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June 9, 2020

Marketing & Sales During the Pandemic: Invest or Wait-n-See?

I’ve talked with a lot of business owners in our industry over the past few months, and every firm falls into one of just two buckets… those that are actively investing in marketing & sales during the pandemic and those that are standing pat and taking a wait-and-see stance.

And by ‘invest,’ I don’t necessarily mean money (though a little of that wouldn’t hurt)… I’m talking about a commitment to an active marketing & sales initiative. To spend the time and effort to make it happen… and then to stick with it.

You can easily guess which side I come down on, but not because marketing & sales are the businesses we’re in… but because it really is the smart thing to do.

And here’s why…

Right now, when your clients’ businesses are in decline and they don’t have the projects to send to you, no amount of marketing & sales will make projects magically appear. The purpose of marketing & sales right now is to simply stay on your buyers’ (clients’ and prospects’) radar so that when they start to get ‘back to normal,’ it’s your firm that they think of for their next project. That’s it.

So, at its core, what we’re talking about is building top-of-mind awareness across the buyers you serve. Simple. But not easy.

Building awareness is an additive process, with each ‘touch point’ building on the one before, slowly helping you climb to the top of the buyer’s consciousness. To do that, you need to employ an on-going arsenal of activities utilizing a variety of channels. For example, email blasts, one-to-one emails, social media posts, digital ads, telephone calls, blog posts, handwritten notes, invitations to webinars, gated content, etc., etc. Frequent and consistent.

But not too salesy! Remember, if the projects aren’t there, no amount of selling will help.

The frequency and consistency are critical. The reason? As soon as you stop marketing, you stop climbing up the buyer’s consciousness. And your competitors – who haven’t stopped marketing – climb right over top of you.

As soon as you stop marketing, you stop climbing up the buyer’s consciousness. And your competitors – who haven’t stopped marketing – climb right over top of you. Click To Tweet

But awareness isn’t just about being known… it’s about being known for something.

Not just “a full-service firm in Chicago,” but “a full-service firm in Chicago that specializes in concept testing for Fortune 500 companies,” for example. That is, building awareness the right way also supports your positioning and differentiation.

Let’s go back to that list of tactics for a minute. If you’re with that full-service firm in Chicago, then those tactics must be about ‘concept testing for Fortune 500 firms.’ The social posts should link to articles about it, your emails should refer to the blog posts you wrote about it, digital ads should hi-lite your concept testing services and your webinars should focus on it.

So, awareness & positioning. And there’s another benefit, too… lead generation. As you get and stay active with your marketing & sales, you will attract potential buyers to your firm:

  • They will subscribe to your blog
  • They will subscribe to your enewsletter
  • They will follow you on Twitter
  • They will follow your LinkedIn company profile
  • They will accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn
  • They will sign up for your webinars
  • They will download your gated content

And every person who interacts with you in any of these ways is a potential sales lead. They are proactively saying, “I am interested in what you’re doing and what you’re talking about.”

Does that automatically make them a ‘hot’ sales lead? Of course not. But I’d rather build a list of potential buyers during the pandemic who’ve shown some interest in what we do than scrape names out of a directory.

One last point… not all work has dried up. Some sectors of the economy are modestly busy. Some are absolutely thriving. And by having a frequent and consistent presence in the marketplace during the pandemic, you’re not just staying top-of-mind with these buyers… you’re showing them that your firm is active, vibrant and thriving. That you’re open for business now and are ready to serve them.

So, you decide. Do you establish a frequent and consistent marketing & sales program to build top-of-mind awareness, cement your position in the marketplace and generate sales leads… or do you hunker-down, go silent and hope that things will get better?

Not really much of a choice, is it?

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