Asia Pacific, and the world at large, continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 after almost a year of lockdowns that entailed working and attending school from home. This has created immense opportunities for tech providers and other organisations in the services sector. Videoconferencing, enterprise social networks, and cloud computing topped the list of technologies B2B buyers sought in response to the situation.

Source: IDC

In fact, digitalisation advanced full speed when it became clear that traditional sales methods would not be effective. As McKinsey points out, “digital interactions are two times more important to customers now than they were before the pandemic.” The challenge for all organisations in this environment is to capture the attention of potential and existing customers. Everyone is adopting and enhancing digital tactics, which is making it harder to stand out. Messages need to be refined for each channel and teams retrained to use digital and social media channels effectively. Similar to B2C marketing, consistent, engaging communication is as essential during an economic downturn as it is in boom times.

Making connections with potential customers online ensures that your product or service is top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase and increases the chances of a sale. In India, for example, digital self-service and remote rep interactions are expected to dominate the B2B sales model going forward. Even after the pandemic, digital selling will be a fixture in companies’ go-to-market strategies.

As these changes take shape, now is the time to align marketing efforts with your customers to improve their experience along the purchase journey. Physical events typically consume between 40% and 60% of marketing budgets. That means marketers have been able to reallocate a significant portion of their annual budgets over to these new tactics which should be helpful in delivering some success.

Aligning these, and indeed, any marketing efforts properly starts with a keen understanding of your potential customers. Simply increasing the frequency of communications may turn them off instead of generating more sales if a concerted effort isn’t made to understand who you are reaching on each channel and what their interests are.  Identifying key opinion leaders (KOLs) can also help to boost your brand’s authenticity among target customers. Engaging this group is an important step in gaining influence online.

Media, analysts and investors are also key audiences that should not be neglected. Right back at the start of the pandemic, we helped many clients leverage virtual conferencing solutions to engage with groups of reporters in place of in-person media briefing days and interviews at conferences and trade shows. The results were highly positive and again, the online tactic will enable more spokespeople to engage with more media outside both geography and time zone.

Marketing and communications have had to become more sophisticated to contribute more than just leads. B2B organisations can find success by focusing on targeted digital strategies that connect people with what they need now and repositioning for the future. The worst thing any organisation can do at this stage is hunker down and wait for the pandemic to pass. As Marketing in Asia cautions, “Research shows that it takes five years to recover market share when a brand ‘goes dark’ during a recession.” Remember, consistent communications are essential during this time. How you position your company, and its products and services, strengthens relationships with customers and puts your business at the top of their minds when it is time to make a purchase.