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April 3, 2020 Marketing

3 Ways Businesses Should Market & Sell in Uncertain Times

By Brian Anderson

It’s a scary time to be in business. That’s why now, more than ever, companies must come together and share ideas and strategies to help keep their marketing and sales practices focused while also continuing to drive business success.

BrainSell recently hosted a digital discussion with some of the smartest minds in the business world. The goal of the conversation was to talk a bit more about what businesses should be doing from a marketing and sales perspective during these difficult times. Participants during the “chat around the virtual watercooler” included:

  •       Todd Caponi, industry thought leader and author of The Transparency Sale;
  •       Logan Henderson, GM for Marketing Automation at SugarCRM;
  •       Jim Ward, Founder of BrainSell;
  •       Sonja Fridell, President of BrainSell;
  •       Tom Stamm, Account Executive at SugarCRM; and
  •       Sarah Reed, VP of Marketing at BrainSell.

Caponi highlighted a stat from his research that shows 60% of the Fortune 500 were founded during times of uncertainty, proving that there is always room for growth within the business world — even during trying times.

Below are just three of my main takeaways from the conversation that highlight different ways that you pivot your sales and marketing strategies to focus on the customer and ensure that they continue to grow.

#1 Stop the Automated Sales Cadences

Once your business begins automating many of its day-to-day tasks, it might be difficult to revert to manual outreach. However, now more than ever, it is vital for businesses to pause their automated cadences and focus the conversations more on the customers’ wellbeing.

“I’ve completely stopped my automated cadences; if people haven’t responded to me, I’m putting them on the backburner,” Fridell said. “I really repositioned all my deals to how can we help and how can we make an impact. When I call people that I’ve worked with or haven’t worked with yet, it creates a real sense of connection that wasn’t there before.”

#2 Focus Marketing on Building Community

Another takeaway was the concept of building a community within your customer base. While marketers are typically tasked with driving demand, it is now vital for them to create conversations with customers to understand their needs and pain points. Henderson from SugarCRM noted that this strengthens the bond between the brand and the customer, ultimately creating a community of like-minded practitioners willing to share ideas and provide support.

“Everyone’s looking for a sense of community, and businesses that can engage with their customers and their prospects and build community in this digital world will succeed,” Henderson said. “I don’t think that’s going to go away when things go back to normal.”

Caponi reiterated that now is not the time to hide your products and services from your customers. He added that he would be “pissed” if people were keeping potential solutions from him. “You’re doing a disservice by not reaching out to your customers with potential solutions to their problems,” Caponi said. “You just have to be empathetic.”

#3 Look to Trade Terms, Not Just Discounts

In times like these, it is common for businesses to try to mitigate as much loss as possible. A common practice is to offer massive discounts to products or services. However, experts noted during the panel that this is only going to cause more problems for you down the line.

Instead of focusing on pricing discounts, a better option may be to consider trading terms with customers. Caponi went on to describe the four essential terms to any business, which include:

  •       The volume of products/services;
  •       How fast a customer can pay;
  •       The length of commitment (contract length, etc.); and
  •       The timing of the deal, which helps to better forecast the pipeline.

Pairing off a discount with either of these options can provide more value to the deal for your customers without creating more headaches for your bottom-line revenue later down the road.

“None of your businesses are a charity; giving discounting is just giving to their bottom line,” Caponi said. “It’s important to trade terms. For example, with the length of commitment, companies right now are willing to extend their terms with you in order to get their dollars down. So, pay them in the form of a discount to extend their terms, pay them in the form of a discount to pay in cash faster. If you’re a new business salesperson, get them to help you forecast by mutually aligning around the timing — then pay them in the form of a discount to hold to it.”

All these takeaways are just the tip of the conversation’s iceberg. It was amazing to hear these thought leaders discuss this topic so genuinely. Want to hear more? Check out the full discussion below and let us know what your favorite takeaway was from the conversation!

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Author Bio

Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson joined BrainSell as the content marketing manager, but unknowingly became our in-house troubadour as well. Armed with his natural affinity for words and editorial experience, Brian’s ability to generate high-quality content is unmatched.

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