What are the defining topics in sales and what can sales specialists expect in the months to come? The B2B Marketing Days 2020 sought answers to these questions and more. Corona, digital trade shows and SMEs … here is where you can find the most important insights and key facts from the event.
B2B Marketing Days: the congress of marketing specialists for SMEs
What is important for the industry today, and what will be important in the near future? Answers were provided at B2B Marketing Days. But not in the usual form as a live congress – due to the corona pandemic, the event was postponed and then took place on a purely virtual platform. On the agenda were digital workshops and bar camps. The most significant results of this B2B event with a focus on SMEs is summarised in this article.
The most important topics and insights for 2020
The look back at the event, to which the Vogel Communications Group made a substantial contribution, shows which topics affected the B2B business in particular this year. These include:
The impact of the corona crisis on B2B sales
“Sales in times of corona and recession” – the B2B Marketing Days 2020 opened up with this topic. At the centre of the talk was the study of the same name by professors Dr Jan Wieseke and Dr Christian Schmitz, Chairs of the Sales Management Department at the Ruhr University Bochum. The two researchers examined in their work how companies successfully acted during the pandemic. They surveyed 295 sales specialists in Germany in April and May 2020. The interviews showed that …
- … just one third of companies were able to improve their position in the market environment
- … at least 40 per cent saw the crisis rather as a chance than a threat
- … two thirds held onto their usual sales strategies
This insistence on sticking to the usual and standard methods, however, was not effective, according to professor Dr Jan Wieseke: “The strategies used most frequently apparently have no effect on the amount of success.” Instead, he recommends leveraging measures and investments in a more targeted way.
Trade shows on new virtual grounds
The corona pandemic has had a huge impact on traditional trade shows. Many events were cancelled and moved from the fair grounds to the virtual space. It soon became clear that digital events play by other rules when part of online marketing.
What these rules are was explained by Stephen Rose, Head of Communication Services at Siemens. His company, too, had to adapt and find new ways to present products. And in the process, he discovered: the lower attention span of participants compared to the usual trade shows is problematic. Which is why Stephen Rose recommends initiating processes which can be used to “illustrate the entire customer journey”. These include companies expanding trade shows to take a different form, for example with more in-depth, platform-based talks. Additional insights:
- Content should be tailored to the digital environment in its form and communication. A simple conversion of the analogue format into the digital format is not enough.
- Participants should be integrated into the presentation and be able to interact.
Focus on marketing for SMEs
Motivation research on the part of customers was the focus of the talk by Marco Schmid, Coach from the Schmid Leadership Team, within the scope of the SME Specials. In concrete terms: the “why” of the target group is the guiding question for modern sales, not the “what”. In other words, it is basically about the reasons why customers do something. Only those who know this and question it can “build a bridge that is very important” to its target group. This also means thinking for the customers, identifying their future challenges and preparing for their needs at an early stage.
More key facts from B2B Marketing Days 2020
In addition to the topics mentioned above, additional questions were discussed at the digital event. Here is a brief overview:
- Lead management is an ongoing project that must be continually improved and adapted.
- Google Ads is gaining in importance for SMEs.
- AI in marketing enables virtual influencers.
- In-company communication is profiting from the digital push.
- Public communication is suffering from the cancelled trade shows and low marketing expenditure.