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Sales pipeline

As most businesses struggle with the fast-changing circumstances, the upshot for many is disruption to their sales processes and confusion as to how to adapt and what steps to take to build a pipeline during the pandemic.

Events, expos and other in-person business activities – traditionally a major component in marketing plans and invaluable source of leads – are cancelled in the current landscape. Companies need to pivot to digital forms of outreach – yet approach such marketing as a value-creating exercise, rather than a hard-sell looking for quick conversions. This shift in mentality is key as attempts to sell will meet with resistance – fears of economic downturn and its fallout has led to a tightening of the purses-strings and decision-taking aversion.  So, focus on communicating that your brand exists, offer valuable insight or advice (implying that you are happy to help and educate) but ask for nothing in return.  This willingness to serve your clients and prospective clients engenders trust. Here are some ways to achieve this:

Email marketing – a solid option as not only is email marketing the most effective marketing tool to increase revenue and directly communicate with your target audience it is also easy to track and determine which messages and tactics deliver and regularly optimise. Keeping a channel open is a worthwhile investment as it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – so find ways to engage your audience with useful information and relevant news.

Virtual events – this can apply to almost all industries and is a cost and time-effective way of engaging with large groups whether in the form of a conference, summit, expo, trade show, job fair etc. , Such events can be excellent opportunities to directly interact with potential buyers and demonstrate value – it can also serve as a way for you to screen good fits for your solution.

Webinars – while a bit of a Covid-19 cliché, running a well-thought out webinar with relevant information and highly targeted audience can generate high quality leads. This often works best in combination with other parts of an overall marketing strategy such as an email or LinkedIn outreach campaign to drive people into a sales-funnel e.g., landing page to sign up for the event. Recorded webinars or podcasts (could simply be recycled content from a content marketing campaign or collection of the company’s articles or blog posts – with live Q&As – also deliver results but best to capitalise on the opportunity to interact with potential buyers live, in real-time.

A robust email marketing campaign can often be the catalyst that drives potential buyers to participate in virtual events, sign-up for webinars or subscribe or follow a content campaign. The database generated from prospective buyers opting in and requesting content is a highly valuable tool that can be used in a range of follow-up activities – ranging from retargeting, Facebook & LinkedIn advertising and other types of sales and marketing campaigns. 

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