Across the board we all know 2020 has been nothing short of an unpredictable roller coaster ride. B2B sales and marketing have certainly been on that ride too, seemingly on repeat. With so many worldly distractions, and so much uncharted territory, budgeting and planning seem to be especially challenging this year.
Pre-pandemic, many marketers were fully focused on innovation both in their content and in their processes, especially regarding communicating with their sellers. And many have done the impossibly hard work of pivoting to what feels like a whole new buyer in a whole new market while being thrown into a whole new working style at home.
Ready or Not Here Comes Budget Planning and Goal Setting
Hard as it is to believe we are again looking ahead (dare I say... looking forward?) to a new year and ready or not it’s time to plan for 2021. Budgets are due, funds are tight and marketers are trying to re-ignite the innovative spark that 2020 started off with. Easier said than done for sure, but the numbers and plans are due nonetheless. And sales goals? No they haven’t gone down but more likely they’ve gone up.
Reaching goals in this climate might seem like an impossible feat, but since it still must be attempted, the easiest and leanest way to start is by checking what your existing tools can do against your initiatives and see if you can match up a need with a solution. From canceling the big dusty LMS people have yet to adopt in favor of Microlearning, to adding non sales teams who need a different type of content as users of the apps, or streamlining a communication strategy for an event, maybe your Sales Hub can do more than you realized.
Being Lean Means Using Digital Solutions for Double Duty
I’ve said it before but since it’s continually reinforced in my conversations with our customers, I’ll repeat it (again)... It's a struggle to get high adoption rates on learning management systems. Administrators love their comprehensiveness and learners tend to get lost in the overload. This is such a frustrating paradox because sales reps do want the knowledge contained in the LMS and they would sell more with that information, but if the delivery method isn’t working, the effort put in is wasted and sales suffer as the rep lacks knowledge.
One Modus Sales Hub user who has high adoption among the team because they intentionally make their Sales Hub THE place to get up-to-date content was considering an integration with their LMS to boost engagement, but once they saw what Microlearning could do, they are considering moving all the training over. Sure there is a lift to re-making some of the materials, but it’s also a chance to innovate them. Remember that thing we were trying to plan for this time twelve months ago?
Keep Sellers Engaged for Virtual National Sales Meetings
Last year we may have all been resort wear shopping in preparation for our destination National Sales Meetings (maybe Hawaii Zoom backgrounds will be all the rage this year?) but now, we have to strive for the same impact without any face to face interaction, and no previous virtual event experience. This might all sound very challenging, but again, take a look at your tools and how they function and see where some of that innovation and problem solving can happen.
One insight I love sharing with our customers is that your Sales Hub can be transformed into an event app. This helps you get the word out about the goings-on with tools they already know how to use. More than one Modus customer is loading everything they need for their virtual NSM into a new content group that all attendees can switch to for access to everything they need for the event. Using existing functionality like notifications to alert whole teams instantly, to interactive feedback forms, Virtual Product Tours, and easy video hosting capabilities, virtual events can be engaging.
Another forward thinking Modus customer is launching microlearning at their virtual NSM and providing prizes for achievements and engagement. When the first impression is engrossing, exciting, and helpful, the adoption of the tool and more importantly, the consumption of the materials should stick all year.
Beyond Original Intentions…Innovating Processes & Content
Outside of the sales enablement box, but still in the customer purchase space, lives parts and service, and one manufacturer has streamlined that process with field service reps using the app to get real time information for troubleshooting back to HQ or anywhere else it needs to go. Content isn’t always made for presentations, sometimes it’s more tactical, but offline access and the interactive post appointment follow up process using the customer microsite can be very effective, and is not just for sales insights.
Innovating processes can streamline workflows and increase profits, and the same can be said for innovating content. The rise of remote selling in 2020 has seen a lot of interest in our interactive content creation platform, and even though we designed it for Virtual Product Tours, customers are making us proud and thinking outside the box. From sales playbooks to processing plant tours anything with an image and things to call out can be an engaging informative communication tool.
Crazy times like Autumn 2020 call for new ways to look at old problems. Plans for 2021 are lean, cautious, yet mostly optimistic. And with the right mindset and the right digital tools they can still be innovative and effective.