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How do B2B Companies Survive in Tough Times?

“The survival of the fittest.”

Well, that’s something B2B companies need to know a thing or two about. In their world too, only those who adapt best to changing environments survive.

B2B companies need to batten down the hatches to weather stormy market conditions, but there will be always be marketing expenses they cannot cut down on.

So, how do they make necessary expenses and still stay afloat?

Here are some tactics B2B companies can use to handle difficult business environments:

  • Acclimatize to the new scenario
    A bad environment isn’t going to go away overnight. So, it’s important to move quickly without panic. Quickly assess the situation and revise your sales and revenue targets accordingly, so that you know how much you can afford to spend and what the required ROI is.
  • Prioritize budget allocation
    After you adjust your business plan to current market conditions, reallocate your overall budget based on the results. Focus on the most important short term goals for now. However, some businesses stick to long term goals even during bad conditions so that they are ready when the market turns around.
  • Revisit all your offerings
    B2B companies are in a tight spot with their product portfolio during hard times. Maintaining the entire product range may be expensive, but one needs to balance that with a realistic call of what the profitability is and who is buying them.B2B companies often have long standing relationships with their customers and pulling back a product during lean times can hurt their customers’ interests and consequently the relationship. It’s a tough call, but depending on the situation may be necessary.
  • Organic social media marketing
    Tough times often requires tightening of company budgets. You will have less spending money than usual, which makes it important to spend it judiciously. Focus your money on campaigns that are imperative and drive daily posts through organic efforts.In difficult market conditions, concentrate on retaining existing customers through relationship marketing. Engage your fan base with new economical offers that will persuade them in sustained investment in your brand.Acquiring new B2B customers may be a process with a long gestation period. You may not have the resources to focus on this. Depending on the prospects’ stage in the acquisition lifecycle, companies may choose to pursue them or divert their resources to get the most from existing customers.
  • Continue email marketing efforts
    It would stand you in good stead to continue your email marketing campaigns by focusing on nurturing your current database. You will not only save money otherwise spent on buying lists, you can also build on relations with current prospects and customers. Promote your social media offers through your email campaigns too.
  • Participate in industry events
    We’re not talking sponsorship or paid advertising in any form.Send company representatives with strong networking skills to industry events. Participation in industry events achieves a three-pronged purpose: knowledge gain, strengthening customer relationships and interaction with new prospects. All it takes are a few passes to enter as participants and you can let your team do the rest of the work at the event.
  • Increase focus on risk management
    When the foreseeable future is bleak, companies will be more interested in understanding how your product/service will help combat the risks of the current market trend. There’s an opportunity for your company if you can effectively tweak your brand communication to emphasize on risk management and deliver the same through products. When a prospect/customer reads your content, they should feel that your company can help them tide over this crisis.
  • Understand the impact on brand value and position
    Making changes to your business plan and goals might have an impact on your brand’s value and position in your industry. Keep this possibility in mind while preparing for an impending industry crisis and also during the situation. Don’t make drastic changes that take a wide detour from your brand’s vision and mission. For example:

    • Cutting costs by a large margin might diminish the perception of product quality. Offering too many discounts can undermine your brand’s value.
    • Changing your tone of voice in brand communication too much can pose a threat to your connection with customers.

The way you keep your value, customer value and revenue prospects in focus during times of crisis is what will define your brand.

Can you think of any other way B2B companies can keep themselves above the line of risk in troubled times?

Image source: Brand stories

Team Position2

May 21, 2014

By Team Position2