While in-person meetings may be making a return, B2B companies need to reassess what their key clients want in a post-pandemic world. Businesses need to evolve their lead generation strategies, becoming more data-driven and attuned to the preferences of their potential and existing customers. This is where a contemporary B2B playbook can guide the process.
Here's what this modern B2B playbook should entail:
Before 2020, B2B sales reps would typically spend their time on the road, building new contacts and seeking qualified leads via face-to-face interactions. COVID-19 transformed this dynamic drastically, limiting travel but maintaining (or increasing) the sales quotas needed to be achieved.
As companies plan to reintegrate travel schedules, they must consider whether their customers are eager to return to pre-pandemic interactions or prefer the convenience of digital interfaces and remote communication.
The challenge now lies in identifying new prospects in a landscape where customers are reluctant to revert to traditional business practices. This necessitates a shift towards a digital lead generation approach, using digital tactics to engage potential customers.
Instead of pushing sales reps to adapt personally, businesses must equip their teams to facilitate lead-generation activities within this new digital environment. Sales reps can utilize digital platforms to prospect, conduct meetings, and host online demos. Yet, more must be done to bridge the gap in their sales pipeline, particularly for those without a steady client base or consistent business renewals.
B2B marketing and sales need to meet customers where they are most active – online and predominantly on LinkedIn. Businesses must establish themselves as thought leaders, actively participating in online dialogues and using client-specific, industry-focused solution-selling methods, which have become increasingly relevant in a digital context.
Sales reps often need support to achieve this, and businesses should provide the necessary tools and resources. Your marketing and sales managers should create meaningful content that positions your sales reps as thought leaders.
Assemble the right team: Your company needs a cross-functional team to develop standardized global processes and content. This involves incorporating feedback from field sales and marketing teams worldwide.
Produce easily understood content: Your content should address your potential and existing customers' problems, challenges, and needs. This content should be made available internally and externally.
Promote the content: Ensure it is readily accessible to your sales reps and encourage them to distribute it on various platforms.
Generate pertinent leads: Sales reps will obtain leads through their activities, but any collected customer data and information should be shared with the field to incentivize them properly.
Measure results at multiple levels: Track content performance and build upon successful sales content while discarding those not gaining traction quickly.
These steps, combined with a focus on sharing authoritative content and targeting specific procurement VPs, can enhance the sales reps' experience. Additionally, sales support teams can assist in preparing for customer conversations, ensuring that potential and existing customers are supported throughout their buyer journeys.
The returns are tangible. Sales reps will quickly adopt new strategies, leading to more sales leads. Your company can benefit from global alignment, quicker improvements to your offering, less redundancy in content, improved content quality, and faster engagement with potential customers. This translates to greater revenue opportunities and cost reductions for your company.
Adopting this new approach comes with challenges, such as initial resistance due to regional preferences and industry-specific needs. However, leaders can transition from sceptics to advocates by prioritizing leadership buy-in and using metrics to illustrate progress.
Every company is unique, but the fundamental challenge is universal – sales reps operate in a new digital environment. Your company can thrive in the evolving digital landscape by supporting them with effective lead-generation practices.
Once leads are generated, turning them into customers is the next step. Understanding their customer journey is essential, and our customer journey map template can provide valuable insights into their thinking and behaviour, helping you turn leads into loyal customers and even promoters of your company.