Don’t Stop Sales and Marketing Efforts.  Pivot Your Approach.

Don’t Stop Sales and Marketing Efforts. Pivot Your Approach.

Some businesses have stopped all sales and marketing activities, thinking this is not an appropriate time to pursue new business.

Brent Morris, Vice President of Business Development at SUCCESS Computer Consulting, sees it differently. He considers this time to be an opportunity to pivot their sales and marketing strategy, not stop it.

Brent recently shared what the SUCCESS Computer Consulting team has done to pivot and adjust their sales and marketing strategy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Who is SUCCESS Computer Consulting?

SUCCESS is an outsourced IT provider that serves over 200 businesses, representing over 18K endpoints. They provide best-in-class security, help desk, and IT services for small and medium-sized companies here in the Twin Cities.

SUCCESS is familiar with struggling for growth. Before 2014 they were unable to grow meaningfully as a company.   

After implementing multiple structural changes to their sales organization, SUCCESS grow from $6MM in 2014 to $16MM in 2019.  But, just like everyone else, when COVID-19 hit in mid-March, it was a turning point.

How SUCCESS's clients are being impacted by COVID-19:

  • Almost everyone went home, resulting in remote support needs increasing by over 50%.
  • IT projects stalled except for some critical and in-process work.
  • Demand for onsite resources declined to curb expenses, which is a large part of SUCCESS's business.
  • New business pipelines started to dry up.

The impact on SUCCESS was immediate and caused great concern, even fear. SUCCESS' leadership team focused on being calm and what they could control.

In the absence of face-to-face contact, there was a significant shift in how SUCCESS stay connected internally and externally.

Getting Connected

Microsoft Teams/Zoom/Go-to-meeting has become their preferred source of contact. SUCCESS sees this new form of connecting as a big part of their future using it for first appointments, project review meetings, client strategy meetings, and remote support, which will continue to save time and travel in the future.

SUCCESS had to change its go-to-market strategy as they still needed results. The team stepped up to the challenge.

The Marketing team had to rapidly shift strategy and determine how to best communicate with employees, clients, and prospects. They needed to re-evaluate messaging, events, and consider new opportunities.

Internal Communication Adjustments included:

  1. Twice-a-week updates from department managers.
  2. Executive team updates via email and a weekly virtual town hall.
  3. The creation of a COVID-19 Resource Center to serve as a central hub to access communications and essential documents.

SUCCESS encouraged team engagement by implementing a few fun remote activities that allowed the team to keep connected and boost morale.

A noteworthy adjustment to SUCCESS's social media activity is an increase in posts to 5x a week focusing on providing value through content and understanding the audience's pain points.

SUCCESS also made changes to their paid media campaigns by suspending a cybersecurity e-book promotion and doubling down on a Microsoft 365 campaign that solves the problems many business owners are currently facing.

External Communication Changes

Brent's approach to external marketing content is to provide educational content that finds solutions to help solve the audience's issues.

Typically, SUCCESS feeds its sales pipeline through events, but due to COVID-19, they had to cancel a significant annual event that generates most of their prospects. Brent finds SUCCESS's educational events allow them to build and nurture relationships with their audience and build trust.

A significant pivot required SUCCESS to host a virtual live event partnering with the Microsoft Technology Center. Making this change allowed them to continue to provide the educational content that has become so valuable to their audiences.

Additionally, SUCCESS's product marketing manager shifted in-process work to focus on more consumable offers resulting in an almost immediate new business engagement.

SUCCESS has adopted a "slow down to speed up" mentality, meaning if now isn't the right time to launch a product, then make sure you are ready for when things ease up, and it is the right time.

The adjustments SUCCESS has made resulted in:

  • A 10% increase in blog traffic
  • A 23% increase in organic search web traffic.
  • A 208% increase in web traffic from email campaigns.
  • An 80% increase in social-media-driven website traffic.

Setting new sales appointments has resulted from more prospecting activity, going back to what has worked in the past (calls, email, Linked In), networking, and shorter meeting lengths. Clear and relevant messaging is vital.

SUCCESS has and continues to have extra capacity to take on additional capacity requirements without breaking promises to our clients and their experience.

Sales Intelligence tools SUCCESS uses to assist the sales process:

  • CRM/ConnectWise – industry-standard ERP for IT Businesses.
  • Business & Sales Intelligence by Sam Richter – deep web/targeted search business tools.
  • Lead 411 – lists and contact search tool.
  • LinkedIn Navigator – contact search tool within Linked In.
  • Crystal Knows – AI personality predictor.

Key Take-Aways

  1. Focus your marketing efforts on education and awareness, not promotion.
  2. Change and adapt to market needs.
  3. Targeted prospecting: Prioritize reaching out to industries where your solutions are particularly relevant or useful at this time.
  4. Focus on nurturing the long-term relationship – how can we help without asking for anything in return?
  5. Articulate how we are helping. If our message is "we're here," but we don't articulate how it can feel hollow.
  6. Leverage the tools you have and look for new ways to use them.
  7. Expect results from your team and support them.