How to Grow Revenue During a Pandemic
The phrase “we’re living in unprecedented times” has been used quite a bit over the last year, but for good reason. This ever-shifting economic landscape has impacted businesses, and working with so many different clients gave us a front row seat to help influence how businesses pivoted to keep up.
On one end of the spectrum, we have businesses that rely on a booming economy to grow, and are very impacted by a situation like the one we’ve been living in since early 2020. On the other end are businesses that are built perfectly to not only survive, but thrive.
We hand-picked four B2B lead generation client examples to highlight — some positioned well, some that weren’t — all acting proactively to take on the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.
Client #1 – Shipping Audit and Consulting Services Provider
Our first client is a perfect example of a business that was positioned very well, and saw massive business growth through the summer of 2020.
This is a business that most consumers won’t even know exists. They provide services to large ecommerce businesses/any business that has a high annual shipping bill to ensure that UPS/FedEx/etc aren’t taking advantage by overcharging on invoices or price gouging during contract negotiations. This client boasts that they’re able to save their partners up to 30% annually on shipping costs.
For a business that pays $1M+ each year in shipping, this can have massive financial implications.
The challenge to our marketing team was figuring out how to leverage this massively valuable, cost-saving mechanism that could potentially save jobs into our marketing strategy. As Kevin Costner was told in the 1989 hit Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
Here’s what we built.
The primary focus was on our search engine marketing, both organic and paid. The early days of the COVID-19 outbreak especially had more businesses than ever looking for ways to reduce costs. Our digital marketing agency team expanded the paid search keyword programming to cast a much wider net versus our traditional “high intent” search strategy. We also had an advantage on the SEO side — having two years of SEO company work behind us to put our client in a very favorable position to maximize the increase in relevant searches.
In addition, we quickly created multiple thought leadership resources for their sales team to send out to any previously cold leads, as well as promoted via our Display campaigns. We put all hands on deck to get the word out that our client can help both struggling businesses, as well as businesses that are seeing a 500%+ increased demand in orders (think products like hand sanitizer, etc).
The end results included a 114% increase in Sales Qualified Leads monthly, millions won in revenue growth, as well as a significant reduction in length of sales process. The best part? Our client only gets paid as a function of what’s saved by their partners. The need was clear, our client rose to the occasion and several businesses had happy bank accounts because of it.
Client #2 – Digital Product Development Agency
With people becoming consistently reliant on apps for everything from ordering food to sharing the latest hot dance with friends, one of our clients that specialized in digital product development was uniquely positioned to support this kind of increased interest. Many companies either had to enhance their existing apps, or rapidly stand up new ones as they rushed to support a user base that almost overnight became reliant on their phones for nearly everything.
Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, this company primarily referred to themselves as offering digital product development services. However, we quickly realized that the market referred to them as more than just a DPD agency, while simultaneously recognizing that there would be a spike in interest in app development. We aimed to capitalize on this increased interest, capturing intentful searches for app development and app consulting.
We quickly stood up new landing pages with messaging that would resonate with this audience, and launched a set of paid search campaigns targeting these kinds of app development and consulting keywords. By rapidly adapting to the growth in interest, we were able to generate nearly $1.5M in pipeline over a four month period on a paid media budget that was less than $10K/month —all because we put ourselves in the shoes of their prospective consumer and shifted the way we messaged their offerings.
Client #3 – Provider of Water Refill Stations for Businesses and Consumers
Another one of our clients went through quite the roller coaster during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is emerging from the madness stronger than ever. Early this year, they’d seen massive business growth selling their modern water refill station, becoming a staple everywhere from offices of big tech companies to gyms and hotels across the nation. They also found a place at events, races and music festivals, serving premium water sustainably to attendees. And then the Coronavirus crisis happened, shutting down offices, gyms, retailers, and events around the world.
Despite a rocky few months, during which we helped them pivot their offering to enable them to sell directly to consumers, we realized that they were uniquely positioned to help organizations evolve and offer a safe, sanitary water dispensing option to their employees, guests and customers as they began to reopen. In fact, we began messaging their refill station as an essential part of the reopening process, leaning into copy and creativity that emphasized touchless capabilities and the fact that their water was virus and bacteria free.
The result of this complete revamp began to pay dividends as companies started to make plans for what the “new normal” looked like, realizing that the water fountains and water coolers of the past could never be used again. Search volume increased, lead generation began to scale up and because of our ability to collaborate with them on this new messaging and get ahead of the inevitable increase in interest and demand, the company had one of their largest lead gen months ever and is positioned to scale further as we continue on in 2021.
The last story we want to share is our own. We had our own obstacles as marketers to handle alongside all of our valued client base due to the Coronavirus pandemic. When the going gets tough, businesses have a decision to make with their marketing strategy budget: double down to recoup the losses, or try to cut expenses and save budget.
When faced with those challenges, our leadership focused the team on one primary goal: find new partners in industries that are winning right now. We had all employees do a few minutes of research each day to identify those businesses and the relevant contacts, all of which was handed off to our sales team. In addition, we incentivised the whole team to actually do some outreach on their own! Rewards were given for hitting research goals, outreach goals,and for any lead that turned into a new partner.
The effort emphasized something that our team has been focused on throughout the global pandemic, and that’s maintaining a “we over me” mentality. This kind of mindset runs deep in our culture, and each and every one of us knew that if we put in a little more time, a little more effort, a few more outreach emails — it would allow us to protect our team and help the businesses we support power through these trying times.
The results were clear — a very healthy pipeline and some record-breaking sales months to offset the losses from clients that had to cut budget to survive.
At the end of the day, no business could have anticipated how to handle what we’ve been experiencing since last March. Every business had its own individual set of challenges to overcome with the same end goal — survive and thrive.
The commonality between all of these examples is clear: when the going gets rough, throw the old playbook out the window and be proactive. Never get stagnant, always think about what’s next and get creative with ways to stay dynamic with your marketing and revenue-generation strategies. Understand what your target audience is going through and make sure your messaging is directly aligned. And most importantly — support your employees. Your workforce is what will get you through this. Communicate your plan, be transparent and make sure the plan is executed.
You can’t change what’s occurred over the last year, but you can always change what you’ll do tomorrow.