GovCon Sales, BD, Growth and Marketing In COVID-19; 3 Critical Digital Tactics Right Now
Life got strange, pretty quickly, for the GovCon sales, BD and growth community, during this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. A community we live in with you, every day. What should we do?
This post will summarize three digital tactics that are essential, and one extra.
- Recast Your Brand
- Like Your Social Business
- More Marketing, Less PR
- Rework the Marketing Budget, Now (Bonus!)
Note: This is NOT only for the GovCon Sales community, but highly relevant for ALL sales, business development and marketing professionals!
Where We Are
One week we were making reservations for Spring & Summer conferences, adding an AFCEA breakfast to the schedule, signing up for Industry days, customer visits and teaming coffees. The next week these started to be postponed, Zoom meetings popped up in addition to WebEx and Teams, a few RFI dates shifted out, and hand sanitizer appeared on the coffee machine. The next, everyone was looking at each other in the pipeline meeting with many questions, few answers, and all PWin becoming fuzzy math. Perhaps you were thinking about where your products, services or existing accounts might be relevant, or made relevant, in the COVID-19 response. Thinking whether you had digital collateral to share, of all your printed brochures, spec sheets, capability statements – is the website even updated?
Now we’re all home with the kids and dogs, making calls, more Zoom (with beards and hats), sending emails, adjusting pipelines and projections on an hourly basis. Zeroing expenses. Trying to figure out what to do, how to develop and maintain “customer intimacy” remotely (with the actual decision-makers), online. Trying to keep up with a virtual war room, for the now delayed RFI/RFP response. Adopting a completely digital perspective and persona, while maintaining your online business stature – to the extent you understand, have skills, have or get help.
This isn’t the GovCon environment, sales process, customer engagement and partner development we know, we knew. It’s really different now.
B2C/B2B has Mobilized, B2G is Revving Up
The B2B sales community is already moving, and quickly. This article “B2B turns to digital marketing in the wake of coronavirus outbreak”, outlines what’s going on.
Research conducted in 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research indicated that B2B marketers who participate in industry events allocated nearly 40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows, almost five times more than the 8% spent on online marketing. Even if only a small fraction of the events’ budgets is shifted to online marketing, it would translate into a massive growth in web marketing.
Following are three brief things our team suggests you, as a B2G GovCon sales, business development or growth team member can and should do now. To actually preserve, grow and sustain a government opportunity pipeline in this new reality. Call or email us – we can chat more about the details, how to get started.
Learn additional information and details about application of B2B/B2C digital marketing to
GovCon B2G sales and BD pursuit, in this recent Webinar (link coming soon) by KME.digital.
GovCon Sales & BD COVID-19 Marketing Tactics
(1) Recast Your Brand
Your online persona, and that of your company, is front and center now, and it’s so much more competitive (everybody’s attending this one, big, online conference called the GovCon Internet community). How you look and sound, in online media and conversations, to your team and target audience. This really is very different than in person – more needs to be written (well), online discussions are modeled a little differently (more succinct), all graphics are smaller and clearer, and how you and what you represent are presented across all the various media channels needs what we call “tailored synergy”. This is a consistent look and feel, but tailored to the digital channel (i.e. email, social, one-on-one call, group zoom, webinar, blogs, etc.). Get familiar with videos – little ones, long ones, pieces and parts, this kind of content will be useful and shared at every stage of the pursuit lifecycle.
Let’s connect, we can take a look, provide immediate feedback regarding your online brand and web persona, what the competition is doing.
(2) Like Your Social Business
Lines are really blurring right now, between social and online business media – with everyone working at home. Social activity is ramping up fast in the business channels, and social channels are getting filled with business discussion. This isn’t just for GovCon, but the entire economy. Are you missing this current?
