The global pandemic has changed your buyer’s decision processes no matter what you sell.
In some cases, your product has become more critical and sales have increased these past few weeks. In most cases, your sales processes have been disrupted and new prospect closes have slowed.
It’s not enough to know there has been disruption. We need to understand how buying has changed for your product, in your target markets, around the personas who use, fund, and champion your solution.
One area you will need to apply this knowledge is for your lead nurturing programs. Your updated plan should answer these four critical questions.
- What do your buyers need to know now, that they didn’t three months ago? You should be taking a careful look at your communication strategy and mapping out the information our buyers need to know now that is different from what they might have needed before the pandemic. For example, is your product delivery model different now to protect employees and customers in some way? Do you have new services aligned to more immediate needs? Has your pricing changed? And of course, your buyer’s primary drivers, needs, and their own internal buying processes have also changed. Make sure your editorial calendar reflects their current needs.
- How will you replace the dialog spurred by physical events that are no longer scheduled? It’s likely some of the nurturing touches you had planned to include won’t be happening because in-person events and travel are heavily reduced. When those events and trips go away, you must reconsider how to engage in virtual conversations. Without shared physical space to spur a conversation, how will you replicate it digitally? This is a great time to get your team more comfortable using video for both live and outbound communications. In some cases, you will host a virtual event to replace a physical one. But you should also consider hosting open office hours, increasing the number of drop-in demo sessions you host, adding guest authors to your website and even hosting social Q&As. These will all help lessen the loss of those in-person interactions.
- In what ways will you adjust the tone of voice for your outbound communications? Your buyers already have a lot of urgency around them, before using terms such as “Buy now”, “Limited time”, “Last chance”, consider the mindset of your audience. You should also be sensitive to the cadence of communication and tone of voice you use while businesses are recovering. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of caution and transparency.
- Where can you send your direct mail touches? Direct mail is an effective tool for many marketing teams. They are heavily used in referral programs and to support account-based outreach. But now, your planned direct mail has two new obstacles. First, if your buyer is working from home it’s unlikely their business mail is being forwarded to them in a timely manner. Second, if you find ways to collect home addresses you must provide extra layers of data privacy protection. This does not mean all direct mail is off the table. During the stay at home order, I’ve received some very welcomed handwritten notes and a couple of thank you gifts that were very touching, but they were very personalized. The packages clearly marked on the outside who it was from (it was people I already knew) and nothing was perishable so I could leave it unopened for a few days to protect against transmission of the virus. They prove direct mail can still be welcomed, but it’s not a given. It’s important you take the time to carefully plan your direct mail execution plan and consider postponing if any yellow flags are raised.
One thing that hasn’t changed – the need to serve not sell. Now is the perfect time to make sure our nurturing programs are heavy on empathy and being human.
BONUS DIVERSE IMAGES RESOURCES: Before you go I want to share a resource you might find handy. A few weeks ago a client of mine was all set to host a photoshoot for their new campaign. Then, the stay at home orders hit both their European and US locations. A photoshoot was no longer possible. Many of the stock photography sites lacked authentic people that represented the diversity of the customers they serve but they didn’t want to postpone the campaign fully since their solution would help buyers during the pandemic. I found this article helpful when looking for alternative diverse photos to consider.
As always, reach out if you have any questions or comments. We’re always here for you.