In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales and marketing leaders face enormous pressure to optimize budgets while continuing to drive growth. The current economic climate may make lead generation spending seem like a necessary sacrifice from quickly dwindling budgets, but be careful to not fall into that short-sighted trap.
Any business cycle or downturn requires businesses to “conserve cash and budget through smarter spending and realigning resource requirements to new realities,” according to research from Gartner (full report available to Gartner clients). Rather than halt spending completely, sales and marketing leaders should rethink how to approach spending as a means to continue to effectively meet buyers in their new purchase journeys, and emerge in a strong position after the cycle shifts again.
Realign resources to meet new consumer realities
It’s impossible for sales and marketing leaders to avoid the effects of the current environment on their existing strategies. Be transparent and available to your customers, but don’t flood them with outreach in an attempt to salvage sales and explain new priorities. Gartner notes that “even prior to the rise of the pandemic, consumers were overwhelmed with information.” (Gartner Consumer Values and Lifestyle Survey, 2019)
Adapt to the cultural shifts driven by COVID-19 that see buyers turn to online resources for product research and purchases. Present solutions organically through third-party sites or helpful content across SEO-optimized channels to “meet customers where they are in their own recovery.” (full report available to Gartner clients)
Steps to take right now
Achieve resilience through the coronavirus pandemic by maintaining a full-funnel, uninterrupted sales cycle and continuing to build competitive position. Those who cut lead generation spending in an attempt to salvage the budget will only set their sales cycle back and hinder future growth. Businesses that “practice discipline and display confidence, accelerating during economic turns will outperform brands that hit the brakes in an attempt to cut their way to growth.” (full report available to Gartner clients)
Mind the data
As this global health pandemic restricts public movement, several digital industries have experienced significant increases in demand. Across the Gartner Digital Markets network of sites — Capterra, Software Advice and GetApp — we’ve seen buyer traffic to high-demand categories increase anywhere from 300% to more than 1,000%. Rapid spikes in such short periods of time can overwhelm and drain your teams’ resources. It’s more important than ever to strategically identify and target the most viable prospects using relevant buyer intent signals and data, and make the most of available sales and marketing reserves.
Learn more about how to adapt sales and marketing strategy based on changing buyer behavior in our on-demand webinar, "Move Forward: Identify and Understand Critical Shifts in Software Buyer Behaviors."
Andrew Rosenblatt is the Group Vice President of Sales and Vendor Services for Gartner Digital Markets. Andrew’s worked with Gartner for 19 years, leading development and management of multiple new offerings as well as leveraging his expertise in data and analytics to inform strategy and improve the effectiveness of sales and service functions. When not at work, Andrew loves spending time on the water in his home state of Connecticut. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.