How to Pivot a Marketing Budget to Support Sales
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The COVID-19 crisis has given sales and marketing teams new and unfathomable challenges.
While many businesses have buckled under the pressure of lockdowns and diminished revenues, the services of some industries have been in high demand. SaaS companies, in no small degree, have played an integral role in supporting organisations and making remote working not only possible but seamless.
Cloud-based services have allowed employees to make the transition into remote working with minimal hardware requirements and enabled businesses to continue functioning.
While this is all good news for the SaaS industry, not all companies have enjoyed the same success. Big cloud infrastructure providers have seen fewer adverse effects than start-ups or companies which may have been in the growth stages of their business development journeys.
For example, smaller B2B SaaS companies (<$5 million ARR ) are forecasting a much higher impact in 2020.
Like all forward-thinking businesses, your 2020 budget may have been planned long before the pandemic took hold. It's likely that your sales and marketing teams were focused on exhibitions, events and campaigns which may no longer resonate with your audience. Although pulling the plug on these plans might be painful, it's important to view these changes as an opportunity to re-strategise and prepare your business for a stronger bounce-back—while keeping growth as a central focus.
Some companies have been quick to cut costs and reduce spend on marketing and sales by cancelling campaigns all together or downsizing their teams. Others have observed past recessions and made judgements based on the trends that have led to substantial recoveries. No one can predict when the global economy will once again find itself on an upward trajectory, but neglecting your growth strategy, losing visibility with customers and eliminating all promotional and sales activity will leave you far behind your competitors when things are once again on an even keel.
Business owners spend a lot of time trying to predict the future.
What resources shall we invest in?
What will customer demand look like in a few months?
In which areas is the competition going to challenge us?
The decisions you have to make about the future are usually based on the information you currently have. But in these uncertain times, where the figures are continuously in flux, it may be harder than ever to make a decision about budget allocation.
Since the conditions are so broad it's tempting to be cautious, when in fact, it's more important to move quickly and tactfully. Trying to continue as normal without adjusting your pre-COVID-19 sales and marketing strategy will leave you exposed and unprepared for the future. While it may not be necessary to make aggressive changes to your budget, it's certainly worth examining a multitude of scenarios and coming up with responsive solutions that will help you seize opportunities and continue to grow your business.
In our experience with our own SaaS clients, we've identified a few key areas where budget reallocation has had a significant impact in helping these businesses not only remain viable but continue to grow and serve their customers more effectively.
These key areas include:
- Investing in sales support tools that optimise activities and deliver ROI.
- Improving and adapting marketing messaging to serve the current needs of customers.
- Upskilling remote sales teams and enabling them to leverage an inside sales methodology.
Should I reallocate my sales and marketing budget?
The answer to this question is closely tied to your company's existing situation and the goals and objectives you've set for your business. It's important to acknowledge that things may never be the same again – or at least for an indefinite period. Where your marketing budget previously covered travel and accommodation costs for sales reps, events and on-site training, it may now need to focus on more digital and inside sales activities.
Review and assess new metrics that indicate how customers are interacting with your brand now. Are certain areas of your website getting more attention? Is your sales team answering new questions? Have the needs of your customers changed as a direct result of the pandemic?
By looking into these areas, you can:
- Identify opportunities to improve user experience (UX) on your website.
- Better equip your sales teams to convert and retain customers.
- Help your marketing team develop new content and campaign ideas that address your customers' pain points.
It's essential to prioritise your marketing budget in a way that enables you to be proactive about current events, rather than what you hope your customers will revert to doing in the future.
We have a SaaS Sales Toolkit that can help you to improve your conversion rates and focus your efforts. It's quick and easy, just download it here.
Where should my reallocated funds go?
When you reviewed your existing budget against your goals, you will have studied some key performance indicators (KPIs) – these are the areas in your business that you look at when determining whether your efforts are helping you to reach your targets. During this process, you should have assessed your sales funnel to check whether churn is on the rise or if there are any bottlenecks in the customer journey that are preventing your sales team from making conversions. This knowledge will help you to make decisions on where your reallocated budget may need to go.
For example, while you may wish to focus on generating more leads, there may also be a tremendous amount of opportunity in helping existing customers get the most out of their purchase. Could your sales team be spending more time cross-selling or upselling?
If on-site onboarding was a significant part of your offering, could your marketing team create better training content to help customers self-educate?
If your sales team is no longer out in the field, do they have the necessary sales tools to help them nurture leads and convert them over the phone and online?
Could you make your online meetings more personalised by preparing tailored content for the client or prospect ahead of the call?
Before you start investing your resources in a new direction, it's important to redefine success so you can improve performance in the sales and marketing funnel, in the context of the current challenges. It's crucial to find the tools and means to support your sales and marketing teams based on the current limitations which may be holding them back as well as the new opportunities provided by the inside sales model.
Tools like HubSpot Sales Hub Pro allow your sales team to automate and personalise your outreach efforts. Your salespeople will no longer have to waste time on manual data entry; instead, they can focus on building valuable and engaging relationships with their customers. HubSpot Sales Hub Pro will help sales teams to gain complete visibility over your pipeline, helping to link everyone's efforts, even if they are now working remotely.
By improving the sales process, sales teams can stay productive and efficient, even though their usual mode of selling may be slightly altered. If you're curious about how HubSpot's Sales Hub Pro can help you to enhance your selling techniques, book a free demo with our experts, or simply contact us if you'd like some more information about what we do and how we can support you in redesigning your 2020 marketing budget to boost sales.