business travel challenges during Covid

Business Travel Blues?

Business Travel and Sales Challenges

I’m sure we’ve all had conversations with clients about sales goals recently. Many of mine seem to include “with my company’s travel policy…”, or “I can’t see my customers right now”.  While the vaccine and the hope of lifted restrictions brings optimism, I’ve read several articles about decreased business travel, particularly within the international segment. One thing in the back of my mind is the increased teleconferencing technologies available and the cost savings for companies with less business travel.  This makes me wonder about the long-term ramifications of travel to things like events, business functions, or even the traditional sales call.

business travel during covid

A common question I often get is “What can I implement now to target my short-term goals and long-term strategy when I can’t see prospects and clients in person?” My answer is, be proactive and implement a plan that will mitigate risk and eliminate the travel barriers. Let’s consider a digital business solution. Your objective should be to understand how your clients and prospects want to be educated and engaged. For software or IT companies, this may be hosting webinars with C-level leaders highlighting benefits or updates on their platforms to users highlighting their services. For an equipment manufacturing company, the target audience typically wants to see products and technical data. The approach is going to be different for each company. But trust me when I say that we are all over PowerPoint and ready to move on to a more engaging experience.

What tools are clients finding valuable? Digital Business Environments

Interactive Digital Business Environments that incorporate multi-use functionality are pushing their way to the forefront. What is a digital business environment?  A digital business environment is a simulated “environment” created for interaction on one or more devices and for business networking purposes over the internet.  As an example, a digital environment like a 3D or photographic virtual facility tour can be used as a sales tool now, integrated into your in-person event and business meeting spaces in the future, or used as an internal training and onboarding tool for people working from home.  Alternatively, building an in-house broadcast studio allows you to shoot product or SME educational videos, live stream content out to a hosted web meeting audience, or it can act as a branded background for internal communications.

We recently had a client that was looking for a way to promote their dealer training program online.  A digital environment was determined to be the most interactive and effective solution.  By combining B roll film and 360 photography of their facility within integrated hotspots and overlays, they are able to showcase their facility in a visually compelling manner while incorporating educational elements that are part of their overall training program.  Throughout the discussions, they quickly saw the value in cloning the environment, modifying the hotspots, and creating a sales and marketing tool by using the existing digital environment.  This is a great example of a cross-departmental asset that can be utilized now and incorporated into live events and in-person sales calls in the future.

interactive digital business environment

Where do I start?

I encourage everybody to take some time to evaluate if a Digital Business Environment is right for you, and be open to re-inventing your sales, marketing, and communication strategy.  Big changes, or even just small tweaks, can make a difference when it comes to meeting or exceeding your goals. It’s important to involve management or stakeholders from all of the key departments that will be involved.  Without having a real-time understanding of the current goals or communication challenges, it is difficult to put a new strategy in place.  Remember, this is about solving new and challenging business problems and it’s ok if you don’t have all of the answers right away.

I sometimes find myself having to remind people that one size does not fit all. In order to create the most effective digital business environment, it is crucial to fully understand your target audience and how they prefer to be interacted with, it may be different now than in the past.  Many people are still juggling working from home, kids around the house more often, and going back and forth getting kids to school if they are back.  Holding their attention span may be more challenging at this time. Put yourself in their shoes and think about your challenges outside of the workplace.  Understanding this will allow you to customize the method, the message, and hopefully have a more meaningful and productive interaction.

Attending a digital business event while working from home

Ultimately, we all want things to get back to normal.  The great unknown is that we do not know what that normal will be.  As we have moved past a year of this pandemic, keep looking forward and continue to adapt.

To learn more about how we have helped clients with digital business environments and interactives please click here.

About The Author

Jason Daniels is a 13 year experiential and event marketing veteran.  Over this time he has helped clients communicate their brand, company culture, and showcase their products and services through branded environments, sales meetings, trade shows, conferences, and digital interactive solutions.  His goal is to provide value to each of his clients based on their unique marketing initiatives.

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