We are going through moments of reinvention and adaptation. We have adapted to a “new normal”, to new forms of socialization, work and interaction. We reinvented how to "close deals" and relate to our customers.
As in the Business-to-Consumer business, Business-to-Business (B2B) also faces enormous challenges in this pandemic context, confinement and remote work.
Corporate events were canceled, executive breakfasts, business lunches, network moments, such as fairs and congresses disappeared from the radar, face-to-face meetings were suspended, investment decisions were postponed, new programs were canceled. How did organizations that provide services to other companies separated, one day to another, with a commercial force confined at home, unable to do what they always did, meet with customers, present proposals, sell!
The business, commercial and marketing model in B2B businesses, relies historically, in a close and face-to-face relational model. Being close to customers, maintaining regular contact, meeting and visiting customers, advising, studying business challenges, creating solutions. In short, developing a “consultative sale” is part of the “modus operandi” of any organization that provides business-to-business services.
Given the context of confinement and economic stagnation that we are going through, an outbreak, now, the following question arises - How do we maintain proximity to our customers? How do we do business in these new times?
It is in view of this reality that Marketing assumes, more than ever, a special relevance. The interpretation of Marketing as something more than the moment of communication, but as an effective business accelerator, generator of leads and commercial opportunities, makes even more sense in the B2B model. And in a context in which the sales process is conditioned, it is necessary to find new ways to sell in the digital world and new ways of relating to the customer.
Content is King!
It is a mantra, which has long echoed through the corridors of Marketing departments, in Schools and Universities, in books and specialized articles. Now, more than ever, content can effectively make a difference and be the center of B2B Marketing activity.
More content, greater relevance, reinforcing the notoriety and, above all, the credibility of a brand, are essential guides for this “new marketing”. It is necessary to find new points of contact with customers, promote new forms of proximity and find the right formula to position our brand, our services and our solutions.
Getting to know customers better, the challenges and difficulties they face, to closely monitor the developments and impact on the market caused by the crisis, to be able to adapt to new realities, every day, is the mission of Marketing, where disciplines such as Marketing Intelligence gain even greater preponderance. Marketing must be the engine of organizations, promote the necessary changes in the business, trigger innovation and be an integral part of the strategic decisions to be taken. It is essential to invest in the creation of relevant content, share knowledge and expertise and make it available to customers and the market, make the organization relevant and position it as a reliable partner with its customers.
Digital, Digital, Digital
And if the traditional, face-to-face model is conditioned or compromised in the current context, it is time to look even further at Digital. The pandemic accelerated the transformation, also in Marketing, digital events broadcasted from television studios, with virtual scenarios, emerged and livestreams skyrocketed, the first 100% digital fairs with virtual stand solutions arise, which use 3D and virtual reality, webinars became widespread, video started to be seen as an essential tool. Even e-commerce, typically more “resistant” in B2B, comes to be seen as a possible solution for many organizations and for some services. The effort to standardize and “produce” these services has also gained greater attention in B2B organizations, creating replicable solutions that are easy / quick to implement, that can be marketed as a “product” (at the same time that in technology SaaS, PaaS and others evolve increasingly for a XaaS logic - everything as a service) gained prominence.
All of these solutions already existed and were already available to marketers and organizations, but only now have they become more prevalent in Marketing plans and budgets. 2020 will mark this transformation in B2B Marketing - Digital First (finally, I add)!
In the world of technology, we often talk about Digital Transformation. There are even those who say that Covid-19 has caused a 10-year technological leap in organizations and that the virus was the main agent of digital transformation in organizations.
And Marketing? Will it be the main agent of transformation of the B2B business?
*Article published in Marketeer.