Business as Usual 

We are currently living in very uncertain and confusing times. Beyond the obvious issues that come with making sure our families are safe and healthy, we’re also in uncharted waters for our businesses. While many are downsizing or planning to leave their industries altogether, most companies are at least taking a conservative stance and waiting to see what’s on the horizon when things clear up. 

Since we are in a B2B industry, this requires us to be extra vigilant in our practices — keeping an eye to the future while still making sure we make it through to tomorrow. In this article, we’ll be discussing how it’s not only crucial for organizations to keep steady and stay the course, but also to keep our heads up during this stormy weather. 

Sales 

This is probably the hardest hit area for most businesses right now since a lot of companies aren’t looking to take on additional services or buy excess product for the time being. This means that salespeople need to take a completely different approach: the transition from being hunters to farmers. The climate for salespeople once transitioned from door-to-door to cold-calling, and then solicitation in ways that made clients come to you. This all still happens, but to vastly different degrees when the majority of your staff remotely works from home and no administrative clients want to meet face-to-face.

Any amount of marketing research should indicate that you shouldn’t expect to get a sale or contract during the first meeting. Now is the time to plant the seeds of future harvesting. Take the time to really get to know your prospects and let them know you’re stable and here for them if they need you. A sales rule of thumb is to not appear desperate or make them feel pressured. A lot of companies are unintentionally overreacting because they have no idea what tomorrow will bring, so it’s important to calm them down and cultivate that relationship until they’re ready to buy and close the deal.

Since there is so much uncertainty, organizations need to know that your business is both honorable, reliable, and stable. This isn’t just a tactic to get close to them, these morals should be mirrored in your actions and the way you handle resolution on a large scale. As soon as a crisis hits, there are always those who immediately find ways to take advantage of the unfortunate, and while this may pay off in the short term, it could cause unmeasurable damage to your company’s reputation in the future. Even though there are additional threats from those looking to capitalize on uncertainty and fear, don’t use that as a selling point. At the least, it would be unethical — at worst, they would see right through what you’re doing and your chance of ever signing with them would fall to zero. 

“Be careful not to use these platforms to simply push your products as people aren’t interested in being hawked during trying times. They’re attracted to messages that are reassuring and uplifting. Instead of telling people how you’re better than the competition or have the best prices, let them know how you’re helping out in your community or how you can be a part of assisting small businesses to survive this crisis.”

Marketing 

Even if you find your sales dropping, you should still invest your efforts in your public presence. After all, since this current issue will eventually pass, having your name and services out there will be useful once everything gets back to normal. In efforts to increase the possibility of meeting sales goals, the current marketing strategy being used within your organization may need to change. Adapting to the new way of approaching customers (or rather the old ways) such as cold-calling and emailing, may provide more useful than knocking on doors that no one wants to open.

One thing is certain: everyone is glued to their phones right now. Social media is the window to the outside world for a lot of us as we’re stuck at home. This means guaranteed eyeballs on any posts or content you upload. In reality, this might just be one of the best times to get your name out there for the future, and being more active on social media with a readily available sales rep will only increase your chances of success.

Be careful not to use these platforms to simply push your products as people aren’t interested in being hawked during trying times. They’re attracted to messages that are reassuring and uplifting. Instead of telling people how you’re better than the competition or have the best prices, let them know how you’re helping out in your community or how you can be a part of assisting small businesses to survive this crisis. Marketing is accustomed to generating interest in both the tangible and the intangibles we sell, so now is our chance to focus on the perceived value of our offerings and create interest for the future.  

Security 

Hackers and other criminals are using this window of panic and uncertainty to take advantage of possible relaxed security systems. For instance, they understand that right now, a lot of companies have fewer people monitoring security, either temporarily or maybe some staff has been laid off. As a result, IT systems are especially vulnerable to attacks. 

Remember this: hackers have no heart or ethics. You might see this as an opportunity for everyone to put aside their differences and work together, but cybercriminals look at this as prime hunting season. Be sure to remind your clients about this and not to forget it yourself, since we might be tempted to put our guard down in a spirit of cooperation that some may see as their chance to strike. 

When the whole Coronavirus issue started, some took it as a serious threat, and others thought it was overblown. Regardless of how you felt at first, the fact is that we’re now in a precarious situation and we have no idea how long it will last — it could just as easily be an issue that will cause repercussions for months or multiple years, which makes it all more uncertain. Regardless, our goal is to be ready to help our clients when they need us most, and for us to still be around to see this thing through.

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