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Your B2B Software Marketing Playbook for the COVID-19 Crisis

March 24, 2020

marketing budget and strategy

In just a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has evolved into one of the century’s most disruptive events.

It’s a singular type of event; one that impacts the economy, healthcare, employment, and supply chains, all while simultaneously stifling human movement in a way we’ve never seen before. It’s also leading to some utterly insane traffic lifts on G2 across a variety of products and categories. 

G2 category growth chart

Marketers and sellers are scrambling to keep up

COVID-19 comes at an already-pivotal time for B2B SaaS marketers and sellers – one where it feels harder than ever to stand out among 50+ publicly traded top SaaS companies, 100+ private $1B unicorns, and 10,000+ privately-held SaaS companies – all of whom are competing, acquiring, partnering, and innovating to win customers and fuel growth.

This has led to an environment in B2B software where:

  • Competition is at an all-time high: In 2012, the average SaaS company had ~2 competitors. Today, they have ~9.
  • Buyer trust is at an all-time low: Only 8% of B2B buyers trust the sales rep they’re working with at this very moment.

This has resulted in several major shifts in B2B buyer behavior, including 50% of buyers making up their minds before ever contacting sales, and being less willing than ever to pay for “differentiated” features.

And that was all before COVID-19 took several key channels off the table.

Now, we as sellers and marketers should expect buyers to do 3-5x more research and validation before buying. And we’ll have to keep our demand and pipeline generation engines running without proven channels like events, field, and experiential marketing.

G2 Reach registration booth

Marketers must pivot all strategies to digital – quickly

These next few weeks will be critical to B2B marketers. Anxiety’s high, buyer attention is already low, and many organizations and teams are still adjusting to remote work and collaboration.

That said, business still needs to be conducted. Programs still need to run. Buyers still need to discover sellers. And sellers still need to be able to sell. Those who adjust their strategies and use this time wisely will mitigate disruption and emerge as winners in the long-term – both in their industries and with buyers.

Here’s your new playbook for B2B SaaS marketing

Consider that 100% of your buyers’ research and engagement will be now conducted online. Probably in the comfort of their own living rooms. This means online marketplaces like G2 will be visited (and revisited) far more by buyers. 

The massive traffic surges of 50%-500% we've seen across G2 indicate exactly that -- that online marketplaces like G2 are more important than ever for software buyers right now.

Make no mistake – buyers are going to be looking for software in the coming weeks. Your software. Use the tactical playbook below to ensure your marketing strategy is primed and ready to: 

  1. Help buyers self-discover and evaluate you
  2. Win buyer trust with authentic (and current) reviews of your software
  3. Capture surging online demand to fuel marketing
  4. Use content from your reviews to scale digital marketing and sales enablement

Let’s get started.

1. Help buyers self-discover and evaluate you

How? Ensure your marketplace profiles are 100% buyer ready. Conduct a top-down audit of your profile’s contact info, messaging, links, resources – everything. Ask yourselves: is your best-of content up there? This includes new videos, downloadable assets, and platform imagery. 

profile landing page G2


Why?
Your profile will be one of three top sources B2B buyers use before buying. It’s critical – especially now – that it’s polished, optimized, and trustworthy. Your profiles must be as representative of your product and solution as your own website. 

G2 user review with profile

2. Win buyer trust with authentic (and current) reviews of your software

How? Ensure your marketplace profile’s reviews are fresh, current, and contextual. If you’re not auto-collecting new reviews, now’s the time to set it up to keep reviews up-to-date and collection costs low.

Why? Reviews are the number one information source for B2B buyers, and don’t forget that 85% of buyers ignore reviews more than three months old. This means that keeping your reviews fresh and current – especially in software – will be the difference between buyers trusting or disregarding yours. 

buyer behavior screen grab

3. Capture surging online demand to fuel marketing

How? Ensure your campaigns and ABM efforts are ready to capitalize on the record product-and category-level traffic coming to G2, by funneling that intent data into your essential system ops, sales engagement, deal influence, and retention tools

discover engage close retain


Getting your intent set up ahead of time will help you easily and efficiently retarget accounts researching your G2 profile, category, or competitors on channels like LinkedIn.

Here Is Your B2B Software Marketing Playbook For The Covid-19 Crisis-2-1


Or quickly alert sales of target account activity in your CRM while automatically placing target accounts into sales cadences, nurture streams, and more. 

buyer intent stream on G2

Why? Because when used correctly, intent data from surging marketplaces like G2 can become your #1 channel for pipeline generation.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to our masterclass webinar all around operationalizing buyer intent where Cloud Cherry’s Head of Global Marketing, James Gilbert, shared how they used buyer intent to 3X their pipeline in 12 months, and turn G2 into their #1 most influential channel out of the 44 in their marketing mix.

4. Use content from your reviews to scale digital marketing programs and sales enablement

How? Cut through the increased noise and competition by incorporating review content into your digital marketing and sales pitches.

Why? Third-party content removes your buyers’ #1 obstacle to buying, which is the inability to get credible content. And there’s about to be a lot of it. You won’t be the only marketer doubling down on digital marketing.

The only way to stand out across cluttered, noisy channels is to use your own review content as a trusted alternative to the marketing content everyone’s already producing. 

sisense compare report

For marketing – give your programs an unfair advantage

This means enhancing your digital marketing ads, landing pages, and emails with reviews, quarterly reports, and comparative data. 

marketing collateral

For sales – enable from afar to differentiate and win

This means sharing reports, creating digital reference pages based on reviews, and using your G2 placement in your sales decks. All to ensure your reps are ready to book meetings, build pipeline, and close confidently – even though you’re not under the same roof to enable them at the moment. 

content leveraged for sales

Marketer to marketer, we’re here to help

To keep this actionable, here are three things you can do in the next 30 minutes to get the ball rolling on your digital marketing playbook.

  1. If you haven’t already, claim your G2 profile and reach out to a handful of customers to collect reviews. It’s free. If you already have a profile, log in and make sure everything’s up-to-date.
  2. Reach out to your G2 rep to quickly set up automated review collection, so at the very least, your reviews are always current.
  3. Check to see if there are any tools you use that G2 integrates with – start with one.

Keep your eyes on G2’s Learning Hub as we’ll continue to share out best practices, new data, and updates as they come. 

In the meantime: stay healthy, stay safe, stay productive. You’ve (+we’ve) got this.

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