As countries across the globe are preparing a slow return to “normal” and lifting confinement measures, it is important to start planning what that means for your business. While some companies have come to a complete standstill, others have been riding out the storm rather well.
Many software vendors have been able to sustain activities and were among the first to initiate work from home policies for their teams. In fact, those with offers that lend themselves well to the situation have not seen a slow-down in sales whatsoever and have had a boom in sales activities in past weeks.
Planning for recovery means more than adapting your marketing messages (although that is important too). It means preparing for what the post-COVID work world will look like and making sure you communicate that both internally and externally. Here are some things to consider when COVID is all said and done.
Remote teams are here to stay
While some people working from home cannot wait to get back to the office (and away from their kids!) most will need to continue to do so for some time (at least part time). Not only will social distancing be an important part of the post-COVID work world, but flexibility in the workplace will be as well. Many employees are happy to have the choice and most employers will use this as a recruitment tool since flexibility is as important to potential employees as the salary package they are offered. Make sure your teams are efficient working from home for the long term or think of alternative options to help support them (by outsourcing certain tasks for example).
Face-to-face sales meetings are a thing of the past
Sales teams will need innovative methods to engage prospects now that travelling on-site is out of the question. Business travel will not resume immediately and may never get back to the scale it was at previously. Great content is always a must but finding new ways to share that content with the right prospects can be challenging. It takes a ton of legwork to build a viable sales pipeline of prospects and the nurture process takes a high-level of organization. Using social selling outreach is a requirement as work-from-home policies continue in most areas but standing out from the crowd requires creativity and effort. Sales reps want to sell but coming off as too sales-y too quickly can be a real turn-off. Face-to-face meetings used to work so well because nothing beats personal contact to establish trust. Supporting your sales team to make the transition to virtual while maintaining rapport is an important way to ensure that a real connection is made. They should not hesitate to organize several online events to replace the one physical meeting they missed out on; hosting that event in a unique virtual environment can also be a way to win some brownie points.
Secure your marketing budget
During economic downturns, companies often slash marketing budgets because they are the easiest to cut. This is the biggest mistake you can make, and one that will only make recovery longer and more painful. Now more than ever it is critical that you maintain the course when it comes to your marketing outreach. Sales cycles may lengthen, and you may need to change your target audience in some cases (especially if the industries you normally go after have been hit hard by the crisis). Maximizing each dollar spent by focusing on the campaigns that work best for your business will help ensure ROI. To do that, be agile with your marketing and conduct A/B testing to benchmark campaign performance.
Cutting costs may be a necessary evil for some companies struggling to pull themselves out of economic decline. Outsourcing can help you lower your overhead while continuing to deliver a quality service for certain areas of your business. It is never easy to let go of staff, but why not free them up for your business-critical tasks? If your employees are spending their time focusing on the most important areas of your business instead of wasting time on things that can be taken care of by other people (who cost less), it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Whether or not you decide to outsource, streamlining your operations is critical not only for rebuilding post COVID but also for ensuring long-term business stability.
Even though everyone’s experience during the lockdown has been different, what’s sure is that we are all tired of it, scared about the long-term impact it will have on the economy, and ready to get back to business as usual. No-one doubts that it will take years for things to go back the way they were (if they ever do at all), but in the interim, it’s important to be thinking about paving the road to recovery.