What Software Providers Can Do During Times of Disruption

April 3, 2020
Contributor: Casey Briglia

To weather disruptions or downturns, think strategically about resource prioritization while continuing to nurture long-term initiatives.

For businesses coping with sudden disruptions like the COVID-19 global pandemic, quick budget and resource decisions are the order of the day. Most of those allocations focus on short-term wins to financially support the business while ensuring employee safety.

But how can software providers think longer term, and continue nurturing initiatives such as brand building and review collection, while prioritizing urgent issues as they arise? Listen carefully to your customers’ needs and use their inputs to create a plan to emerge stronger on the other side of this pandemic.

Create a stronger presence online

Prioritize your digital presence, as COVID-19 forces all prospect interactions online. According to recent guidance from Gartner, “B2B marketers will need to improve their mobile and desktop websites to better serve business buyers.” Use any additional resources to strengthen user experience and optimize your online presence, including your website and third-party profiles.

Adapt to rapidly changing buyer needs by providing value outside of normal online offerings. That value add can be in the form of educational resources, helpful tools or “revised site architecture to promote quick navigation to critical buying information,” as recommended by Gartner.

Be resourceful and thoughtful in sales outreach

In any time of disruption, people still rely on software tools and solutions. During a global health crisis, selling it can feel trivial. Remember: Buyers need to think first about the safety and security of their teams, connect with their loved ones and create a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times.  

Make your teams or your services available and approachable to buyers without appearing to take advantage of the situation through thoughtful, empathetic outreach. Leverage third-party platforms like the Gartner Digital Markets network of sites to ensure buyers can connect with you on their terms, when they’re ready and not before.

If you’re servicing an industry that’s experiencing a greater demand for additional products, take this time to fine-tune lead scoring to increase outreach return and maximize available resources. Be strategic — spend time to support existing customers and reach high-value prospects rather than chase down a wave of smaller leads.

Adjust marketing tactics

Appropriate marketing messaging may change at a rapid pace during an evolving situation like the COVID-19 pandemic. Prepare multiple scenarios from best case to worst to stay on top of the changing market landscape. Monitor COVID-19 updates and consumer reactions daily, and adjust sales and marketing messages accordingly. Keep employees informed on messaging shifts through appropriate and efficient communication channels.

Rethink what you can benefit from customer reviews. Don’t approach reviews as a means to gain something from your buyers, but as a consumer listening tool for you to help them. Collect and monitor real-time shifts in customer sentiment and expectations (full report available to Gartner clients).

Learn more about how to adapt sales and marketing strategy based on changing buyer behavior in our on-demand webinar, "Dive Deeper: Explore the Power of Buyer Intent."

Casey Briglia
Casey Briglia is a Marketing Specialist on the Vendor Marketing team at Gartner Digital Markets. She specializes in creating B2B content and helping software vendors reach their marketing goals through educational videos, infographics and blog posts. When not at work, Casey can be found walking her dog, listening to podcasts and baking chocolate chip cookies. Connect with Casey on LinkedIn.

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