I can see it now, a few months from today as I review a marketer’s resume, under their skills is listed “Remote Workforce Marketing.” It seems just a few weeks ago that no one would even know what I was speaking about, but today, in these challenging times, when many non-essential businesses have gone remote, it has become a very real skill.
Remote Workforce Marketing isn’t a singular skill, nor does it demand completely new technologies. What is does require, however, is a new way of approaching marketing. COVID-19 is teaching marketers that the common B2B tactics that we have relied upon for decades, like tradeshows and events, can no longer be leveraged blindly to drive demand generation. We will have to adapt our approaches to reach potential buyers in new, much more effective ways. So, what are the key issues to understand to become a Remote Workforce Marketer?
Issue #1: How do I drive leads when I can’t meet face-to-face?
Let’s begin by saying, it will be different, but not impossible. For many B2B SaaS organizations, marketing leaders are looking to fill a gaping hole made by mass event cancellations around the world. Some are lucky that their “big shows” have already happened (like RSA), many had their 2020 marketing plans turned upside down. In the wake of these cancellations, everyone has found their solution …more virtual events! And that may seem like a logical replacement, but trust me, the concept of “webinar fatigue” is a real thing. Regardless, one thing is certain, you must embrace digital engagement NOW!
- Focus on your community – Every business has a community or several communities (e.g., security professionals, developers, commerce, etc.). Create events that are authentic, provide opportunities for your community to interact (customers and prospects), include customers speaking about their approaches, and give everyone enough time and the tools e.g., separate “meeting rooms” to interact virtually.
- Create digital engagement variety – Most of us are stuck at home and are on an endless parade of Zoom calls. It is critical that you work to find new and different ways to engage your audience that actually seems like a break from the monotony of our socially distanced days. Here are a few ideas to spur your creativity:
- Vary the size of the events, some with a smaller number of attendees and others with larger groups
- Partner with well recognized brands or speakers to provide new perspectives
- Experiment with true, large scale virtual events with tools like Inxpo
- Develop an education series or certificate program that keeps users/prospects interacting with you on a weekly basis
- Create more festive environments by providing gift cards for wine or food to accompany your event
Issue #2: How can I connect with someone if they aren’t in their office?
Clearly, this is a key dilemma. Inside selling teams, AE’s, and marketers will all be challenged to find ways to interact with a customer or prospect when you can’t identify where they are working. As well, the tools modern marketers have come to rely upon (e.g., Drift, online ad targeting, intent data, etc.) may not work as expected when people are not in their usual business locations and their digital ID’s are incorrect.
- Consider direct mail – Now, this may seem impossible given that people are not in their office and working from new remote locations, but many direct marketing specialists have excellent tools to help with this challenge. Alyce can provide digital gifting ideas powered by AI and includes an ability to drive philanthropy. Sendoso added address confirmation to its direct marketing platform that allows targeted prospects to add their own mailing address. Reachdesk enables organizations in the EU to drive digital and physical gifting programs.
- Leverage technology to identify prospects – Normally, we all have digital exhaust that enables marketers to identify prospects and provide them with personalized experiences. Today, this is much more challenging when people are in remote locations. Insight portfolio company 6sense can help identify the Dark Funnel™ through its proprietary technology that leverages IP address, cookies, and device ID’s to identify visitors. As well, another Insight company, Episerver can help drive content relevance through website personalization that does not rely on IP address.
Issue #3: How do I prioritize who to target in a Remote Workforce campaign?
All marketers are going to be called upon to reduce budgets and it will be more important than ever to spend money judiciously in the areas with the highest potential ROI. This means it will become critical to prioritize your marketing initiatives, whom you are targeting, and where you are spending your money.
- Focus on the best segments – If you aren’t running account based plays, maybe now is the time to test it. At the core of ABX (account-based marketing, selling, and customer success) is segmenting your market. Today, this is critical given that many segments that were strong prior to this crisis may no longer represent strong opportunities. Account Based strategies will enable you to focus on the accounts and segments that are most likely to respond to the integrated approach that account based campaigns deliver. You should also redirect online ad dollars to focus on segments that will convert sooner versus later.
- Know your ideal customer and when they are in-market – Bottom line: if a prospect doesn’t represent a strong ideal customer fit, it may make sense to reallocate those resources. Your organization must define which prospects are the right fit for your product given today’s much altered landscape. Equally important, you should be focusing on intent data that informs you when a customer is in-market for your type of solution. Multiple providers including 6Sense, Bombora, and G2 Crowd can help you identify who is exhibiting intent to buy your product.
Ultimately, I believe that COVID-19 will change the way we market B2B SaaS software forever, but I am not sure that is all bad! As marketers adapt and become more skilled at Remote Workforce Marketing, they will emerge stronger in their craft, leveraging tactics that are both more efficient and effective. And I know that as we emerge from this chaos, the best marketers will be in a position to quickly leverage their new skills, strategies and tactics to propel their organizations toward growth and recovery.