As businesses look to the future, now is the time to consider your ‘new’ sales process. There is no doubt that the pandemic has affected all of us, both as individuals and as employees or employers. The landscape of business immediately shifted when lockdown forced the majority of businesses to work from home where possible, staff were furloughed, and in some cases redundancies were un avoidable. It’s what we do now that will get businesses through this storm – leadership, resilience, adaptation and innovation are key, but equally importantly collaboration and community.
So how do businesses move from surviving to thriving again?
Marketing and business development remain critical, and even more so when budgets are cut and cashflow is tight. It is vital that we maintain momentum by adapting our approach and communicating to clients and prospects with empathy. Our marketing strategy needs to be agile and adapt to continuing changes.
Talk to your current clients. Understand how their business has shifted and what their new requirements may be. Work with your clients to adapt to their needs. Focus on the customer experience, not simply more sales.
Tone in the current environment is pivotal. Communications and marketing messages need to offer advice, guidance, good news stories; be empathetic with offers of support. Relationships are key and need to be nurtured.
Adapting your marketing and communications to suit your clients and the current situation go hand in hand with an improvement in sales. Use this time to re-imagine your business development and review your marketing strategy. It is a trying time for most businesses but also a time for reflection on your own business strengths. Consider whether your communication strategy remains suitable and if your target audience remains the same or has altered during the last few months. Experience counts. Talk to experts and consultants and be guided by them. Dedicated professionals will remain current with transformation in their own field just as you will in yours.
Marketing tactics aren’t that complicated. There are only a fixed number of them. Some have stopped altogether – Exhibitions for example, and others have adapted like Networking becoming virtual. And long forgotten methods such as Direct Mailing are having a resurgence as a way to differentiate. Digital Marketing remains imperative to any successful campaign.
In our line of work, using the telephone to connect, the initial impact was huge. It was surprising how many medium to large businesses become uncontactable as soon as everyone was working from home. However, there has been a significant shift back to the office, especially from the beginning of September and contact rates are again on the rise.
Statistics haven’t changed though. It still takes 8-12 touches for a prospect to become a client. Which is why an integrated marketing strategy is so important to success. Indeed, it is also true that not all strategies work all of the time. So having multiple activities running at the same time will avoid your sales pipeline drying up completely.
Successes will also be attributed to a resilient cohesive team. Not just internal, but external. Active partnerships that support each other not just with specific deliverables, but with a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, and through recommendations and testimonials attributed to great work.