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Don’t deplete the sales lead pipeline amid COVID-19

April 22, 2020

‘Stopgap’ strategies can fuel smart B2B engagement in challenging times

If you’ve ever undergone a major home renovation, you may have encountered the term “stopgap remodeling.” This is a very a nice way of framing a set of small-scale improvements that will save your sanity while awaiting your dream kitchen.

As an avid home renovator, I’ve gotten well-acquainted with the term. As a B2B marketing professional, the concept has taken on a whole new meaning amid the disruptions COVID-19 has caused Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and other industrial companies.

While many of these businesses are still operating as essential suppliers to the makers of food, beverages, drugs, and other necessities, they still face several obstacles:

  • Companies that thrive on industry events for leads could see pipelines dry up.
  • Sales teams may struggle to engage customers and prospects with a limited toolbox of digital assets.
  • The inability to predict past the next few months causes uncertainty and market volatility.

As OEMs and industrial suppliers halt or postpone much needed rebrands, website updates or other initiatives, it’s important to recognize that in such uncertain times, they may need those assets more than ever. Here are a few stopgap measures and considerations to keep these initiatives alive:

  1. Make your first online impression a good one. Assess the avenues where prospects could find you. Does your company appear in the first few Google search results? Is your website more dated and difficult to navigate than all your competitors’ websites? Is your LinkedIn presence cohesive or are there a dozen pages dedicated to your company that seem totally disconnected? Identify the weaknesses in your company’s online presence that could derail prospects from connecting with you and prioritize the pitfalls most in need of fixing.
  2. Work with what you have for a phased approach to any transformation. Now may not be the time for the full Cinderella makeover, but a company can make progress in improving its digital footprint. Work with creative professionals to get you partway to the refresh you want by mixing the new assets you can afford with pre-existing imagery, video, presentations, thought leadership and collateral that can still work with your new direction. Then, break the rollout of news assets into smaller, more gradual phases.
  3. Share critical insights and updates. Now is not the time to hold back information and solutions that could help customers better navigate these challenges. Ensure you are communicating regularly to current customers to assure reliability, notify them of changes to capacity and services. Share more widely insights on retrofits that may enable manufacturers to make essential products, best practices to enhance the safety of employees on the line, and considerations for longer-range planning rooted in the expected reverberations of COVID-19. Even if you don’t have the resources to launch that customer portal, go for a sleek, simple newsletter or lean into thought leadership-driven activities..
  4. Go to where the specifiers are. That could mean investing in a paid LinkedIn campaign, or in spreading trade publication websites. If you don’t know where your specifiers are, then conduct a Digital Demand Mapping Exercise to find out. It will serve you well beyond these next few months.
  5. Don’t cut your most valuable players. Like the ROI on your current marketing campaign? Have some MVPs in your advertising strategy? Forfeiting them now could land those resources in your competitor’s hands later.
  6. Quality over Quantity. You’re not the only one facing these challenges. Your prospects may be seeing their inboxes flood with outreach. Above all, make sure that what you have to say is compelling.
  7. Share Good News. Industries and communities are made up of people, and right now, people need to hear some good news. If a company has taken measures to help its workforce, medical professionals or anyone in need during this crisis, share the news. It might save a little sanity or inspire more acts of kindness.

The key to any great stopgap reno isn’t just to put lipstick on a pig. It’s to achieve something as close to the desired result as possible through smart prioritization, scalable solutions and a lot of creativity. A good stopgap marketing strategy does all those things so that companies don’t just come out on the other side of this pandemic, but come out of it equipped for the new normal that awaits them.

TAGS: Manufacturing

POSTED BY: Christina Wilcox

Christina Wilcox