What makes a great B2B copywriter

COVID 19 has changed the B2B sales model

COVID 19 has not only shaken up the B2B sales model in the short term, but will probably have permanent effects - this is one of the findings from several current studies. As a result, according to Joe Pulizzi, there are eight things content marketers must do now in this crisis.

Marketing expenses have dropped dramatically

B2B companies have significantly reduced their marketing spend as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, several studies confirm.

  • In Germany, around 50 percent of companies did this, in the USA 57%, according to a worldwide McKinsey study of 3,600 B2B decision-makers.
  • But the changes in the B2B model are more fundamental and possibly longer lasting than just a decrease in marketing budgets.
  • With contact restrictions, companies have changed the way they contact their buyers, mainly through the use of more digital communication methods.
  • The preference for digital orders is now about 1.5x higher than traditional sales interactions; digital ordering methods are now preferred for self-service, e.g. the ordering of mobile applications has increased by 200 percent.

Most of the respondents believe these changes will last 12 months or more, with 73% responding that their new commercial and go-to-market models are either very likely (20% in D. and 32% in US) or rather likely (53% in D. . or 47% in the USA) will persist.

During the Corona crisis, companies changed the way they contact their buyers.
(Source: MarketingCharts)

What changes have occurred in the sales models?

Before the crisis, almost 6 out of 10 (57%) companies sold through sales teams in the office or in the field. As expected, this has changed with the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • This number is now only 1 in 5 (20%). There was also a decrease in the use of back office sales, which is a bit surprising given that these are remote interactions. Half of the companies (50%) used this channel before the crisis, but now only 39% say they do.
  • Instead, there has been an increase in online and self-service interactions. The use of online / web support (e.g. chatting with customers via video / website / mobile phone application) increased from 63% to 73%, while the acceptance of e-commerce (direct sales without the involvement of a sales representative) rose slightly by 47% to 50 % has increased.
  • Thus, e-commerce accounts for a larger share of revenue: for companies selling online, e-commerce accounted for 52% of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 40% before the COVID-19 pandemic .

B2B e-commerce and self-service are on the rise

An overview of the marketing charts shows that sales in B2B e-commerce had increased even before COVID-19.

  • Accordingly, Forrester Research predicted that e-commerce would account for one eighth of B2B sales in the US this year.
  • A study by Accenture is also cited, which supported this trend and showed that B2B buyers are already increasing both their average number of items per e-commerce purchase and their average order values.
  • Episerver's cited data also suggests B2B buyers cite self-service functionality as the second most important factor in how vendors' websites can be improved.

This is supported by data from McKinsey's study.

  • When asked about the three most important methods of buying goods and services, the self-service option of using a mobile app was mentioned three times as often this year (37%) than in 2019 (11%).
  • In contrast, the preferred methods that have fallen behind are calling a sales representative (from 53% to 33% year-over-year) and ordering in person from a sales representative (47% to 27%).

The budgets are reallocated

According to analysis by NewsCred and Sirkin Research, the top areas where marketers expect budgets to decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic are:

The analyzes by NewsCred and Sirkin Research show serious budget declines.

  • personal events / conferences (88% say so),
  • Direct mail / reach (34%),
  • digital advertising (27%) and premium content (19%).

The top areas marketers are planning a budget shift in are:

Increased focus due to the crisis: online and self-service interactions.

  • virtual events (78%),
  • Web content (72%),
  • Webinars (67%),
  • social media (66%),
  • Blog content (57%) and video production (50%).

see also the evaluations at Forbes.com.

SEO is strengthened

According to the study by conductor "The Impact of COVID-19 on Marketing", marketers expect the COVID-19 crisis and the economic turmoil to

The crisis makes SEO even more important.

  • 65% a decrease in marketing budgets and 86% that marketing goals will be more difficult to achieve,
  • more than half believe that SEO is more important at this time.
  • That's why investing in digital marketing and SEO comes first as marketers prepare to cut back on costly areas like paid media and staff.

