As the economy approaches a reset–whether it’s declared an official recession or something less pronounced–B2B marketers will be forced to adjust our focus. Given the complex consideration our buyers undertake in the best of markets, it’s not hard to envision that many of these buyers will be hitting pause on big purchases for a while.
In this post, we’ll explore six tactics B2B marketers can implement to adapt to the shift in customer behavior and position themselves to be in an ideal situation when client budgets come back.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to Set Up a Sales and Marketing Sync
- How to Position Your Messaging for Budget-Constrained Buyers
- How to Shift Your Site to Meet Buyers’ Key Needs
- How to Realign Your Content to Drive Focus and Sales
- How to Clearly Demonstrate Your Product or Solution Value with an ROI Calculator
- How to Generate Sales When Your Price Point is Scaring Buyers Away
#1 | Set up a weekly sales and marketing sync to align key revenue functions
Maybe you already have this in place, and if you do, great job! Most companies do not.
Sales and marketing should not be functioning in silos, particularly not now when money is scarce and sales are harder to win than ever.
What’s the purpose of a weekly sales and marketing sync?
The purpose of your weekly sync will be to radically align these teams so they speak the same language and support one another. This meeting will:
- Encourage your sales team to share the information they’re picking up in calls–after all, they’re closest to the customers. Their insight is gold.
- Allow marketing department members to ask questions to help them understand the obstacles salespeople are encountering as the market shifts.
- Build rapport between these two departments that are sometimes placed at odds and engender a better corporate culture over time.
How to run a sales and marketing sync:
The sync shouldn’t be a long meeting–definitely no more than an hour.
- Designate a meeting owner or suggest that sales and marketing take turns running the sync.
- Keep it to the point by setting a standard meeting flow. We suggest having a few standing segments:
- Review recent sales calls to discuss objections being raised.
- Discuss feedback on existing sales collateral and brainstorm ideas for modification if needed.
- Brainstorm any new landing pages, case studies, or other materials that would help sales provide potential customers what they need to get to a sale.
- The meeting owner should record the meeting and assign out any actions that arise, noting these to build the agenda for the following week’s sync.
What to do after a sales and marketing sync:
Review the notes from the meeting with your departments, assigning responsibilities as appropriate. As new marketing products evolve from this ongoing feedback, incorporate evaluations of those products as part of the sync.
Remember that the sync should be short and helpful. Modify the agenda, schedule, or pacing of the meeting as needed to ensure it is providing value, not just becoming “one more thing” on everyone’s schedule.
#2 | Reposition your messaging to focus on the value-add of your product
When your customers are resource constrained, your job is to give them every reason to use those limited resources to buy your product.
How do you evolve your marketing message to focus on value?
When resources are tight, buyers will appreciate businesses that directly address their immediate needs and concerns. Things to look for in your messaging:
- Does your product or solution offer a significant cost savings over competitors?
- Does implementation of your solution result in significant financial savings for customers?
- Does implementation of your solution result in a non-financial benefit such as resource conservation or time savings, or does it eliminate the need to hire another full time position?
These are the kinds of messages to focus on during tight economic times.
What kinds of materials convey fiscally conscious messaging?
There are many ways to demonstrate the value of your product once you’ve identified it.
- Consider building case studies showing how your solution drives cost savings for customers.
- Host a customer roundtable with existing customers to talk about what kinds of resource impacts your solution has had. This can be recorded and shared across your owned media channels and social media.
- Develop industry-specific collateral to focus on those verticals where your product is most beneficial and arm your sales team with exactly the right information to approach those buyers.
#3 | Update your product landing pages
In the same way you’ve updated your overall messaging, now is the time to refocus your product pages on those very same benefits.
What should product landing pages say?
In the past, your product pages probably highlighted innovative features or a unique approach to your customer’s problems. Those things are still important, but when budgets are stringent, they aren’t the most important. What is? Cost.
