Many sales and marketing professionals have been forced to throw the old marketing staples out of the window with the advent of the current pandemic.
They have had to start their thinking from scratch. For many, exhibitions and conferences have been a mainstay of their annual activity. As an old hand at organising trade shows and international conferences myself, I get no pleasure in the slightest in saying that it looks likely that exhibition halls and conference centres are likely to remain empty for large scale events for as far ahead as you care to imagine. The days of tens of thousands of “buyers” turning up at mainstream trade events may have had its day.
Over the lockdown we have been approached by businesses, selling packaging products and manufacturing technology and systems, for example, who have in the past relied on driving Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) from trade show floors, looking to fill their lead quotas.
Some of the conversations have been very interesting indeed, as they come to understand that all leads are not created equal and that the sort of fully qualified leads Broadley Speaking specialises in providing are way further down the sales funnel than the ones they they traditionally filled the hopper with by huge investments in trade shows and conferences.
Couple this with the fact that they are also having to come terms with the fact that their ‘on the road’ sales teams who they furnished with MQLs can no longer be on the road much, and this accounts for many penny dropping thoughts.
It’s still entirely possible to reach individuals across buyers grids if you’re smart about it – whether they are in their offices, factories or at home. It’s just that now this requires a rather sophisticated omni-channel approach and a technology stack capable of playing smart with content across channels.
However, what we are seeing is not a swing to ‘digital’ – at least not in the sense digital agencies promulgate. You need your digital wits about you and to have a handle on the content and the channels BUT sales and marketing life in the Covid-19 economy is about resolving the ‘digital paradox’ that was well documented by McKinsey about 18 months ago. That is to say, those businesses that will succeed in this brave new world will be those that realise that no matter how many neat digital tools you have it’s now more important than ever, that there is intelligent human interpretation of their output and interaction with suspects; to turn them into prospects, and nurture them into new sales.
We have been asked what’s the best marketing tool and product is right now – our answer is always the same, today’s premium product is the interoperation of B2B sales and marketing, the ability to be agile and nimble with content and channels, and the ability to penetrate deep into prospect accounts. Now more than ever, sales and marketing is not about operating 3 miles wide and 3 foot deep, but actually about inverting this equation. Try 3 feet wide and 3 miles deep!
Try linking up ‘social selling’, 3 or 4 digital channels and direct outreach- it’s working a treat for our clients even in these most unusual times.