As a result of the recent global economic crisis, many industries have suffered unexpected downturns, forecasting a recessionary climate in the near future.
For B2B marketers, this recession presents unique challenges, and they need to be future-focused and stay ahead of any potential downturns.
Let’s explore what this recession means for B2B marketers so that they can take necessary actions during a crisis.
What recession means to B2B marketers?
- The recession is a severe, widespread, and long-term drop in economic activity.
- Understanding how buyers shift their spending habits during a recession makes it critical for marketers to keep their sales funnels functional.
- Fluctuations in economic activity have a long-term impact on companies and their employees, leading to a rise in unemployment.
- In this scenario, companies need to be creative in developing solutions to keep the revenue system flowing despite the uncertainty in buyer behavior.
- Achieving this requires marketers to take the time to get to know their buyers, which gives insight into how best to engage them.
Today’s tech-oriented buyers
The uncertainty of recession affects not only the seller side of B2B marketing but also the buyer side. To effectively manage this, marketers must remain agile to the buyer’s behavior, and here are some scenarios.
– The self-education trend
Buyers today prefer to self-educate and wish to avoid meeting with a seller as their first research step.
60% of prospects prefer to speak with a sales representative after researching their choices. Furthermore, following the COVID-19 pandemic, 33% of purchasers spent even more time researching products before making a purchase. (source)
– The Millenials and Gen-Z
Millennials (Aged 27-42), and the Generation Z population (Aged 11-26), are hard to catch. They prefer to have information at their fingertips.
Traditional B2B pitches may still attract Gen X (Aged 43-58) and Baby Boomers (above 59 years of age), but Gen Z appreciates a much more subtle and personalized manner.
On the other hand, Millennials are the largest B2B tech buyer segment, accounting for 59% of all B2B buyers, and 30% of them are lead buyers for their B2B brand. (source)
That’s how buyers’ online activities now influence the buying process, as they want greater self-service.
– The buying committee
B2B buying decisions are now the responsibility of committees rather than individuals.
The usual buying committee for a B2B solution includes 6 to 10 decision-makers with 4-5 pieces of information from their self-research (source). Each member has their own viewpoints, backgrounds, biases, requirements, and goals that a B2B seller must fulfill to hear a “yes” from them.
Buyers hold the key as the market swings between growth and decline. So it’s up to B2B companies to stay agile and use buyer preferences to navigate economic uncertainty – especially during times of recession.
Now that their buying preferences have changed and they conduct in-depth research, marketers must provide them with easily shareable and valid resources.
So, what are the resources?
Resources that can support your offerings
– Social proof
Today’s buyers seek solid validation, such as social proof, before making a purchase decision. They tend to rely on third-party websites to get such evidence.
They no longer blindly believe a rep’s statements and want to confirm seller claims with evidence such as user reviews.
– Internal news
What other resources could you present to your buyers to earn their trust?
In an economic downturn, you can allow your internal teams to speak up for your enterprise, using testimonials with solid data-driven insights and how they feel about growing with your company.
Some industrial or technological hacks from the leaders of your organization will also be helpful for buyers to trust your business.
How do B2B companies thrive in a recession?
With the Go-to-Market strategy(GTM), B2B marketers can take the required steps to earn revenue in a recession.
Traditional marketing tactics are integral to any strategy and can still be successful, but a GTM approach is even more impactful during times like these. In times of economic uncertainty, leverage this tactic to ensure your business stays profitable.
Then, how can it be accomplished?
– Give discounts sparingly
Some clients will be more affected by the crisis than others, and they may find it difficult to continue working with you.
On the one hand, you shouldn’t be giving discounts at random. But, at the same time, helping your clients through difficult times can strengthen your relationship with them.
So, how do you proceed?
You should strengthen your bond with potential prospects and analyze each scenario separately. Then, if you recognize that some of your clients are in need and would benefit from a discount, give it to them.
– Cut down cold call frequency
B2B organizations tend to pressure their marketing and sales staff during economic instability, yet clients want to avoid receiving cold contact.
They want a personalized approach, and traditional sales approaches like cold calling don’t work during an economic crisis.
– Eliminate unnecessary spending
B2B marketers should analyze, stop doing what isn’t working, and focus on what is.
Keep your spending manageable if you want to tighten your budget. Identify the processes with the lowest ROI and stop or postpone investment.
– Avoid cutting your team’s capacity
In previous recessions, companies that cut back too much on marketing and sales took longer to recover than their competitors when the economy got better.
As a result, they had to rebuild their sales funnel from the start.
Marketers should remember that sales and marketing teams are crucial components of the pipeline, but not a “cost” to cut down anytime.
Also Read: How To Build An Effective Inside Sales Team
Companies will be better positioned for success during an emerging recession if they change their thinking and meet buyers where they are in their journey.
Further, your company will succeed if you remain adaptable, buyer-centric, and focused on providing value.
Until then, make every effort to optimize and automate your sales operations.