- Drive a savings message through every single product page, making it crystal clear that this solution will save your customers something. Time, money, resources.
- Highlight customer testimonials and case studies that focus on conservation of resources.
- If you offer a free trial or any kind of discounts, this is a good place to point them out.
#4 | Rejigger your content calendar
Maybe you have a calendar planned out for the next ten months. If it doesn’t take into account the changing market conditions and the mindset of your buyers due to those shifts, it needs to change.
How to shift your content in a recession
Adapt a flexible mindset around scheduling content, and leave room to adjust as your sales team comes to the weekly sync with updates about what’s on your buyers’ mindset. Get used to on-the-fly content creation, and push your team to become more agile to respond to current market needs.
Build a calendar, but focus on resource-smart topics and leave room to shift evergreen topics around as needed.
Where should you be posting content?
You likely already have a content strategy in place, but if not, we recommend a strong focus on owned media channels. Now is the time to distribute:
- Thought leadership for your executives and subject matter experts on LinkedIn and Medium
- Podcast guest appearances on relevant industry podcasts
- Hosting timely guests on your own corporate podcast
- Creating short-form video content with your subject matter experts to share on YouTube, and possibly TikTok or Reels
- Build your newsletter to become a relied-upon source of information for your market
- Guest post on industry blogs or trade magazines
#5 | Build an ROI calculator
Create an ROI calculator showing how much money is saved when your solution frees up resources to focus in other places. Whether you share this artifact with the world or not may not matter. The point is that really digging into the quantifiable savings your solution offers will give your team excellent perspective on the real value they’re selling.
How to build an ROI calculator
The simplest way to demonstrate ROI is by showing how your product automates workflow and frees up staff to focus elsewhere or eliminates the need to hire. How do you do that?
- Identify the staff with responsibilities lessened or eliminated by your solution
- Estimate those staff salaries using an online database like salary.com
- Divide annual salaries by 2080 to get an average hourly wage for each position
- Estimate the number of hours your solution will save each employee annually
- Multiply the number of saved hours by the average hourly wage of those impacted, and multiply that by the number of employees affected.
What to do with your ROI calculator
If nothing else, you can use the calculator internally to assure your team that your product satisfies the claims you make about it. Belief in the product or solution you’re selling is obvious in the sales process. Clearly identifying your value proposition will give your sales and marketing teams confidence as they talk about your solution.
Other ways to use the tool:
- Build a self-serve version into your site to let potential customers figure out how much time or money they could save with your solution
- Offer the tool as a piece of collateral to quantify savings on sales calls
- Present the tool to investors to reinforce belief in the company
What if your solution doesn’t have a specific savings benefit?
If you find that you can’t quantify any significant savings in time, resources, or money? It may be time to revisit your offering. With tight budgets and fierce attention to the bottom line, there’s no room in the current market for “nice to have” solutions. Figure out how to make your solution a must have… or perish.
Create intermediate price tiers
Finally, if your customers are simply not going to bite on the expansive relationship or complex solution you’re offering while they’re busy tightening their purse strings, it might be time to consider creating a lesser product at a lower price point.
How does a B2B solution create intermediate pricing tiers?
This doesn’t mean sacrificing the benefits of your solution, but it might mean assessing which pieces of your offering you can remove to optimize the revenue you can bring in at a lower price tier.
- Remove non value-add features from your offering
- Identify the bare-bones requirements of customers and hone the solution to meet only those
- Use an entry-point offering that will incentivize customers to scale up once value is realized
Maybe by being forced to strategize around your price and offering, you might find a way to create more revenue with less resources. It could be a win-win for you and your customer.
Down Markets Can Energize Smart Businesses
Down markets don’t need to be the end of revenue building activities. What they should be is an opportunity to re-evaluate your messaging and tactics, and a time to laser in on what you know your customers need now.
Handled correctly, a changing economic landscape could result in your company emerging as a stronger, more efficiently run enterprise.