Article

Nigel Cullington
Nigel Cullington 23 October 2020

How Marketing SaaS Platforms Can Drive Business Recovery

Marketing departments have been significantly affected by Covid-19. Buyer behaviour has shifted, and enterprises have had to cut budgets and restructure to adapt to the changed business landscape. Amidst this uncertainty, there are opportunities for departments willing to re-strategise.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) models will be at the front line of this recovery, leveraging real-time analytics to give marketing departments the data they need to create great content and opportunities.

To recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses need to get back on their feet and tell the world that they are still open. Marketing teams will have a central role in spreading the word, drawing customers back after the curtailment of activity over the past year.

Yet the outlook is troubling. Buyers’ behaviour has been changed, budgets are strained, and many companies have been remoulded into unfamiliar shapes. Sales departments will have seen first-hand how many deals have been paused, disrupted or stopped as companies struggle to survive.

Under the new normal – if you can call it that – the experience of marketing has radically shifted, and with it, that of any department that interacts with customers and prospects. To adapt, companies will have to re-strategise, and few tools will be as useful in this as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite developed for marketing and sales that allows the entire extended revenue team to keep opportunities moving.

Maximising Data Efficiency

Combined with the fact many companies have been forced to restructure their workforces, hybrid working means that the habits and structures of old in many cases are gone for good. The changes mean that old marketing and sales practices will be less effective, and in some cases useless. Messages crafted to old roles and based on understanding of the old normal will often fail to have an impact. Campaigns, tactics and even overarching strategies need to be updated, perhaps regularly as things continue to shift.

Given the altered situation and the prospect of more uncertainty and change, the entire revenue team must focus on building and maintaining accurate and usable data about their target markets, their existing accounts, and prospective buyers.

The likelihood is that many companies will have systems in place that do this already, but poorly. Tech stacks often evolve haphazardly, leading to silos, redundancy and technical debt, creating inefficiencies that also affect marketing and sales departments. This directly affects the capability of the business to recover, and to keep closing deals when it needs it the most.

To weather the storm, businesses will need to harness their disparate data sets, and unite the extended revenue team, from marketing to sales to customer success, with the common goal of retaining existing customers and winning new business.

Tailored Approach to Relationships

Given that marketing departments are among the most affected by current events, they have the most to gain by using marketing stacks customised to their needs. Fed with accurate, accessible and reliable data, a focused tech stack can ensure that marketing departments put the right messages before the right people, leading sales to approach decision-makers with buying influence, improving their chances of closing a deal.

But how to locate these decision-makers? At a time of strained resources and heavy organisational changes, accurate information on those who hold buying influence is key. Sales teams do not have the time to conduct exhaustive manual research on “who is who” in a prospect organisation. This is where relationship mapping comes in, a part of the software stack which helps locate the right person to approach by creating maps of influence within each organisation. With access to this, salespeople know who to approach, when, and with insight, and marketers can better invest their time in creating personalised content that is timely and relevant to feed into the sales process.

As a result, salespeople have tailored vertical content and visual representations of the sales organisation at their disposal, to woo prospective clients and guide them through the final stages of a purchase. 

Once the deal is closed, the rest of the extended revenue team needs to take the baton and use the information to build and maintain the customer relationships.

Having data throughout a customer relationship is key in order to convert customers into champions for the business. Supplied with the right data, integrated marketing and sales stacks can be used to create a central library of customer references which marketing, sales and RFP teams can keep using in the future, keeping the pipeline healthy.

Automate to Innovate

Although some scepticism about automation hype is wise, smart businesses are finding practical uses for such technology, including in their marketing teams. The saved time can reduce pressure on teams in straitened times and free resources to focus on other opportunities.

The entire extended revenue team, and the business as a whole, may be buffeted by forces beyond their control now, but integrated suites can better equip them to weather current and future storms. Every change creates winners and losers – those with the right tools are likely to come out on top.

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