Many marketers are wondering whether they should change their marketing target segments in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business. This response is partly influenced by uncertainty over how companies will be conducting business in the post-pandemic world.
When it comes to operations and the pandemic, organizations everywhere continue to consider reimagined timelines for office reopenings and in-person meetings, as well as how long we will work from home or adopt a hybrid office model. Employees remain concerned about safety and health, which makes remote work and hybrid offices more attractive. If they could, 99% of people surveyed would choose to work from anywhere for the rest of their careers, at least part-time.
According to Upwork, 26.7% of the American workforce will continue to work remotely through 2021. By 2025 however, an estimated 36.2 million Americans will be working from anywhere. This represents about 22% of the workforce, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates.
Meanwhile, companies report remote work is getting easier since they first made the shift at the start of the pandemic. Leaders and employees alike are enjoying a reduction of non-essential meetings, no commute time-wasting and increased schedule flexibility. In addition, 94% of surveyed employers report that productivity has either risen or remained the same since employees started working from anywhere during the pandemic.
Metrics might not tell the whole story but one thing is certain: Given these numbers, returning to an old-school, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, office-only business model is a thing of the past.
This brings us back to, should I change my marketing target segments? The short answer? Probably.
Just like traditional business operations, target marketing shouldn’t revert to pre-pandemic practices with outdated goals. The good news? Experts say as vaccination becomes more widespread, the economy is expected to recover and even surge and that working from anywhere is here to stay. Small and midsize companies can overcome barriers brought on by the pandemic to market segmentation and successful target marketing by capitalizing on innovations that help sales perform better in a work from anywhere world. We’ll show you how.
6 Ways To Successfully Sell Like Mad in a Virtual World
Target marketing involves breaking your market into segments and concentrating your marketing efforts on the ones where the needs and desires of prospects most closely match your product and service offerings. Companies commonly identify target markets:
- By demographic – based on measurable statistics such as gender, age, education, income, marital status, race and religion
- By psychographic touch points – based on socioeconomic class or lifestyle preferences.
- By location, i.e., geographically
According to Harvard Business Review research, midsize companies are re-drawing traditional geographic boundaries, creating greater efficiency in selling processes, and using online connections to have authentic personal interactions to redefine successful sales strategies through the pandemic. Other experts say maintaining customer trust in your business and ensuring your customers are having the best possible experience are the keys to sales success when uncertainty is high.
With all of this in mind, here are six ways to transform your target marketing efforts and increase sales for the virtual world.
1. Use cloud-based software.
Most organizations are spending much more on technology now than three years ago. The number of different types of tools used rose by 300% and sales enablement tool usage is up 567%. It’s crucial for employees who work remotely to use the same operating platform, have access to the most accurate information and respond quickly to industry and business climate fluctuations. They’re creating these sales-stream efficiencies with cloud-based software.
Rather than relying on face-to-face interactions, companies are using videoconferencing and technology-mediated resources to reach more prospects faster and more effectively while maintaining customer trust and giving them the best experience.
2. Sell without borders.
Selling from anywhere to anywhere eliminates the barriers of geographic distance and opens up opportunities for new sales in underserved regions. Both salespeople and subject-matter experts can reach far more prospects via videoconferencing and other digital channels of communication.
3. Get your remote selling game face on.
When surveyed, 63% of salespeople believe virtual meetings are just as or more effective than in-person meetings. That’s because they embrace the ways technology can provide that personal touch to create powerful customer relationships.
Learn how to create a connection remotely. Always turn on your video during videoconferencing and have a personable conversation with prospects. Be yourself and make some time for small talk. Bonus tip: Ask whether you’re pronouncing their name correctly. It shows you care.
Instead of falling back on standard, formulaic messaging during digital channel communication, create a positive sales experience with these prospect-approved approaches:
- 69% say listen to their needs
- 61% don’t want you to be pushy
- 61% want to hear relevant information about your product or service
- 51% want you to respond in a timely manner
4. Pay more attention to the buyer’s journey.
Research suggests that at least 50% of your prospects, remote or otherwise, are not a good fit for what you sell. However, of those that do, it’s still important to connect with them during the stage of the buyer’s journey when they prefer:
- 60% want to connect during the consideration stage, after they've researched the options and come up with a short list.
- 20% want to talk during the decision stage, once they're decided which product to buy.
- 19% want to connect during the awareness stage, when they're first learning about the product.
5. Stay persistent with prospect follow-up and discerning with your method.
Like we said before, numbers may not tell the whole story but these statistics are eye-popping:
- 35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first.
- It takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a prospect.
- 80% of sales require five follow-up calls whereas 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call.
- 60% of prospects say no four times before saying yes, yet 70% of salespeople stop at one email.
- 42% of people would be more encouraged to make a purchase if the sales rep called back at an agreed-upon, specified time.
- Eight out of 10 prospects want to communicate to sales reps via email over any other medium.
- Email is nearly 40x more effective than either Facebook or Twitter at new customer acquisition.
- 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation.
- Half of revenue is influenced by social selling in 14 common industries, including computer software, healthcare, and marketing and advertising.
- Four in 10 reps have recently closed two to five deals directly thanks to social media.
6. Monitor the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Find a balance between sales productivity tracking, maintaining transparency with your team about the KPIs they’re accountable for, trusting them to get the job done and celebrating wins together. Put more weight on high-level customer experience metrics such as customer loyalty.
According to HubSpot, other remote sales metrics to watch include:
- Call volume
- Closed deals per sales rep
- Revenue generated per sales rep
- Effectiveness of outreach activities such as new opportunities added to your pipeline and the percentage of leads with follow-up.
- Sales tools used per sales rep – the average is six
- Leads generated from various channels
- Percentage of time spent on sales activities - the average rep spends 36.6% of their working time actively selling.
Sales rep ramp-up time – the time it takes to fully onboard a new rep on your team.