This means that it’s very likely that your salespeople are going to have to embrace the reality of selling virtually. It’s an art, for sure, and one that’s rather different from physical face-to-face meetings, but it can be done.
Looking at the positives, this could actually be a positive game-changer for your business. In the pre-pandemic days, because they had to travel and move around a lot, the chances are that your salespeople could only do two or three appointments a day.
But now, selling virtually, pursuing leads generated from an outside appointment setting team, they can probably manage four or five (at least) And we all know sales and prospecting is very much a numbers game. The more prospects you pitch to, the more you sell. If you can rethink the way you pitch – or work with a sales team who have been selling remotely for years – this pitch by Zoom thing may not be so bad after all…
Reality Check #4
You May Have to Downsize
Although you might not want to – in fact, you almost certainly don’t – but downsizing in the near future – if you haven’t already – is something that you’ll have to face that might become necessary.
Maybe in the near future, all of your marketing efforts will need to be handled by a much smaller team. Maybe your sales staff will shrink until you are left with just one or two salespeople. You’ll save money in the short term, but how is your business going to survive?
A lot of salespeople find themselves devoting more time than they’d like to prospecting, often 20-30% of it. They’d prefer to be selling, but, needs must. However, if you combine a focused outside B2B appointment setting partner – someone who can focus 100% of their time prospecting – they can give back that time to your salespeople and generate more prospects to pitch to at the same time. Your business can still grow, even with a smaller onsite staff, and you’ll still save money too.
Contrary to downsizing on face-to-face sales, you may think about increasing your marketing team and expanding your sales funnel and sales strategy to encompass digital channels too including social networks.
Social media use has skyrocketed and if you build brand awareness you can have many potential customers.
Reality Check #5
Key Decision Makers May Be Easier to Pitch To
B2B sales aren’t easy. But, right now, and probably for at least several more months, most key decision-makers are working from home.
In that environment they are surrounded by fewer distractions, they are likely to be more receptive, and they are almost certainly easier to reach. So take advantage of it while you can. Get yourself a crack appointment setting team – like Pearl Lemon Leads – let them do the prospecting and get in touch with those remote working KDMs and then have your salespeople do what they do best; sell.
Ready to work with a proven lead generation and appointment setting team with the experience, drive, and talent to help your business weather the COVID-19 storm? Contact us today, we’re ready to help.
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