In “The Time Before COVID-19”, you could supplement or seed your offline sales activities with some LinkedIn posts or group discussions, maybe a Facebook or Twitter “professional” post now and then, perhaps some metered uploads of Webinar videos or Slideshare presentations. (Were you not doing this already?) Using content developed by your own PR/communications team, or maybe one of the product team pre-sales engineers or service line solution architects. Product-oriented companies tend to generate more of this online – so it’s an easier shift; GovCon service businesses typically do not generate enough online, maintaining IP and competitive protections.
You, the GovCon sales, BD, growth and even Capture pro, needs to get a lot of current information uploaded, shared and into the online conversations – where your customers are, where partners and employees are engaging, and when/how they need it. You and your company’s online business social engine needs to get into high gear, immediately – we can help, we’re in it too.
(3) More Marketing, Less PR
No doubt the products and services you sell, are fully described, findable, very current and quickly updated, plus easy to digest on the Internet, on your website, business channels, even social media – right? Take a second, search for what you’re selling or promoting using at least 4-5 words – in LinkedIn, on Twitter, using Google, YouTube. Then search for your own company news, announcements around these channels. Does what’s posted, findable online – support your conversations now online, with target customers, partners, teammates, even new employees?
Most GovCon companies with 50 or more employees have some kind of PR/communications team, with perhaps some consolidated marketing activity and expertise. PR output will be social postings, emails and announcements about company wins, events, new releases, etc. – general company things, that aren’t usually detailed enough to support the opportunity engagement lifecycle. Marketing might be some focused attention to the website, white papers, interviews posted to social media. Data-driven, online marketing is very different from online PR/communications – let’s have a conversation about this.
Larger, product-centric companies, like Oracle, already support their sales team online with a wealth of constantly-updated sales collateral. Not surprisingly, we don’t find most smaller and mid-sized companies execute GovCon-specific, B2G online marketing well if at all – particularly service companies. Frankly, it’s not typically in the growth team’s wheelhouse, campaign planning or budget to do much about, and it’s left to individual sales/BD person to supplement their in-person attendance, meetings, conferences with social postings, emailed Powerpoints, requests for web content to be posted. This has to change for you quickly, now, in this new digital-only sales environment.
(4) Rework the Marketing Budget, Now
Bonus Tip – this time of year, most B2G advertising and marketing budgets are set for the remainder of the GovCon fiscal year, and the government’s own fiscal year ending September 30. Contracts might already be signed and deals struck for future ad buys and web projects.
However, there’s no point in going through with ad buys, marketing and brand visibility or direct marketing campaigns that aren’t keeping up with competition and reflecting the new reality we discussed above. The contracting cycles, and pursuit strategies have changed already. Ask for, insist on change, point to the upcoming spending waste and loss of opportunity – we can also help.
Your company’s marketing budget needs to change. Update ad buy (including geofencing) contracts and campaign strategies, shift the money spent according to quick-return focus, deeper audience intimacy. Shift all money on conference and event pre-marketing to direct (email) marketing, finely-tuned PPC and new web content generation. Speak with the PR/communications team about exactly how the forecast has changed, and how they can help you showcase your products and services, using much more emphasis on things like SEO, content marketing, landing pages, social business marketing and micro-brand refresh.
Contact KME.digital GovCon Digital Marketing
We are absolute experts in B2G digital marketing – with on-staff GovCon sales, BD, capture, solutioning and marketing professionals. This is a very unique combination – commercial and government digital engagement, marketing, sales. Data-driven, current technologies and online-centric pursuit processes.
Additional GovCon Sales & BD Digital Resources
Take a look at these recommended resources as well, for additional help and capabilities to navigate these changes. Tell them KME sent you!
- Capture2Proposal – Complete and uniquely useful online GovCon opportunity AI-search, sales, pursuit flow and capture management platform.
- Precision Sales Consulting – Peerless, professional, virtual sales training, advice, consulting
- HubSpot – Exactly the scale and scope of content and direct marketing tools necessary for smaller and mid-sized businesses, B2B or B2G.