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Recession Proof: Digitally Beat Your Competition

These are strange times

You’ve probably been buried with ideas on how to double up on digital. But chances are likely we could head for a global recession. Which smart actions can you take right now to prepare and actually grow?

4 Digital Ways To Tackle A Recession

A recession doesn’t have to mean your business will decline too! There’s always the other side of the medal. There are much more ways to tackle a crisis (e.g. introduce channel or licensing models, adjust pricing models). According to Simon-Kucher & Partners there are 6 areas to focus on.

  • Adjust cost and plan for multiple scenarios (e.g. Reduce full-time staff, starting with low-performers, introduce contractors)
  • Stay close to your customers and protect revenue (e.g. Double down on your key accounts that drive most revenue)
  • Implement smart pricing and protect margins (e.g. Defend prices and offer less expensive alternatives)
  • Revise commercial model and realign sources (e.g. Adjust your offering to focus on services that still provide value)
  • Capitalize on growth areas (e.g. Which products and core markets still have growth potential?)
  • Prepare for eventual rebound (e.g. Assess competitive moves and develop responses, or buy up competition)

But let’s zoom in on some more tangible digital initiatives you could take and prepare for:

  1. Market demand for your products or services drops
    Then you can still grow, but you will have to do it at the expense of your competition. Be quicker to respond, Be better at addressing the needs of your prospects. Better understand your audience in order to be more relevant than your competition.
  2. Your cost-per-deal is too high (to compete)
    You can reduce your cost of acquisition with your online marketing ads spend, but you can also improve sales alignment and your lead management process. Doubling up on digital can also result in new channels and methods to drive cheaper leads at scale.
  3. You’ve come up with new anti-cyclic products or services, but are not able to launch them quick enough
    Your marketing technology stack should be set up in such a way, with supporting processes and organizational skills, that you can always test, launch, and scale new initiatives at lightning speed.
  4. Your prospects and customers will become reluctant to invest in (larger) commitments. How to help them overcome? 
    Demand will also drop within your current customer base (and existing prospect list). How can you gain trust and nurture them to gain trust to still purchase your products and/or services? But also make sure to double up in your key accounts!

1. How to grow at the expense of your competition?

Obviously, you can put more effort into your differentiating products/services with higher margins to take more market share. But you can also increase your market share by being better in the digital game than your competition.

Increase your capability to drive more net new names. Use new and innovative digital methods to convert leads. Offer your website visitors more and different ways to convert. Some examples include chat and conversational marketing to enable leads to book meetings with sales straight away. Or you can migrate your videos from YouTube/Vimeo to an actual professional video platform, which enables you to add forms throughout your videos. Or highly target your content on LinkedIn and leverage the LinkedIn Lead Gen Form functionality.

Also make sure you follow up on your leads more quickly than the competition!

2. How to reduce your cost-per-sale?

You could beat your competitors by making sure your cost of acquisition is lower than your competitors’. Lowering or optimizing your ad spent is something you’ve likely already covered. But don’t waste those expensively generated leads. Make sure your lead management process is state-of-the-art. SiriusDecisions found out that companies that have excellent lead management processes get 8x more business out of the same amount of new names, than companies who do not properly manage their lead management process. So there is so much room for improvement. Integrate your engagement platform with your CRM in a proper way, stamp your lead stages, have clear SLA’s, ensure a swift lead follow up, leverage sales enablement tools, structurally communicate between marketing and sales, etc. This enables you to maintain your sales velocity and shorten the sales cycle and increase the lead-to-business ratio.

On top of those digital initiatives, you could double down on existing deals in the pipeline. This is especially important for B2B companies with a complex ‘long’ sales cycle. Companies with a short transactional sales cycle could fully focus on new name generation.

3. How to quickly launch your products and/or services?

One way to thrive during a recession is by introducing new products and/or services that fit the new reality. And when you create those after some investment it is key to be able to go-to-market at lightning speed.

If you have done your job proficiently, you should have a marketing technology stack and organization that is flexible and scalable. Your MarTech should be your growth hacker’s dream toolbox to quickly test and pilot new hypotheses and then scale those ideas that work. Adding new campaigns, new nurture streams, new content, new channels, and/or new products should take you minimal effort. Double up on digital now to ensure your MarTech Stack is robust enough for challenges or opportunities in the near future.

4. How to help your audience overcome their reluctance to invest in your products and/or services?

It’s important to double down on your key accounts by understanding their pains and addressing these pains (e.g. over-deliver on service, update payment terms, collaborate with them). For mid-value customers, focus on specific business opportunities only. And make sure to increase the average deal size by upselling where possible. 

But prepare yourself for prospects and customers that will become reluctant to invest (large sums) in your products or services. Yes you can offer them price alternatives, but price is not the issue. Your customers and prospects must be able to clearly value your products and service to justify the price tag. So you must educate them! Now lead nurturing is more important than ever. Even if they don’t buy now, due to budget issues, they might buy after the recession!

This resource was written by Diederik Martens
Chief Marketing Technologist
Founder of Chapman Bright

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