This got me thinking, not about the current pessimistic economic outlook, but about a potential recovery and what it would mean for B2B sales and marketing strategies. After all, as the European debt crisis resolves, and the US election cycle unfolds, a recovery could indeed be in the cards. This would likely swing the priority from cutting costs back to growing revenue, opening new markets and launching new products. Or will it?
Indeed, as the economic recovery takes hold, innovative companies will be in a great position to potentially lead and catch the next wave, while agile companies will jockey for ways to capture early growth opportunities and execute on growth plans. However, as a result of the Great Recession, technology and several other factors, the world has changed. Even though the recovery will place more emphasis on growth initiatives, we predict that Frugalnomics, where businesses maintain a focus on costs and the bottom-line, will remain in effect.
The impact is that not just in the short term, but for a long time to come, buyers will remain more cost conscience, status-quo biased, price-centric and bottom-line focused. While B2B sales and marketing will face continued pressure to prove the cost of doing nothing, justify the superior ROI and quick payback on investments and quantify competitive value.
So why won’t the return to good times bring an end to Frugalnomics? There are a few reasons that we feel Frugalnomics will be a permanent part of B2B purchase decisions, and a continued sales and marketing challenge for years to come:
Although a recovery may emphasize growth oriented value propositions vs. cost savings, a more cost-competitive world, the superior bottom-line value of cost savings and increased financial control and oversight means that buyers will remain empowered, skeptical and frugal, and Frugalnomics will remain in effect.
Therefore, it is relevant not just in the short term, but for long term success, that B2B sales and marketing teams develop and leverage provocative, value-focused content and tools. Oriented to help facilitate the buyer’s journey, these tools can be used directly by customers, or in sales-led workshops to help successively:
1. Diagnose opportunities and illuminate priorities
2. Overcome the status-quo bias, proving there is a cost of doing nothing
3. Justify change
4. Prove competitive value
The facilitation is best done via interactive tools, especially: provocative white papers, benefit estimators, diagnostic assessments, ROI justifications, and TCO competitive comparisons.
A measurable and sustained economic recovery will be a welcome relief down the road, but our predictions are that it will not mean an end to Frugalnomics.
Buyers will still be challenged by worldwide competitive pressures to be more efficient, with permanent risk aversion, and more financial accountability. B2B sales and marketing will remain challenged connect, engage and sell to a more empowered, skeptical and frugal buyer. Imperative in such an environment to fight Frugalnomics by proving to the buyer that there is a tangible cost-of-doing-nothing, and justifying the superior ROI, quick payback and competitive value of proposed solutions.
When the economy changes, vendor proposals will need to evolve to help convince buyers that the proposed solution can help address the strategic need to grow revenue, launch new products and open new markets. But there will be a continued and important need to quantify, for permanently frugal buyers, the expected hard cost savings, efficiency improvements and bottom-line impacts for each and every significant proposal.