2020 was a year of upending and repositioning for many businesses. We’ve seen products and services transition to online sales, events gone virtual, employees working remotely and sales pivoting to a virtual sales process.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, how should marketing and sales prepare for 2021?
We’ve compiled our annual list of the top 10 Dos, Don’ts and Stop Its from valuable customer feedback, top industry resources and our expertise coaching clients through these changes the last several months. Without further ado, here are our top tips for 2021:
Top 10 Dos & Don'ts in Marketing & Sales for 2021
10. Do Sharpen Your Virtual Sales Process
“Buyers are different today - period. It’s harder than ever before to get in the front doors of businesses or gain the attention of a potential prospect in all the digital clutter. To stay competitive, it is imperative salespeople become experts in virtual selling. Those willing to master the art through research, personalized video, email and LinkedIn messages will ultimately be the ones who succeed in 2021. " - Grant, Director of Business Development
Many sales teams had no choice but to embrace online virtual selling when the pandemic hit. As the world moves forward, now is the time to sharpen and perfect your virtual sales process. Get equipped with the sales process maps, strategies, skill sets and video tools your team needs to build strong relationships, increase productivity, shorten the sales cycle and drive revenue in a new virtual world.
9. Don’t Ignore Your Website
“Everyone goes online for nearly everything nowadays. If your company’s website is outdated or not user-friendly, you are limiting your potential and putting your business at risk.” - Tyler, Director of Operations
Your website should not be the same as it was at the start of 2020. Online experiences and expectations have changed. Consumers demand ease online or they’ll leave. They expect personalized experiences along with the ability to purchase online. If you have not yet done so, start with a website audit to map out any gaps or optimizations your site needs to stay ahead of the game in 2021.
8. Stop Wasting Money on Non Targeted Digital Ads
The most cost-effective digital advertising uses targeting and retargeting features. This allows you to target new users with similar characteristics to your best-performing audiences, or to retarget those who have previously visited your website or social media channel.
Bonus tip: The key to effective targeting lies in how you track conversions. Are the users taking the actions you want them to in order to grow your business? Or, are you wasting money on non-converting audiences? Even the most advanced machine learning systems will struggle to identify your best-performing audiences without accurate conversion data.
7. Do Conversion Rate Optimization. It’s a Real Thing. And It Works!
“Digital marketing isn’t about continually producing new content or adding new tactics. It’s about monitoring and continually improving what exists based on the user’s interaction, in order to achieve higher conversions.” - Lindsay, Strategist & Coach
In digital marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website who convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a web page. Is it a complex process? Yes. Does it result in a more efficient and profitable marketing program? Yes and yes! Should you be implementing CRO in 2021? I think you know the answer.
6. Don’t Overlook the Power of LinkedIn
“Even though LinkedIn was developed for recruitment, it has grown well beyond that. It’s now a platform where sales teams are selling and marketing is leading ABM campaigns that are driving revenue growth.” - Jessica, Strategist & Coach
LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing digital platforms with over 700 million professionals engaging in 2020. One of the greatest benefits of the channel is being able to target companies by location, job title and more. Use these targeting features to kickstart an account-based marketing campaign that achieves optimal ROI. If your sales team is not using LinkedIn regularly, now is the time to get LinkedIn profiles optimized and train sales on how to engage in social selling.
5. Stop Saying ‘I Don’t Care about SEO.’
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not going away. It’s actually become more important than ever. Google and the other search engines update algorithms on a daily basis to return the best and fastest possible results to users searching. As more consumers go online for more products and services, SEO has an even greater impact on companies trying to sell online.
Whether you’re a large or small business, the most important thing you can do is show up on Google. This is the year to optimize your website to rank in search results.
4. Do Chat It Up!
Online conversations (via chat options on your site or messaging apps) save time and money while allowing consumers to personally engage with your company at their convenience. They’re also touchless - a huge benefit when it comes to selling during a pandemic. And lastly, you can gain valuable insights into your consumers based on the questions they’re asking in the chats.
Equip your online platforms with a variety of chat options, whether it’s live or a bot. Personalize them. Use smart technology. While face-to-face interactions are irreplaceable in many ways, this technology is crucial to staying human and in touch with your customers.
3. Don’t Forget About Your Current Customers
“We all know it’s more expensive to get new leads than it is to upsell existing customers. So take time to look at how you can surprise and delight your customers and provide additional value.” -- Aaron, Strategist & Coach
One of the quickest ways to grow revenue is to focus on your existing customers. Craft personalized offers for your most loyal customers. Create exclusive online events for your biggest fans. Send personalized videos to check in and say thank you. During times like these, every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to demonstrate what your organization is all about and to be true to your brand and your purpose.
2. Stop Being Afraid of the Camera
In today’s virtual and visual world, people watch and connect via video. When a video strategy is properly mapped out, video is extremely effective and results in high ROI. Video can be used in multiple ways - to send personalized sales emails, in social ads, on your website and to host your own virtual trade show. It can be sliced and diced into multiple versions for many years to come.
And, video can fit nearly any budget, from inexpensive shoots with your phone to large-scale productions using professional, high-quality equipment. In 2021, use more video in everything you do.
1. Stop Throwing Darts
“While 2020 caused many of us to pivot fast, the ones who were most successful started with a solid strategy. They analyzed how their buyers were changing. They set goals, monitored the data and shifted as needed. Without this, you’re just throwing darts at the wall and hoping they stick.” - Patty, MBA, CEO
When it comes to marketing and sales, strategy is your driver. Your strategy must align your marketing and sales teams and roll up to your company’s overarching goals. Without that, you’re just guessing about what works.
The No. 1 takeaway for 2021 is to stop selling “the way we always have” and stop “adding stuff” to your website.
Ask yourself the “why” behind these tactics. Are these tactics helping and serving your customers today? Are these tactics driving sales and revenue? If you can’t answer these questions, then it’s time to stop and map out a digital marketing and sales strategy that has purpose and direction to exceed your goals.
Ready to propel ahead in 2021? Looking for a coach and partner to guide your team to success? Request a complimentary coaching session with Marketing Essentials today.