The Covid-19 threat is still looming large in countries across the world and with travel budgets frozen, countries in lockdown mode and partial or full closure of other industries, businesses around the world are faced with a crisis they have not had to deal with before. Being innovative and resilient during these trying times is one way to try and stay afloat.
While the race is on to try and invent a vaccine, until then, adjusting to the new normal, improving work from home policies, enhancing remote sales efforts and the likes will be the theme of the hour.
While businesses and people in countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic struggle to deal with the effects of the disease, business leaders have to try as much as possible to focus on business continuity during these unprecedented times. The rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted and shutdown several businesses and led to mass layoffs in others.
However, while the severe impact of the ongoing crisis is still unfolding….Here are 5 things every business and sales leader can do during this challenging time:
1- Bring out the Voice of Your Customer
If you are in business, you have customers. While customer acquisition might take a hit during this rough time because tightened budgets and a focus on essentials is on the rise (even for businesses), this is as good a time as any to bring forward the voice of your existing customers.
Marketing and Sales teams benefit when they have a series of valid and recent use cases, case studies and customer testimonials to draw from.
At a time when buying or investing in new technologies might not be the priority for businesses, using this time to highlight who your existing customers are, which industries they belong to, how they’ve used your product(s) to their benefit, what problem your product/solution helped solve are some ways through which you can capitalize on this time.
Using innovative video creation tools and building out informative use cases will help sales and marketing extract better value and useful points from these resources at a later stage when businesses and economies reopen and when more companies are open to investing in new technologies.
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2- Grow Existing Customer Relationships
Every technology sales team’s sales prospecting efforts are in jeopardy at the moment. Customer expansion plans are plans that should still be on the horizon though, even if they are put on hold because of market behavior and existing economic conditions.
As a result of which, focusing on existing customers and ensuring a strong customer retention policy will help businesses stay afloat during this world crisis. Existing relationships could be improved during this time in more creative ways. Invite customers to online webinars, invite them to virtual sessions where you tell them about your new business ideas or plans, stay informed and keep them informed about what you plan to do next.
Businesses lose $1.6 trillion per year when customers move away from them. 20 percent of customers of a given company are the source of 80 percent of the company’s profits.
3- Adding Value While Serving
“Now is the time to be thinking about serving first, selling second,” to quote Jeffrey K Rohrs, CMO at Jobvite. Most customers, even business users do not have the ability to contract or pay for new services at the moment.
That doesn’t mean sales and marketing activities need to stop. Lead nurture cadences, staying top of mind for your prospects, understanding how you can build a better business relationship even during rough times is what will makes a sales and marketing team thrive and help their business achieve the goal of business continuity.
While building out cadences, prospect lists and segmenting target audiences, sales teams and even marketers would benefit from being mindful of their cost structure at this time, while capitalizing on current investments to further any objective. AI-infused sales acceleration solutions can come in handy for lean teams that are suffering from low bandwidth during this time.
While building a relationship with prospects during these unprecedented times, focus on the long-term opportunity. Building a consistent pipeline is after all always top most on the list of must-do’s for any technology sales leader.
4- A Stronger Focus on Product Innovation
As businesses and economies slowly reopen, everyone has been talking about the new normal and the adjustments that will be made to the overall work culture, this will be far different than what the workforce was used to before Covid-19 changed life for everyone.
This shift in everyday life due to Covid-19 has impacted business and industries the world over. This also means that the demand for certain technologies that were observed in say, Q1 of 2020 are not going to be the same over the next few quarters. As teams and businesses slowly pick up pace and as sales activities are renewed across sectors, it is imperative to keep in mind that every sales and marketing team, every seller, in every industry has undergone a challenging phase.
Tech products that help enhance overall customer experience, products and solutions that contribute towards a better business outcome, tools, services and platforms that help decode a target’s purchase intent and buying journey will become useful go-to technologies.
What sales and marketing leaders will now look for are actionable insights built out of first-party data to try and understand their prospect’s more while customizing every message to achieve the end goal – a new win.
This is a time for technology sales teams, sales leaders, Chief Technology Officers and Product Innovators to understand what the marketplace would need most as businesses reopen. And a renewed focus on innovation that allows existing platforms to offer new capabilities that can enable better sales outcomes over the next few quarters will be the final value-add that every prospect will benefit from.
5- Multi-Vertical Approach
For any SaaS / Technology or Product company: serving one vertical is akin to putting all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your product range and serving customers in multiple verticals should become a key priority for technology sales teams, especially for teams and product companies that haven’t already done so.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused the travel industry to take a complete hit, for instance. That led to a downfall in associated services as well. While ensuring sales and marketing remain a strong backbone, it is also important for a product to be at par with changing needs and customer preferences. Besides this, diversifying a product or its capabilities to suit multiple sectors going forward will be a safer bet for businesses on the whole.
While some verticals do show signs of recovery over the next few days and weeks, the overall economic situation will still be fluid. In the meantime, these 5 business ideas might help you tide through these trying times.
Don’t miss these episodes of the SalesStar Podcast where industry leaders share business tips to help get through Covid-19!