Go Full Throttle with Summer Marketing
It might go against conventional thinking, but we hope this blog will convince you that now is the time to go full throttle investing in marketing this summer to build pipeline for sales.
The summer months are typically associated with scarcer enquiries, reduced lead volume, a drop in opportunities and fewer sales. Traditional thinking suggests that getting decisions and closing sales during the summer is fraught with difficulty and, consequently, less attention is given to marketing campaigns and lead generation efforts during this time.
As a company at the sharp end of lead generation, we find that this traditional thinking isn’t in line with the reality of most corporate strategies. In fact, taking your foot off the gas in the summer can have a profoundly negative effect on reaching your sales goals.
This summer is different as many people are furloughed and businesses are working at a lower capacity due to COVID-19. However, there are still many working remotely from home and opportunities to build pipeline are still available. Why not try breaking the mould. Ignore any threatened sales slump by ramping up your lead generation activity instead. Sounds a little risky? Ok, bear with us. We will explain why this is exactly the approach you should be taking. And we’ll even back it up with some stats.
The Background. The Myth.
Traditionally the summer holidays have been considered a marketing dead zone. People with school aged children take time off and it is widely believed that firms take their feet off the pedal. Summer is perceived as a time for sales and marketing teams to regroup, reflect and strategise. A suggested consequence of this regrouping and reflecting is that companies are reluctant to spend time on or invest money in marketing campaigns. Further to these traditional myths, in 2020 we also face the COVID-19 factor.
As a marketing services agency we face a range of objections to summer marketing campaigns and this year, with COVID-19 is even more challenging. However, if you stop marketing your salespeople will have nothing to follow up over the coming months. CPB takes a nurturing approach to opportunities and can schedule follow ups for when your sales personnel are back in the office from a summer break or, indeed, are unfurloughed. We’ll keep your leads warm, nurturing them until you are ready to proceed.
What About The COVID-19 factor?
Since March we have seen some evidence of sales cycles getting shorter. Decisions are being made more quickly due to the rapid response needed with COVID-19. Whilst it is true that some delivery dates have been postponed as a result of lack of product availability due to supply chain issues, the appetite for purchasing is there.
With business closed until recently, and many still working from home where they can, companies have had to make quick purchasing decisions on remote working technologies and the sales process is being conducted at a faster pace. Whilst we don’t condone ambulance chasing, this is a time where the right product is required rapidly in order to avoid business interruption. If you offer such remote working technologies, you could find yourself delivering much needed solutions at a swifter rate than usual.
Despite lockdown, we encourage you to recognising the importance of maintaining your marketing activities. Even though many corporate offices are still closed, staff are working from home. Business hasn’t stopped, premises have simply changed. In our new normal it is key it is for companies to continue generating sales pipeline in this ever more challenging pandemic era.
COVID-19 Is A Game Changer
Whilst COVID-19 is a huge game changer and is dramatically altering the way we live and work, it also brings opportunities. With people working from home more, remote working technologies are required to avoid business interruption. Furthermore, there is a bigger requirement for home office furniture and equipment. Additionally, the property market is apparently booming with people looking to move from the cities to the countryside. As working from home had been proven to be an effective and productive alternative to office-based working people are looking to move to more rural locations where they are fewer people and they can afford larger houses, with a home office and a garden. In lockdown town centre houses and apartments have become less appealing. Moving forward, we are seeing home working becoming far more commonplace, which will mean remote working and cloud technologies will be in high demand. Decisions will be made quickly and campaigns you run this summer, will lead to rapid conversations and conversions.
It’s time to start thinking about the summer months as a time of bountiful opportunity!
Here’s the real backstory to the summer …
1. There is no mass exodus
IT departments don’t allow all their staff to go on annual leave en masse. Key personnel stay in the office to keep the home fires burning. These are the people you want to talk to. What is more, gate keepers are likely to be on leave, giving telemarketers a better chance of getting through to decision makers. What is more, don’t let an out of office put you off. Support telemarketing campaigns with a follow up nurturing email. In so doing you can filter out people with an out of office on and schedule calls for when they are back.
2. Summer is the perfect time to plan, prepare and scope
Many companies use the quieter summer months to plan projects and scope solutions, therefore this is an ideal time to approach decision makers with new products and services.
3. The lights are on and there is somebody home
With gatekeepers on holiday, summer provides a rare opportunity to make contact and build direct relationships with key personnel to significantly shorten the sales cycle.
4. Focus and target
We flag companies who have a summer shutdown e.g. manufacturing and engineering companies and the education sector. This year leisure and tourism companies (as well as other types of industry heavily affected by COVID-19) also fit into this category with large numbers of staff on furlough. These company types are removed from our campaign data, making targeting more effective and call rates more successful.
Why Are We So Sure Of Our Approach? Let the numbers do the talking.
In 2019, CPB generated 549 leads from summer campaigns. These summertime leads produced a total pipeline stream of £1.18M, of which:
£590,000 has converted to won business
£623,000 is still being worked
How Did We Help Our Clients Achieve This?
We promoted the use of multi-touch marketing
We used an omni-channel approach to reach end-users
We monitored digital communication interactions and used granular analytics to find the most fruitful send times & content
We follow up on topics that the end-user is actively interacting with
We never leave a stone unturned; we get through to contacts by leaving voicemails, sending introductory emails, and connecting on LinkedIn
How Can You Beat the B2B Summer Sales Slump?
1. Choose focused, targeted, and personalised multi-touch marketing lead generation activities
2. Use top quality, intelligent data to understand your target audience and offer solutions that make the difference
3. Contact people, when, where and how they prefer, with targeted and relevant offers, promotions, and products
View The Summer As An Opportunity Rather Than A Threat.
Summer is the perfect time to look for the business that will help you achieve your end of year targets. Marketing activity now could bring in sales that help you hit your annual target. Running marketing campaigns throughout the summer will also help to generate leads for the beginning of next year, resulting in you starting the new year on a high with a juicy pipeline.
Use these summer months, particularly in light of COVID-19, to embrace change and find creative solutions to add value with an increased emphasis on the digital world:
Reach out to your audience when travel is restricted and conferences are cancelled - use digital experiences to keep your relationships on track
Adapt your content to stand out in the crowded marketplace
Pivot your field marketing and event strategy to focus on digital opportunities
Fill the lead gen and brand building gap with multi-touch marketing campaigns
Shift channel strategies, plans, budget and resources
Keep your employees motivated during the crisis through effective corporate messaging on your response to COVID-19, what changes your clients can expect and what you will do to support them through the pandemic
By keeping up campaign momentum you develop a steady supply of leads for your sales team, which maintains moral, energy and enthusiasm. It’s a win-win.