• Helen Pritchett

2020 - What a Year

Updated: May 6, 2021

2020 has been a tumultuous year. We’ve faced challenges in our personal and professional lives. A new normal has been created and we are beginning to wonder if we will ever return to what used to be normal. Life has been turned upside down and inside out. Unemployment is increasing, certain liberties have been curtailed (albeit temporarily), masks are worn, social distancing has become routine, homelessness and poverty are on the rise and we are faced with an unusual festive season ahead. Many feel communities have been brought closer together, but others feel society is ever more divided.

In this, CPB’s 2020 Director’s Review of the Year, as we reflect we can confirm it’s not all been doom and gloom. Whilst many businesses have floundered some have been experiencing a bumper year. Think those that provide PPE, home improvements, pet products, home beauty products, gaming, home delivery services and technology. It’s the latter category that has provided CPB with a healthy balance sheet despite challenges COVID-19 has wrought.

CPB’s senior team reflects on 2020 - the highs and the lows - and gives their opinions on what we might expect in 2021.

What messaging has CPB found most successful this year?

The initial focus was on digital transformation, cloud, remote working, and security. Our most successful campaigns in terms of ROI were based on technologies that enabled working from home.

Once these technologies were in place, we found the focus shifted to ongoing product awareness, launches and updates. With no live events taking place, tech

companies still had a need to get their message to the masses and their only option was virtually. Webinars, virtual event promotion and multi-touch marketing campaigns were all popular methods of brand awareness raising.

Strength in numbers

Lead generation has been strong this year, with over 2000 leads gained so far. COVID-19 and furlough have affected many businesses, but for those that could work from home (the vast majority of those in the tech space) it was pretty much business as usual. Innovation and business necessities did not slow down and the prerequisite for infrastructure renewal or refreshing did not abate. Whilst the virus may have ravaged certain sectors, particularly hospitality and leisure, the information technology market was prospering.

ROI showed no slow down and nor did our capacity to make contact with key stakeholders. Having had over 15,000 conversations with senior IT decision makers since January 2020, CPB has a YTD total revenue win of £3.5 million and an additional pipeline of £5,529,980.

Telemarketing campaigns saw an increase of 13% over 2019 with successful campaigns being delivered on a weekly basis. Digital advertising and content syndication saw a 20% increase in demand 2020 vs 2019, with CPB pushing out customer advertising via the TechKnow.Online platform. In turn, we’ve supplied customers with intelligence on end user interaction, for follow up by either

their internal sales function, or by flowing these interactions into dedicated multi-touch marketing activities being delivered by CPB. The market analysis reporting, that corresponds with such activities, provided customers with granular insight into market trends, engagement analytics and demonstrated the various shifting patterns across the end user market.

Demand for accurate data intelligence also soared by 15% in 2020 vs 2019, with recognition from customers that accurate, intelligence rich data is a necessity for reaching key IT decision makers in such a different outbound engagement era. The mobile number and direct dial base contained within ProspectaBase not only allowed CPB UK to continue to reach IT stakeholders whilst the world turned to working from home, but also empowered our customer’s marketing and sales functions to do the same.

2020 ups and downs

When assessing what has made the difference this year, it’s hard to ascertain. We’ve seen great telemarketing success with the records where we have direct lines and mobile numbers. Many companies that closed did not have phone systems capable of transferring calls remotely so CPB’s ability to make direct contact with decision makers proved vital to our success.

Any government announcement has sent the world into a panic and the days prior to the announcement are fraught with tension, uncertainty and anticipation, a situation which is generally not conducive to doing business. These weeks have been difficult for IT departments, having to scramble to respond and plan for the weeks and months ahead. However, we’ve found that, once you are through to someone, generally speaking, they have more time to talk and, importantly, have more time to dedicate to virtual meetings.

Companies have been working to re-define their strategies and work in a new normal and this has resulted in a change of direction for a lot of IT companies and business departments as for many this new normal will be forever.

CPB’s transformation to remote working

Being in the IT space, the transition to remote working was straightforward for CPB. We’re delighted with the success of what has been foisted upon us and how our team has rallied to make the very best of a tough situation. Everyone has been flexible and adaptable and has embraced the new normal, even finding themselves being more productive and logging on earlier etc.

Keeping the team motivated as they ride through the ups and downs of lockdown has been a huge challenge. We have been careful to ensure ongoing support for all staff and to consider their mental health and wellbeing.

As a business we’ve adapted, and regular video conferencing has been vital in providing a human to human link. As a team we thrive on human collaboration and interaction and keeping some semblance of this going has been crucial in maintaining morale. Use of virtual meetings and continuous departmental communication has kept everyone up to date and provided a sense of inclusion and togetherness. Furthermore, a monthly staff newsletter was created to keep everyone abreast of company news and to feature information on virtual social occasions such as quiz nights.

Predictions for 2021

The new normal is not relinquishing its grip and many organisations are implying they won’t ever go fully back to the office. This bodes well for those tech companies in the cloud and remote working space. We envisage a raft of improvements and technical innovations to make remote working even more effective and efficient. Budget cuts and redundancies might result in 2021 being slightly steadier, but for those companies that have made it through the year it will be vital to continue investing and improving in order to remain viable.

Technology is arguably the most important component in any new normal and there will always be tech companies innovating and creating new ideas to make our lives easier and more effective.

With face to face events or networking activities still looking precarious for 2021 and with the B2B market already experiencing ‘webinar fatigue’, the way in which Marketing and Sales functions engage with net new prospects, will need to be more innovative than ever.

Continuously staying abreast of market trends, demands and opinions will be key to ensuring that suppliers are pushing out the right messaging, to the right audience and with the right outreach approach. Therefore, it is envisaged that market research initiatives will be more at the fore for many businesses to empower deeper insights and in turn strategy adaption, based on what the market is telling them…not what they ‘think’ the market may need.

Digital and social outreach will continue to be a pivotal focus but correct value proposition and thoroughly thought out audience criteria should not be underestimated, for gleaning the desired outcome. Long gone are the days of ‘casting a wide net’ and waiting for a result – prospects desire a personalised approach and it is predicted that account based marketing will prevail in equipping suppliers with a deeper understanding of target prospect operations and landscapes, to help build personalised and meaningful engagement journeys.

The world changed for everyone in 2020 and we must all embrace the changes that are required for successful business development goals in 2021 and the years ahead – so, let’s make 2021 a year of further innovation, embracing operational growth and further strengthening all aspects of a B2B demand creation ecosystem.

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