Within the course of a mere two years, COVID-19 completely broke how many companies conducted business. 2020 upended many entrenched marketing and sales strategies, forcing countless companies to close shop. And for many industries, the “recovery” of 2021 wasn’t nearly as robust as expected.
But in the face of such turmoil, companies like ContinuumCloud embraced change, transformed, and thrived.
MJ Craig, ContinuumCloud’s VP of Marketing, shared how her company successfully leveraged ABX during the pandemic — and generated nearly 270% growth in pipeline in the process — in a recent webinar hosted by 6sense. ContinuumCloud is a 6sense customer.
If you’re keen to learn how ContinuumCloud’s ABX approach can strengthen your own revenue team’s outreach and conversion rates, keep reading.
Lead-Gen Before the Pandemic
ContinuumCloud offers cloud-based software solutions to a specific subset of healthcare providers. In the days before COVID, MJ explained, “we were getting about 90% of our opportunities primarily from in-person conference activities.”
As we know, the script flipped in March 2020. And all those in-person meetings that ContinuumCloud depended on, pre-pandemic? Those vanished … and they vanished all at once. The situation threatened to devastate the company’s pipeline, and perhaps the fate of the company itself.
But ContinuumCloud adapted, embraced ABX, and created an approach that effectively tackled the problem — and put the business on better footing than ever.
Don’t Hold Onto Strategies That No Longer Perform
The pandemic thoroughly disrupted ContinuumCloud’s marketing model, but the turbulence didn’t interfere with the company’s switch to new ABX strategies. “We had to totally reimagine to make an impact and achieve some pretty aggressive growth goals by replacing that pipe with digitally-driven conversions,” Craig said.
The willingness to shift perspectives so dramatically and quickly served ContinuumCloud well. Rather than spend the time lamenting the problem (which was completely out of its control), the company poured energy into creating new solutions.
Be Willing to Take Chances
MJ said she “over-prepared” while prepping to announce the new ABX practices to the sales team. Changes this big are rarely embraced with open arms, especially if they require team members to learn new software or processes.
(In fact, she came armed with 17 pages of notes and responses to every possible objection. “I was ready for war,” she confessed.)
But ContinuumCloud’s sales team was very receptive to the changes. The lesson? Open communication and a culture of trust and experimentation breeds the sense of safety your team needs to get on board with changes.
MJ didn’t need those 17 pages of notes, but she said the legwork mattered. Illustrating that choices are made thoughtfully — and that any objections are thoroughly (and proactively) considered — points to a larger culture of meaningful communication. That’s what it takes to survive big shifts, MJ said.
Recreating Previous Methods Won’t Work
Other companies in ContinuumCloud’s industry didn’t adapt as quickly, or as well. They, too, nearly exclusively relied on face-to-face meetups and conferences as lead-gen opportunities. They attempted to shift those same strategies to virtual conferences.
ContinuumCloud did that too, but immediately realized the results were disappointing.
“We needed to do things differently,” Craig said. “We couldn’t just wait for virtual conferences to bring us leads or wait for conferences to come back in. So we kind of saw the writing on the wall.”
Always Have Transformational Investments in the Works
It seems impossible that a company conducting 90% of its marketing in-person could survive the pandemic. And it seems like downright fiction that the company could grow its pipeline by nearly 270% during an otherwise devastating year. But the reality is more complex.
The shift to a digital marketing plan was certainly accelerated (and hyper-focused) by the pandemic. But ContinuumCloud’s willingness to invest in account engagement platforms and try new ABX strategies was already in the works.
“We invested in Uberflip and 6sense actually at the same time in late 2019,” MJ explained. “And thank goodness — because if we hadn’t (been on track to embrace ABX), we would’ve been way too far behind by the time we started hearing the alarm bells in April 2020.”
A major takeaway from this experience is that something that works today might not always work. ContinuumCloud generated so much success with in-person conferences that it couldn’t imagine a situation in which it’d lose this marketing approach. Thankfully, company leadership was already looking for ways to diversify its marketing options.
No one can predict the future. 2020 showed many companies that the unexpected can be a devastating blow. Having invested in the foundational elements in ABX — even before they were fully implemented — meant that ContinuumCloud had the tools it needed to make the shift to digital ABX strategies.
COVID-19 Accelerated Existing Trends Toward Digitalization
It’s tempting to consider the events of 2020 and 2021 as anomalies and expect things to “get back to normal” in the coming months. That’s a mistake. The world — and the world of business — has forever changed.
“Gartner says that by 2025, 80% of buyer-seller interactions are going to take place in the digital atmosphere,” explained Courtney Smith, 6sense’s head of ABX, during the webinar. “COVID certainly accelerated that trend, but it’s just going to continue to grow.”
ContinuumCloud had the tools in place to adjust to the new circumstances when the pandemic eliminated its traditional options. The company has now modernized its marketing in a way that is ready to continue adjusting to future changes — whatever they might be.
You can discover more insights by checking out the full webinar.