Is Brexit Holding You Back From Achieving Your Sales Objectives?
Between Brexit and Covid, UK businesses have had their fair share of uncertainty over the past year or so. And while the end is in sight for Covid restrictions (fingers crossed!!), with a welcome economic bounce likely as we head out of lockdown, the same can’t be said for Brexit.
The first few months following the end of the Brexit transition have seen widespread shipping delays as businesses on both sides of the North Sea have struggled to implement the new trading regulations.
Furthermore, with many of the long-term details of the EU-UK trading relationship still to be determined, the final shape of Brexit, and the implications for businesses, are still unknown.
Making plans during uncertain times
A big challenge for businesses at the moment is the difficulty of prioritising investment plans in such an atmosphere of uncertainty, especially if the returns are unknown.
With a range of investments clamouring for space in a squeezed budgets, marketing is often the first to be relegated to the bottom of the list, if it’s considered at all.
At the same time as marketing is being downgraded, many businesses are actively investing more into their sales function, e.g. by hiring new sales staff, despite most traditional face-to-face sales activities (tradeshows, sales meetings, networking events) still being on hold.
Spend now or wait for better times?
It’s counterintuitive to increase spending at a time when budgets are tight. However, our contention, based on the experience of dozens of clients across widely different sectors, is that sales and marketing go hand-in-hand.
In an age of digital selling, in which the field sales process has migrated online, an effective inbound marketing strategy is essential for your sales team to succeed in growing your business.
Now is not the time to scale back your marketing spend, but to increase it, in order to capitalise on current opportunities and sustain your market position for when the Brexit situation stabilises.
Also, based on our experience working with clients during the 2008-11 recession, the Covid crisis last year, and the Brexit situation since 2016, we’ve found that it is the companies that increase their marketing spend during times of economic uncertainty that stand to gain the most in terms of new customers, better retention rates, and higher revenues, and not those that reduce their marketing budget.
Businesses that cut their marketing budgets this year in response to Brexit risk losing more potential sales and revenues, both immediately and long-term, than those who sustain or increase their marketing spend.
There are two reasons for this:
1) Firstly, in 2021 it is impossible to draw a sharp distinction between marketing and sales. Marketing is simply a term to cover all the activities a business engages in to increase their brand awareness, and generate leads for their sales team to convert into new customers.
Without a marketing strategy, your sales team are blind, frequently wasting time pursuing leads who aren’t really interested in your products and services. And in an age in which everything has moved online, from supplier research to conferences, a company that ceases to engage in digital marketing will quickly lose visibility, losing out on sales to their competitors.
So, to make sales in the age of Brexit and Covid, it is essential to combine an active sales strategy with an equally proactive approach to online visibility and lead generation.
2) Secondly, although Brexit is a worry for many, businesses are still making investment decisions and are willing to spend. Unlike in 2008, in 2020/21, businesses still seem happy to make sales and contemplate purchase decisions, laying the ground work for a strong recovery when conditions improve.
This is a smart strategy, and means there is still cash in the economy to make purchases – something you could benefit from if you market your business effectively to your target customers.
When the dust settles and the Brexit landscape becomes clearer for both European and British companies, it is the businesses that have maintained their market presence that will be in the strongest position to capitalise on the sales opportunities that are bound to follow.
Those that have scaled back on marketing today may find that they have lost their market share when they come to reinvest in marketing further down the line – ironically costing them more to recover old ground than it would do if they had continued their spend.
Find out more
Whatever the economic weather outside, at JDR we help businesses develop practical and achievable marketing strategies to deliver their business objectives, whether this is growth or simply maintaining their current position.
To find out more about the benefits of inbound marketing, how a marketing strategy can improve your sales returns, and the ROI you can expect from your marketing investment, please have a chat with one of our specialists today.
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