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Steps for Creating and Maintaining B2B Agility During a Crisis

May 15th, 2020

Steps for Creating and Maintaining B2B Agility During a Crisis

We are at a digital inflection point, where B2B organizations going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider this a chance to bolster your business and marketing efforts amidst uncertainty and adapt to the current technologies of the business landscape.

We are breaking down some steps to help your organization pivot to an agile mindset while going through a crisis like COVID-19. But before that, let's discuss the term agility. A term that has become a byword in the B2B landscape, agility means to plan projects in shorter durations and be able to handle changes quickly and more efficiently, as well as rely on team dynamics. It's being flexible and able to collaborate with other teams in a fast-moving marketplace. It's accepting digital platforms as the new norm. It's focusing on the value of data as opposed to a one-size-fits-all mentality. When it comes to marketing, agility means forgoing massive campaigns that take months to kickstart and instead focus on delivering programs on a shorter timeframe while listening to the feedback of the target audience and continually making changes that reflect their needs.

1. Build optimism

Some will forego this step but it's an important first move for a leader to be reminded that it's his or her duty to create a positive environment for the whole team. In the midst of a crisis, a leader needs to project confidence and strength--stabilizing qualities that foster optimism. This doesn't mean denying reality or sugarcoating bad news, which can breed cynicism and distrust. What you need is to be straightforward in acknowledging setbacks and disappointments, letting them know that these things happen, and then focus on what can be done to move forward.

2. Demonstrate stability as an organization

Organizational stability is what provides people with a sense of confidence, security, and optimism during times of disruptive change in the workplace. This kind of environment allows them to keep calm, act rationally, and adapt effectively no matter what the situation is. To promote stability, leaders need to set priorities. Because many employees are currently working from home, everyone's prone to distractions and miscommunication. So it's important to be clear about what your priorities are, even to the point of over-communicating it to everyone. Having a shared direction and purpose as conditions rapidly change is necessary to mitigate distractions. Each member of the team should clearly know what their responsibilities are. For this, you need regular check-ins to ensure alignment.

3. Measure activity performance

You can rely on facts, figures, and truths within measured data to provide objectivity in making agile decisions. The availability of data enables B2B organizations an almost real-time glimpse into the sentiment and responses of target audiences, creating infinite possibilities of next steps that yield higher returns. As you probably know, there’s a lot of noise out there. Getting the right message to the right person at the right time is key if you care about building a strong relationship with your customer. With the right mindset, tools, strategy and data, you can make agility a reality throughout your brand’s technology ecosystem.

4. Perform Quality Assurance Checks

While being agile means adapting to audience needs, this doesn't mean production quality should be compromised. Your efforts should not only be timely and data-driven but also useable beyond the current crisis. Otherwise, your efforts could be wasted. That's why the challenge here is to balance acceleration and quality in all your deliverables. If possible, you can assign a person or team to do cross-checking between roles and outputs so there's assurance that everything is regulated before sent out. Especially during this time, you want to avoid coming out with any piece of insensitive material.

To the 'New Normal' and beyond

Nothing is still for certain but it's important to begin to look to the future and imagine scenarios that a business could undergo, adjusting operations and marketing to the new normal. Considering the concept of B2B agility, remember to be flexible and adjust as needed to keep up with what is happening globally--both from an economic standpoint and from a health outlook. If you stay true to agility, your B2B organization should be able to withstand the trying circumstances the whole world is facing right now.