Trading Contract Discounts for an ROI Pilot in the COVID Era

Value looks different today than it did just a few months ago. You, the reader, more than likely have different priorities for yourself and your business as COVID has changed the world drastically. Right now, businesses are going to need to find ways to get value for themselves (and for others) in somewhat unconventional ways, and here we explore just one of the ways marketers can help.

As Renegade LLC marketing agency’s founder Drew Neisser notes in his recent demand generation guide: “If you really want new customers, focus on your current ones,” so, in that vein, return on investment pilots can offer good, non-liquid value. This means that, as discounts become more common, you’ll do well to find ways to seek non-monetary recompense that can hopefully pay off down the line. This will require a bit of planning alongside the customer, but customers looking or asking for discounts will likely be happy to oblige if it means saving some money.

The basic premise is, in exchange for a discount (or if an opportunity arises naturally without a discount offered), you will closely track the efficacy of your product from planning to implementation, and beyond. This will give you plenty of fodder for sales and marketing materials which, while not always as appealing as a check, can be a boon for your organization. And this isn’t just a discount for your customers—an ROI analysis can also help you discover additional ways to contribute to their success short-term and in the future as well as identify where you can improve your product or service.

As for how to go about this, each scenario will look different based on the product, the client, and your company—but a few standard steps will help you divine a good process. First, take some time to evaluate a few key metrics that really matter for your offering. Hypothetically, if your offering (be it software, consulting services, or sandwich making) works perfectly, what metrics will the customer see lifted? It could be net revenue, site traffic, or, in the sandwich scenario, customer satiety. When determining these metrics, it’s important to collaborate across the C-Suite. CFOs and CIOs may prioritize very different ‘key metrics’ that can be of similar value.

Next, figure out the most effective timetable for regularly measuring these metrics. Over time, you’ll see the trends start to emerge, and you’ll essentially have an unpolished ROI report ready to go. This data can be converted into reports or blog posts and cited in sales materials for discussions months down the line when shades of the pre-COVID business world start to reappear—it’ll be valuable, and it only costs a bit of time for your customer, which they’ll often happily offer in exchange for a cost reduction, even if temporary.