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Four ways to refresh lead generation during COVID-19

If your sales numbers are stuck in a rut, it’s time to reinvent

Chris Temperante
Chris Temperante
CEO / Partner

Remember the movie Groundhog Day? Bill Murray’s character experiences the same February day over and over for a period of weeks. Same breakfast, same annoying neighbors, same end of winter forecast by the groundhog himself.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, many of our work and life experiences feel similarly redundant. Opportunities for business travel, customer events, face-to-face meetings and even going to the office or public places are extremely limited. If your day-to-day routine seems stuck in a rut, there’s a good chance your customers are in the same situation.

For sales and marketing professionals, it’s an opportunity to refresh your approach. How can you interact with your B2B or medtech customers and prospects right now in a way that’s relevant, memorable and shows your empathy with the current environment?

We’re seeing success with lead generation campaigns and customer communications like these that reinvent various aspects of the sales and marketing process.

Four ways to refresh your approach to lead generation during COVID-19

1. Revisit your value proposition

Remember last January? Back in the idyllic pre-pandemic days, videoconferencing was a “nice to have” option. Companies used Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet for internal meetings or the occasional customer demo. Fast forward a few months, and there’s hardly a man, woman or child who hasn’t used one of these applications for work, school or socializing.

Almost overnight, the value proposition for videoconferencing services changed dramatically. Instead of going to market with messages about efficiency or quality, these services became a business continuity requirement. Ease of use, immediacy of installation, bandwidth and security became critical differentiators. Zoom quickly outpaced the competition to become synonymous with staying connected.

The use cases for your product or service may not be this extreme, but the game-changing aspects of COVID-19 make it vital to revisit your value proposition. The right message—and the right tone—are critical to success in the current environment. Think about the challenges your customers face right now and how they’ve had to adapt their own business models, then tailor your brand message to speak to those situations.

2. Redefine your target audience

Before COVID-19, local gyms, yoga studios and health clubs were packed. Group classes and individual sessions with personal trainers were prevalent. Now, just a few months into the pandemic, we’re seeing a wave of interest in home exercise equipment, as well as virtual classes and apps that help manage health and fitness.

For fitness and technology companies, their products are the same—what’s changed is their target audience. With so much activity now taking place from home, whole families are looking for new ways to stay in shape, while simultaneously staying safe. In addition, virtual delivery means we’re no longer limited by geography. If you’re interested in a specific online class or trainer, technology now makes it possible no matter where you’re located.

The lesson for sales and marketing professionals? If you’re experiencing tepid results with your tried-and-true customer and prospect segments, consider breaking out of your Groundhog Day rut by taking your solution to new audiences. Outbound calling is a great way to quickly test your approach across various industries or decision-makers before rolling out large-scale campaign.

3. Reveal something new

When COVID-19 first appeared this spring, retail clothing stores were hit hard. Quarantine orders forced many to close temporarily, impacting customers, as well as the fashion designers and manufacturers upstream in their supply chains. Some faltered, but others in the apparel business turned to innovation. Fashion designers and clothing manufacturers adapted their skills and equipment to produce cloth masks for the general public, or personal protective equipment like gowns for healthcare workers. Retailers turned to e-commerce, home delivery and curbside pickup to survive.

For B2B and medtech companies, conditions are different, but the underlying premise is the same. Evaluate what’s changed in your marketplace, then find a new spin to link your product or service to the most pressing needs and challenges your target audience is experiencing right now.

  • Which features of your solution are most helpful in a virtual environment?
  • How can your product be used in new ways to solve today’s challenges?
  • Are there completely new ways you can serve your clients, such as through training, consulting or add-on services?

A little brainstorming with company stakeholders, product management, sales and marketing can reveal new opportunities. Or, pick up the phone and ask your current customers how they’re using your tools in out-of-the-box ways. Then model your next marketing and sales campaign around these “a-ha” ideas. 

4. Reinvent your outreach

Our last recommendation centers on how you communicate to your market. With business travel and customer events on hold for the foreseeable future, the humble telephone call is making a comeback for medtech and B2B sales. (Although, we’d argue it never really went away!).

Outbound calling is particularly effective in the current market because it’s a two-way conversation. Unlike email or digital tools that tell only the company’s side of the story, a phone call creates a true connection. That human contact is powerful. It’s something we’re all craving more than usual. Listening to your customers and prospects is invaluable right now. It’s an integral part of every business development, lead generation or appointment-setting call we make at Volkart May.

Asking the right questions will simultaneously:

  • Build rapport between your company and your target audience
  • Identify current market conditions and valuable competitive insights
  • Demonstrate your empathy to the challenges of COVID-19
  • Qualify a prospect’s interest, purchasing timeframe, budget and role in the sales process
  • Produce actionable insights that improve your marketing and sales efforts

Not every inside sales team or business development representative (BDR) is suited to this type of outreach. There will also be times when it’s important to flex your resources with call volumes that exceed your internal capacity. And, there’s the final challenge of coaching and managing this work in a remote environment. Working with a professional contact center to outsource all or a portion of your B2B and medtech lead generation can be a smart way to move forward.

Someday soon, we’ll wake up and find the calendar’s moved beyond Groundhog Day and COVID-19. Until then, trying these and other techniques to refresh and reinvigorate your sales and marketing approach is a good first step. If you’re curious about how outbound calling can support your goals, contact us.

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