As we all adjust to this new virtual economy, brands are working harder than ever to stay connected with customers and prospects to keep business moving forward. This moment in time puts marketing and sales alignment to the ultimate test: navigating longer sales cycles, changing buyer needs/emotional drivers, and articulating a value proposition without being too self-serving.
Today, marketing communications requires a shift, and so do outreach tactics.
The opportunity? Focus on lead nurture.
While this relationship-building approach often takes longer to convert, it’s worth being patient -- companies good at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads (99 Firms).
Despite these trying times, there are many ways B2B sales and customer success teams can add value during the buyer’s journey, and even help instill confidence and trust in your brand. In fact, 80 percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services (Salesforce).
Here are 4 ways PR can nurture leads at all lifecycle stages:
Positive earned media is still the best way to build credibility. Does your CEO or CSO frequently offer their expertise to influential trades or business press? Inclusion in earned media offers third-party validation your customers and prospects are looking for to make a purchasing decision. Instead of following up with a product fact sheet, share recent (and relevant) press coverage that helps the prospect understand a broader view of the industry problem your technology is solving.
Your message, in your words, to your audiences. The content you create, which we call “owned content,” is one of the most powerful tools because you control the message. Today, quality is performing better than gimmicks because people are overwhelmed with volume. Start a blog, create an email newsletter, and produce more videos to keep leads warm and drive action.
According to HubSpot, events help generate the most leads in a B2B setting. While the opportunities for one-on-one connections certainly are the thing we’re sacrificing right now, there is much to be done in the virtual world when it comes to community building and engagement. Take your traditional event online to connect with key prospects and customers -- here are 14 ideas to get going.
While events help generate leads, case studies convert them (HubSpot). Take the time to identify the right customer case studies to leverage during the sales process. An existing customer's advocacy for your product or service speaks volumes and can heavily influence buying decisions. Sharing positive testimonials or customer reviews can move your prospect further down the funnel, and may even help close the deal.
While the customer journey has become more complicated with COVID-19, PR does more than prime interest -- it can educate prospects, provide credibility and inform buying decisions.
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Laura is the vice president of marketing at Inkhouse.