Content marketing can do more than just survive in the new world

Joe Pulizzi is one of the most influential marketing bloggers and founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He names eight things content marketers need to do now in this crisis:

1. Take a fresh look at your goals
Like it or not, you need to make changes to your content marketing strategy. Today. In almost all cases, the needs and desires of the target groups with whom you communicate have changed. We have to adapt to this in our strategies.

2. Focus on your true believers
In an economic crisis like this, it's best to focus on a smaller, more profitable audience. If the economy grows again in the future, you can absolutely expand your audience base. Now is the time to focus on the "true believers" in your audience.

3. Review your content focus
The main focus is on that area of ​​the internet where there is little or no competition that actually gives a fighter the chance to break through and become relevant.

  • Target Audience - Can you focus on a super-niche audience or an underserved section of your target audience?
  • Positioning - It all starts to sound the same. Can you talk about the topic in a different way, name it differently, and start a trend?
  • Platform - Is there a content gap on a particular platform? Maybe there isn't a podcast or YouTube series on your topic.
  • Subject - let's be honest. Your subject is probably way too broad. Go into the niche even if you think it's too niche. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a “too big niche”.

4. Develop an internal content marketing initiative
Customer-oriented employees promote customer acquisition and retention. This is true now more than ever. Remember, your people are always your best marketing asset. Embed them in any content you create (via a simple email newsletter for sales reps, a weekly podcast, or a Slack group).

5. Steal the audience
The best way to involve influencers is to NOT ask anything of them.

  • Just start creating content and publish their efforts and expertise.
  • Build it into your content programs. You will be amazed how many people are willing to share this type of work.
  • Later, when you've established a relationship with the person, you can ask them if they'd like to help you create original content or be a guest on your podcast.
  • As you build relationships with these important influencers over time, they will share your content and you will attract their target audience to your platforms.

6. Use the best talent in the world
Involve quality writers whenever possible. Where can you find them?

  • Freelancers can also be found in the imprint of the media. You should also search individual LinkedIn pages where the writers and journalists usually have notified their community that they are actively looking for work.
  • Second, we reached out to media brands with a number of content ideas and stated that we would like to create content for them for free and without promoting any product or service. This worked brilliantly as a number of media companies were extremely open to content ideas of any kind.

7. Prepare for an asset sale
Blogging / influencer sites and media companies have two things that we want and need.

  • You have the people and processes to produce amazing content on a consistent basis.
  • Second, and perhaps more importantly, blogs and media sites have an integrated audience.
  • Keep a list of media brands, blogs, and influencer websites that you might want to buy at some point.
  • First, try to develop relationships with key people in these organizations. Maybe bring them to your influencer program.

8. Start closing social channels
The big experiment is over. Well, it's time for some spring cleaning.

  • First, you need to review what you are doing on each social channel for each individual audience.
  • Ask yourself the following questions: Do you have a goal for each channel?
  • Are you achieving your goals (or are you at least heading in the right direction)?
  • Are you targeting too many audiences with your social channels?
  • Is your content plan working for this channel? Is it consistent?

After doing this analysis, you will most likely find that some channels are working well, others are fine, and some are doing absolutely nothing and draining resources. What should i do?

  • The social channels that are draining resources should be closed and turned into listening channels (feedback only).
  • Those with whom you are just "OK" need to be treated appropriately.
  • That means either investing the right content, the right cadence, and the right resources to make them great, or closing them down as well.

Remember, you DO NOT have to be everywhere your audience is on the social web.
(Source: abridged excerpt from the Content Marketing Institute)

Martin Ortgies: As a specialist journalist, I write for specialist magazines, create blog and newsletter texts, case studies and white papers. I write for companies in areas such as automation technology, electrical engineering, electronics, industry, IT, logistics, mechanical engineering or software. My customers come from regions such as Hamburg, Hanover, Berlin, Stuttgart and Munich.