By Matt Hirschland Ph.D. and Mike Antonczyk
With the arrival of fall we are seeing the lingering and even the return of pandemic restrictions across many geographies. Given this, we take stock of the lessons from the last year to inform what have now become sound client engagement practices no matter what the coming months may bring. Here is our short list of three immediate to-do’s for marketing and sales leaders in professional services, B2B, and beyond.
We’ve been engaged in many conversations about the marketing organization of the future. The modern marketer understands that fewer bells, fewer whistles, and more white-glove customization is right for this point in time. For example, when organizers get too fancy with virtual meetings or try to closely emulate what can be done in-person (like sending folks to breakout sessions), we see an immediate 30% drop-off in attendance. The more complex we make the experience for our clients, the more likely they are to tap out.
Lead gen, sales qualified leads are as real as ever. And with the diminished ability to gather together in-person, and as we have said elsewhere, registration is the new attendance. This is especially true when it comes to Large Online Events (LOE), where attrition rates can be very high – upwards of 60%. The real moment of truth is the opt-in of interest obtained at the time of registration.
This must be the beginning of a relationship and a conversation with that individual: What are they seeking, how can you help, what alternative ways can we connect now that would be helpful in achieving their goals? Every single registration and its expression of interest is the lead, not just those who show up. Ensure your marketing and sales teams are thinking and acting accordingly.
Neat and tidy plans for client engagement are a thing of beauty. They are also increasingly relics of the not-too-distant past. Yes, annual plans are important for guiding investments, activity, and budgeting. However, the ability to deliver on the fly in response to rapidly changing client and market needs is more important. This is made all the more real given the ongoing uncertainty and likely twists and turns in public health that lie ahead. Make your plans but infuse them with a flexibility and agility that allows you to tackle new opportunities for delivering ideas and services when they are needed. Empower your people to act accordingly.
Based on what we’ve seen in recent months as parts of the world try to re-open, the winners will be the ones that focus on the mindset and capabilities that allow them to be hyper-responsive when engaging clients with the answers and perspectives they need now.