Covid-19 is the most significant ‘black swan’ event in a generation with few able to accurately predict the impact of the virus and even fewer to deal with the eventual fallout. In its wake, we have seen mass layoffs, lockdowns, and the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Increasingly, organizations are not looking at their growth, they are looking at survival.
Industries – whether B2B or B2C – are still struggling to keep up with the aggressive nature of the coronavirus and, as such, consumer confidence falls as global cases rise. In light of this fact, how should businesses be pivoting their priorities to meet the shifting needs of the consumer? Ultimately, the means are innumerable, but as a matter of course, executives should look at how potential customers are gathered, specifically in the digital economy.
Driving Lead Generation in a Digital-First World
You will be hard pushed to find a business whose lead generation opportunities have not suffered due to Covid-19. Meetings between clients and prospects have been prevented by travel bans, conferences and the face-to-face conversations they afford have been cancelled and businesses have had to contend with their workforce becoming ever more remote, but what does this mean for lead generation efforts?
In short, businesses must invest in their ability to reach the remote consumer wherever they are, and to streamline the purchases that they can no longer make face-to-face. To this end, executives should be looking to bolster their lead generation potential by whatever means, increasingly, technology seems the most legitimate answer.
Defining a digital approach which adds value has become the ‘new normal’ amongst business operators and it is not hard to see why. Pivoting to a digital-first strategy helps to create more channels by which you can reach potential consumers and activate them, additionally, customers expect an organization to have some sort of digital outreach initiative – the businesses that don’t are often considered suspect or outdated.
The best and most effective means of driving lead generation in the modern organization is by building upon e-commerce potential. Though e-commerce channels were key to business success even prior to the pandemic, they’ve since become a necessity. Even in spite of efforts to iteratively relax restrictions, consumers are wary of the risks in physical sales interactions. This is apparent when we look at sales figures from 2020 in which consumers helped to grow US ecommerce by 44%, a figure which excludes the sales of items not usually purchased online, e.g., spending at restaurants, bars, etc. It’s a sizeable margin of growth and one which may have singlehandedly saved many retailers, as we can see here.
Digital Commerce 360: ‘Comparing growth: US ecommerce vs. total retail* sales’
To this end, executives must hone their e-commerce systems, providing continual upgrades to ensure that the systems are seamless and do not frustrate end users. However, even in 2021, there’s still room for improvement, with research from Wunderman Thompson Commerce suggesting that 43% of business’ still find buying online more complicated than buying offline. Executives must ensure that they better streamline this process to reduce friction between the organization and any potential leads.
Driving awareness is challenging in any business sector with a surplus of voices, and to combat this, executives and their organizations are focused on building a tangible sense of brand and company voice to get the word out, increasingly, they do this via the content that they produce. It’s also an area of the business that has seen a substantial boost following the pitfalls of 2020, with HubSpot finding that 70% of marketers now actively invest in content marketing.
Content answers any questions that an audience might have of your brand and organizations must make efforts to utilize content in every form to help to address them. Podcasts, Videos, Blogs and Infographics are all excellent means of taking your audience on a journey and when fully SEO-optimized and with a direct call to action you can generate more and better leads across a variety of segments. During 2020, global consumption of content online doubled, this captive audience is one that no brand can afford to ignore especially from a lead generation perspective.
Increasingly, we all want to hear from experts in the field, how are they driving business success, realizing the business of tomorrow and driving lead generation in a digital-first world. Unsurprisingly, in response to the pandemic, many are looking to upskill and retrain in order to deliver value for their business, and this is why digital events have substantially increased in popularity, with as many as 45% of future B2B events going completely virtual according to a recent study from LinkedIn.
We’re all looking for quick wins in business and often the easiest means of discovering them come down to conversations with another human being. Digital events sift through much of the noise in physical events from travel to cost and put you in front of the right people at the right time, the answer to your lead generation problems could well be solved by hearing from executives in this capacity, helping to forge human connections in a digital-first world.
GDS Summits are tailored 3-day virtual event conferences that bring together business leaders and solution providers to accelerate sales cycles, industry conversations and outcomes. Hear from attendees on how GDS has helped them to achieve their business outcomes, here.
Continue the debate at GDS’ biannual RevGen Digital Summits where we bring together senior sales executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage and find the best solutions. To remain up to date on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.