Are These Three Marketing Strategies Recession Proof?

Posted by Josh Turner in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights

Now is a critical time for so many businesses and I’m looking for every opportunity to help. So when my local Chapter (St. Louis) of  Entrepreneurs’ Organization asked me to t participate in a virtual summit - I all in!

The summit was called, “Unshakeable: Marketing & Sales Strategies for Uncertain Times”, and included some of the world’s leading sales and marketing experts each presenting a 15 minute micro session of exactly what you need to do to come out of this pandemic like a rocket. 

By the way, if you haven’t heard of them, EO is an organization that provides a global network for entrepreneurs, along with peer-to-peer learning, unique experiences, and lifelong connections. I’ve been a member for years now and have met some of my best friends through my chapter..

In my session, I discussed an important topic: how you can take advantage of this current climate to...

  • ...build your pipeline
  • ...get more leads
  • ...and position yourself to come out of this very strong 

More specifically, I shared 3 marketing & lead gen tools you should keep in mind to come out of the pandemic stronger. If you need to keep your sales engine moving, this is for you.

I’ve included both the video and the transcript below.

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Download our 2020 B2B Client Attraction Trends Report on the top ways to get qualified sales appointments this year.

***If you prefer to reading rather than watching, here is the a smoothed out transcript version of my session: 

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Learn the 3 Trends You Need to Jump On Now

Due to the uncertainty during COVID-19 many people felt the effects of businesses and households everywhere taking a second look at their budgets and finding ways to cut back on spending. For many, that made it difficult to keep pipelines full and keep business alive. I’ve been asked how to take advantage of this current climate to get more leads and be positioned to come out of this very strong. So this is for those of you with businesses where getting leads and appointments with new prospects, is how you keep your sales engine moving.

The two major themes that drive everything our clients are doing right now are:

Building RELATIONSHIPS and filling out the PIPELINE. 

There’s a lot of historical data showing the negative impact that cutting back on sales development investment can have, including long term consequences. We know that if you cut your pipeline building efforts, then when things normalize, it will take you even longer to build back. Then, you are actually looking at a much longer downturn.

Here’s an example. In the late 1920’s, two companies—Kellogg and Post—dominated the market for cereal. And when the Depression hit, no one knew what would happen to consumer demand.  

So, Post did the predictable thing: They reined in expenses and cut back on advertising. Just like so many businesses did the past couple months.​But Kellogg doubled its ad budget for its new cereal, Rice Krispies. By 1933, even as the economy cratered, Kellogg’s profits had risen almost 30 percent and it had become what it remains today... the industry’s dominant player. As you can imagine, Post could never catch up.This is why maintaining core components of your marketing plan is so important, and why pulling back on your budget when times are hard, could actually mean, for some companies, never regaining that presence again.  

So what do you do? Again, it’s about building RELATIONSHIPS and building a PIPELINE. I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients as well as the people we work with at LinkedIn, about what we are seeing and what, if any, changes are we making in our LinkedIn efforts because of the Coronavirus and its impact. There are 3 big things that we are seeing working:

First Trend: LinkedIn Engagement is UP big time.

The numbers are really kinda incredible, and LinkedIn has more conversations happening than ever. They shared with us that 44% of users are checking the site more often. Which makes sense because tons of people are working from home now and spending more time online. A survey they did found that 45% say this is somewhat, or very likely, to be a more permanent shift. And they found 55% more conversational activity between existing connections in recent weeks. LinkedIn also shared that engagement and published articles have increased by a whopping 2,196%.  

These are all incredible stats which show that there’s no better time to be prospecting online.  

But how? Well, I believe that the most effective outbound strategy is driven around building real relationships before jumping into any type of sales talk. 

My team has access to a lot of data, and what is clear is that this crisis has not affected the ability to connect with new prospects at all. People are still very open to connecting. However, their willingness to schedule an appointment to talk business, varies entirely on their specific situation. What we’re seeing is that each prospect and each industry is very different right now. 

Of course, some industries have been almost or entirely halted, as far as bringing in new business, while others are still growing. And within industries, many companies are approaching it differently. So you really have to take a case by case approach with lead gen and sales right now, and get creative with messaging.

And so, as a rule of thumb, what we are finding is that right now is still a great time to be building relationships with people that you want to do business with, even for those who are in a holding pattern right now. And of course this is huge for your pipeline.

Second Trend: How to Take Advantage of Changes on Facebook

Now, if you look at Facebook not only is engagement way up there, just like LinkedIn...but the thing that many are taking advantage of is that Facebook advertising costs are very low right now. Again that’s because big advertisers are pulling budgets, so ad costs are plummeting. So you have record engagement, and super cheap ads… a great combination and opportunity.  And this is working for both B2B and B2C. So how does that actually play out for businesses? Here are three ways our clients have transitioned…

  1. Do More Webinars. A lot of our clients are looking at Special promotions to take advantage of this environment. For example, a dental consultant who is doing a special webinar, and getting registrations right now for $2 a piece.  Normally he’s used to $6 or more, so he’s getting the same amount of leads at 30% of normal costs. He has over 700 signed up for his next webinar this Thursday.

    Moral of the story: It’s a great time to be doing more webinars or any sort of special content timely to what’s going on right now, because it adds value for your market and you’ll get the leads way cheaper than normal.

  2. Increase ad budget. Now, if you already have funnels in place that are working with paid advertising, you won’t find a better time than now to increase budget. It may feel risky, but for some companies it’s the right thing to do. One of our clients is a life insurance company, they have seen a drop from $24 a lead to $10 in the current environment...and so far for April, as of Monday, they’ve had 1,559 call requests from Facebook alone.  For comparison, normally we’re seeing more like 400-500.

  3. Pivot. The other thing we are seeing some do well is pivoting on the delivery mechanism for how they sell in the first place, and in some cases their entire business model.   

For example, my company works with martial arts studios all around the country, and on average they used to pay between $30-$60 for in-person appointments. Now, they’ve pivoted to virtual lessons and the cost has dropped to $5-10 per intro appointment and they are seeing significant ROI. This is a win-win; their new clients are loving it and they’re adding a ton of value and helping a lot of people. This is just one of many ways to look at alternative ways of selling, where possible.

Third Trend: Using Multi-Channel Strategies

The final trend we are seeing is very important because as much as I love Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s important that your marketing and lead gen approach is part of a bigger picture.  And that is why the biggest trend that we are so bullish on right now, is Multi-Channel. Now more than ever, you gotta get the most out of your prospect pool. You can’t rely on one tactic. 

For example, for most B2B companies, what we see work best is an approach that combines organic LinkedIn with a paid ads strategy, as well as integrating email, and phone to really maximize the number of leads that you can generate. If you just do one of those things, you’re missing out on 2-3X the leads and now more than ever, that’s just unacceptable.

It’s simple. Whether or not your prospects are buying right now, this is the time to be planting the seeds, building top-of-funnel and getting to as many of them as possible.

If you are taking a leadership role in this environment, it will pay off when things open up.  Know that deals are happening, sales are out there. You just might need more at bats to get them. 

Want to Learn More?

If you’d like to learn more about how we use social media ads (including ads like the ones highlighted above), we have a specialized team called the LinkedSelling Elite Digital Group with many different options to work with you to meet your goals. 

We have different solutions that help businesses of all sizes get more leads and sales appointments for their sales team, filling your pipeline with amazing sales opportunities. But in order to help you discover which would be the right solution for your situation, we need to talk.

If that interests you, schedule a time to chat with my Director of Client Strategy to talk over your options.  Click below to get started.
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