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Ensuring A Healthy Pipeline Amid Business Uncertainty

Navigating Uncertainty with Confidence. Learn how to ensure a healthy and sustainable pipeline even in times of business uncertainty, securing growth and success.
loyalty cloud platform

Zoltan Vardy, chairman of enterprise loyalty cloud platform, Antavo, shares his three top tips for selling in stormy seas by ensuring a healthy pipeline – no matter what’s on the horizon.

In the wake of the pandemic, the business world was awash with inspiring stories of reinvention and recovery as organizations adapted to our new world. Unfortunately, we also saw some concerning scenarios, many of which were the product of companies failing to prepare for unexpected outcomes. 

As we find ourselves in another period of instability and learn from our Covid mistakes, the value of maintaining a healthy sales pipeline is clear. Times are tough and in the face of a rising cost of living and staffing crises across a number of industries, it pays to work hard and strategize now to ensure a healthy flow of customers all year round.

In the current climate though, businesses are taking much longer to make decisions. They’re naturally being more cautious, which creates a lot of pressure on martech enterprises to maintain a consistent flow of opportunities and ensure the bottom line isn’t affected too much as the world around us changes. 

  • Keep the funnel topped up

Understanding how your marketing and sales funnel is performing has never been more important. Improving your pipeline’s efficiency and keeping it topped up with prospects is vital.

Remember! Everyone in the market is in the same boat and while this may offer some sense of reassurance, it’s also an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored. With some smart marketing, businesses can build brand awareness and stand out from the crowd while their competitors may be dialing back on time and money spent on raising their profiles. 

At Antavo, we’ve focused on marketing activities that help us cut through the noise. We work hard to position ourselves as a true industry thought leaders by developing our own data and drawing trends that enable us to have informed and insightful conversations with prospects as soon as they enter the sales funnel. This reassures them of our expertise from the very outset. We’re also focused on building stronger, deeper relationships through intimate events such as our Loyalty Leaders Breakfast sessions, whereas before we were investing significantly in large, global conferences where it’s more difficult to stand out. 

In the early stages of a prospect’s journey, they’re often still identifying their challenge, have questions and concerns, and are looking for a trusted source of information. Those businesses that market themselves as a trusted advisor, as well as a potential supplier, are more likely to build a strong reputation within the industry. This generates a  flow of leads required to keep a healthy pipeline. 

  • Only target customers that are a good fit for your business

During times of business uncertainty, it’s a common knee-jerk reaction for organisations to jump on any opportunity that comes their way. While understandable, this is, in fact, extremely counterproductive as it fills a sales pipeline with irrelevant or unqualified prospects that take valuable time to nurture and are unlikely to convert.

Instead, refine your focus and deal in quality over quantity. Only pursue prospects that are a good fit for your business – likely to convert, remain loyal and support your overall growth plans.  Building a profile for the ideal customer is a valuable exercise and one that we review every six weeks to ensure that it remains specific and targeted enough. We cover three key areas – geography, company size and industry, as well as the size of project required, such as whether a brand is looking to revamp an existing loyalty programme or relaunch a new one. 

This obvious step is often overlooked. When everyone in an organisation involved in generating leads and driving sales knows how to pre-qualify leads properly, everyone wins. Operations run more smoothly and productivity and revenue increase.

  • Invest for the long term

While the immediate focus may be on overcoming the current lack of certainty within your marketplace, your overall marketing strategy shouldn’t be shortsighted. Marketing investment decisions need to factor in both short- and long-term impact, as future potential is a critical factor of achieving return on investment. Spend should focus on delivering future growth rather than being optimised to current conditions or past performance. 

Develop evergreen content that can be repurposed to offer value over time. Investing in the creation of proprietary research is smart, such as a themed industry report. Antavo has created an annual Global Customer Loyalty Report, which offers value all year round and is benchmarked against previous years’ research to ensure they continue to add value. 

It’s also vital to invest in your team by offering mentoring and training to ensure they continue to thrive. Plus,identify skills or resource gaps and head hunt new talent to bring into place when leads convert and extra resource is required. Strategic partnerships with other like minded brands, networks and industry peers can also carry huge value – particularly during tough times, as organisations lean on one another to offer support, advice and potential referrals. 

Although these times of uncertainty can be highly stressful, it’s important not to panic. By remaining focused and following solid marketing and sales philosophies, your business can emerge from this period stronger. A healthy pipeline filled with prospects who trust in your brand, are more likely to convert and become loyal customers for many years to come.

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Zoltan Vardy, Chairman of Antavo.

Zoltan is a coach and business mentor who is an investor and board member to several marketing technology businesses, including loyalty cloud platform Antavo where he’s Chairman of the Board. Zoltan has a wealth of sales and experience from roles at major international broadcast networks including NBC Universal, Turner and CBS. He is now focused on mentoring and working with fast scaling businesses to ensure high growth and international success.

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