The Coronavirus Impact on Marketing and Sales

Matt, March 30, 2020

These are uncertain times, right? So what does that mean when it comes to the coronavirus impact on marketing and sales? And what are the differences between marketing and sales? Let’s start with an over-simplified explanation; marketing is meant to generate leads while sales is meant to close them. Actually, that was easier than we thought but let’s dig in a little anyway!

So what do salespeople do?

Start by considering some of the companies or people that you know. For example, let’s look at the life insurance agent. Sometimes you get mail or see an ad (marketing) but usually there is a person that approaches you out of the blue at a networking event or perhaps they could call you to start a conversation.

That’s the first step taken by the “sales person” – so is that marketing or sales? If you go back to our simple explanation… it’s really marketing. The prospect is cold and the sales person just walked up to them out of the blue and started a conversation with them. Whether he says “hi” or starts to pitch his life insurance… it’s the same as a postcard, billboard, or TV ad. However, the second the prospect shows any interest at all the salesperson must switch to explaining the product/service, discussing price, and maybe even closing the sale, which is all sales. We would go so far as saying their appearance is also marketing. If the prospect visually connects with the sales person they are more open to hear the pitch (warmer vs. colder).  

Some of you might be tempted to debate this so let’s look at another example. What if the life insurance sales person hired a telemarketer (there’s a hint there) to cold call prospects? That’s clearly marketing. The minute they get a “warm lead” (someone who shows any interest at all), they transfer the call so the salesperson can explain the product/service, discuss price, and hopefully close the sale. That telemarketer could very well attend a networking event, chat people up about life insurance and hand them over to the salesperson if warm. Same thing.

sales and marketing during coronavirus

How do we adjust strategy for sales and marketing during Coronavirus? How do we drive sales from home?

How do businesses without sales people make sales?

Let’s swing to an extreme in the other direction. Think of a company that doesn’t really have sales people like an online store for example. Marketing is the ad or Google search that shows up and gets the person to click. When people click on the ad to go to the website the user experience starts to sell them (or not) then they move towards the product page that explains the product/service, shows the price, and hopefully closes the sale. So although there are no people involved, there are still two distinct pieces.

Now think of something in the middle. An ad brings you to a software website (marketing) where you get educated on the product/service (sales) but you end up talking to a sales rep before buying (sales).

Hopefully we’ve clarified the line between marketing and sales, but why are some sales done 100% with a website and some need people? The answer is price, or should I say “perceived risk”.

  1. Very inexpensive product/service – People are pretty comfortable buying sights unseen.
  2. Inexpensive product/service – They will spend a little more if they can see it.
  3. Expensive product/service – They will go even higher if they can talk to someone on the phone.
  4. Very expensive product service – At some point in price/risk they NEED to talk to someone in person.

The Coronavirus impact on marketing and Sales – your COVID19 angle

Here is how to use the COVID19 angle to survive what may be a very difficult market. Really good marketing and non-human sales can make people comfortable treating a 4 level risk that normally requires face to face communication… like a 3 level risk that only requires a phone conversation. We’re not saying it can get someone to buy a $30k car sight unseen but it just might move a person one notch. Say buying a car (4) after talking to someone on the phone (3). Check out who revolutionized buying insurance and turned a 3 or 4 into a 2.

If you can do that… move peoples risk perception down one level, you can close sales while being under quarantine or self-social distancing. This could be the difference between staying in business and failing during these tough times.

Coronavirus and marketing – How exactly do we go about that?

Ahh that’s our top secret, special sauce, have to kill you if we tell you information. Just kidding… it’s really just knowing what your company personality is and speaking to like-minded prospects in a way that moves them. It IS as hard as it sounds but we are amazing at it! It involves stakeholder and customer interviews, extensive research of competitors, SWOT analysis, and a whole bunch of other stuff we’ve spent decades doing. The result however, is really honing in on what to say and how to say it so people buy!

coronavirus and marketing

What changes to your business have you had to make due to coronavirus and marketing

Here is a great example I experienced while teaching a recent entrepreneurial class on this topic. We were doing archetypes and discovered that a doggie daycare owner was way more a lover than a caregiver. She was focusing on telling prospects how well she would care for their dogs while they went away. But every dog care place says that so it really doesn’t move anyone new to buy. People just pick the one closest.   

After a few minutes of probing I found out she was really a “lover” archetype. She opened the doggie day care because every minute she was away from dogs was miserable for her. She LOVES dogs and wants to be around them 24/7. So instead of advertising how safe and clean her day care was… I told her to start advertising that customer’s dogs would be hugged at least 3 times a day. Bam! A woman from a group who watched the whole thing suddenly stood up and said she was bringing her dog to our entrepreneur next week instead of the place she always had (that was owned by a vet). Instant sale!  

Why did that happen? She articulated the right thing, in the right way, to the right person. Two dog lovers (not caregivers) connected and did business. THAT’S how it works! Send us an email or give us a call to see how we can help!