4 Top CMOs and 5 Practical Insights to Thrive During Unprecedented Covid-19 times (a look back at what expert marketers thought.)

 In Inbound Digital Marketing

Did you Humanize the engagement experience during COVID-19 to inspire trust and real connections with teams, clients and prospects. 

If you’re a B2B business selling products or services during these uncertain times with COVID-19 taking over our entire business and non-business life, you’re probably looking closely perhaps daily at what tools or strategies you can give your sales teams to have any form of an edge. 

These tools and strategies, some may already be in your sales and marketing tool-box, and some may be new, either way, now is the time to leverage those that will not only help your sales team to survive but thrive in these tumultuous uncharted waters.  

First, let’s describe the questions most CMOs and good marketers had to implement in the midst of COVID-19: 

Everyone had to do some version of what’s described below – taken from earlier this year during a CMOOfficehours Zoom meeting led by CMO of Front.com Anthony Kennada with a panel of distinguished CMOs in SaaS space.

The panels are not so arguably the who’s who of B2b SaaS and B2c tech leading marketers, Gong.io had an incredible year and picked up a $200 MILLION IN SERIES D FUNDING AT $2.2 BILLION VALUATION, so I think Udi and team hit their numbers and then some.

Likewise Dave Gerdhardt CMO at Privy.com can boast 500,000+ businesses from 180+ countries that have generated $3.9+ billion in sales with Privy. So we’re pretty sure Dave and team hit their numbers this 2020 as well.

The full panel were the following:

Udi Ledergo of Gong.io, Maria Pergolino, ActiveCampaign.com, Dave Gerdhardt, CMO at Privy.com and host Anthony Kennada, CMO Front.com

Top 5 Common Questions CMOs and Sales Leaders Discuss in Their Situation Rooms

1. What mid to long-term contingency plans can be put in place, in regards to P&L, marketing budgets, hiring plans, product launches, development roadmaps, etc?

Practical examples: Most CMO’s on the call shared some version of the following recommendations. Meetings with CFOs to adjust sales forecasts for upcoming quarters and year-end goals, pivoting to extended freemiums to yield better acquisition numbers and also to double down on retention of current clients ( good old 80/20 rule) serve your 20% client-base even more so than pre-COVID-19.

2. How frequently via remote Zoom calls should our marketing team and sales teams re-grouping to put some strategies in place and touch base on action plans?

Practical examples: Maria Pergolino, CMO at ActiveCampaign.com described that with a globally dispersed workforce, weekly meetings with her team haven’t changed much but the obvious WFH policy has made it so that in-office teams are now having to adjust to remote work and time-management. Leverage all your communication channels, Slack, intranet portals, live video conferencing, etc, but do it wisely thinking of everyone’s time, get a pulse check of how people are doing. 

3. How can you help outside field sales to transition into basically inside sales teams?

Practical examples: Most CMOs agreed that having the right tools/technologies for WFH communications, Slack channels, Zoom, ON24, and video messaging such as Drift’s, Vidyard, Wistia all can help to make both internal and external communications more effective and humane during these times.

4. What are our teams trying out in regards to new ways of marketing and sales?

A/B split testing, or exploring different forms of digital marketing, from small tweaks of increases or pauses to some of your Google PPC or paid campaigns, to creating complete new microsites to support your customer’s needs?

Practical examples: Maria Pergolino, CMO at ActiveCampaign.com described that really analyzing the opportunities in paid, not only look at the cost to pause campaigns but to dig deeper at the data to see what keywords, ad group segments, and trends can be capitalized on with paid spend. Don’t assume paid campaign budget freezes are the only solution. 

Practical examples: Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privy.com and team recently launched a microsite, called shopsmallecomm.com to help small eCommerce businesses to have a platform with visibility to help them get through these uncertain times. 

5. How is the leadership gauging the team’s feedback with remote or WFH transitions?

Practical examples: Udi Ledergor, CMO at Gong.io has a great Monday ritual called HBO, which stands for Health, Business, Organization, covering their teams’ pulse of health (and families), state of business and programs, finally organization, what processes and triggers are being put in place and how are they working. 

Conclusion: 

Analyze your last two-quarters worth of retention strategies, sales forecasting scenarios from best case to worst case, improve client communications and prospecting, but with the lens of what lessons were learned during COVID-19, but also with a future-looking to post COVID-19, we all have to think forward and know that there’s going to be better days ahead in 2021.  

Create sound financial plans and triggers around revenue stagnation or loss of revenue, Noah Kagan, CEO, and founder of Sumo.com (not on Zoom meeting) does have some interesting finance contingency plans A-D, first one is “30-5” plan, where he expected to have 30% revenue decrease and to keep 5% net income. His plan B had the triggers and action plan B: “30-15” 

Noah Kagan of Okdork.com and Sumo.com

(Trigger and Action)

Revenue drops 30%, net income by 15%. 

Look for leading indicators on when to pull back.

Trigger and Actions: Look at these 4 every single day. 

  • Conversion Rate
  • Refund Rate/Churn Rate
  • Email signups (lead rate)
  • Rolling 7 day revenue window

Let’s continue to double down on simply reaching out and engaging with our clients, prospects, and teams in authentic and in non-tone deaf ways.

Keep creating educational industry-specific content, choose a channel, and create valuable content, whether that’s in blogs, podcasts topics (we can now help you with podcasting services), educational webinars, e-newsletters, customer-facing video marketing, and so on to try to figure out how you can get more conversions to increase sales.

We all went through this clusterfluck 2020 together and are looking ahead to 2021 to what we can improve in our business ecosystem, it’s all interdependent and like a game of domino, when one falls the others will follow, if we can stop or halt a bit this momentum we can all come out better from this situation.  

If you have any of your own insights and learning from 2020 or would like to reach out to chat and find solutions together you can reach me at gquintana@digitechy.com or set up a call on our calendar here:

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