Covid-19 has taken its toll in nearly every aspect of our world, and sadly, normal business operations are no exception.
We all know the facts. In the wake of fiscal uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the state of the economy, budgets have been frozen, projects are on indefinite hold, and cash is being conserved wherever possible.
The only thing we seem to have in excess these days is overwhelming ambiguity.
And despite this giant question mark over the current and future state of affairs, companies are trying their very best to run business as usual by finding any way possible to support their employees and existing customers. They’re also looking for concrete ways to grow sales during a crisis.
The good news is – many of them have, and if these businesses can navigate the pandemic, yours can too.
By asking yourself the right questions, developing a path forward, and training your reps for the new normal of sales during a crisis, you’ll be able to position your company to survive and emerge from the current state of affairs.
Ask The Right Diagnostic Questions
The business model that you’ve built, continuously refined, and executed on in the past is likely no longer relevant – at least to the extent that it once was. So, it’s time to look at your sales engagements from a different point of view.
With the knowledge your team possesses of your industry and your competitive landscape, ask yourself the following questions so you can adjust your strategy for your new operating environment:
- How will/do our buyers behave in this new normal?
- How will/did our buyers’ needs change?
- How will/did our competitors react?
As a recent contribution to the Core Community Wire points out, now is the time to get even closer to your customers, so take the time to talk to them. Look at your target market’s reaction to Covid-19, and use it to inform what they want (and need) from your business.
On top of that, examining what your competitors have done – and how those actions have been perceived by buyers in your industry – can help you decide what to do, and what not to do.
Develop a Clear Path Forward
Once you’ve appropriately answered those questions, use your responses to develop a path for success in a post-pandemic world.
Start by documenting the following:
- What problems your business can solve in the wake of the new normal.
- How you’ll solve these problems.
- What alterations will be made to your target markets and buyer personas – and where you’ll focus.
- Your new competitive strengths and weaknesses.
- Your evidence and proof points for these answers.
When you have all of these factors sorted out, you’ll find yourself with the framework for a clear, actionable path to help you survive in the interim and maintain sales well beyond this crisis.
Retrain Your Reps
Great leaders – in business or otherwise – recognize that opportunity lies within downturns.
For your business, there’s an opportunity to strengthen your reps’ output by retraining them on your new, relevant growth model.
In other words: out with the old, in with the new.
Be prepared to over-communicate your changes to ensure that everyone in your company is well-versed on why the changes have been made, excited to communicate that model, and ready to speak to the current needs of new and existing customers.
How should you do this? Here are a few tips.
1. Get to the root of your buyers’ fears during times of crisis and uncertainty. Encourage your reps to be curious and empathetic, as this will help them understand firsthand what their prospects are experiencing and inspire them to understand how best to help.
2. Prepare your reps to speak to the impact of buyers doing nothing. Right now, emotions matter more to prospects than facts and figures in a slideshow. If you can present your product or service as helpful and positive without putting the focus on statistics, now’s the time to do that.
3. Focus on your buyers’ shifted priorities. Your reps will need to focus time and energy on bridging the knowledge gap between buyers’ new and old challenges, goals, and fears. Currently, your prospects are laser-focused on increasing revenue, mitigating risk, and decreasing cost. Are your reps prepared to speak to how your business addresses these heightened needs?
With states reopening and life gradually resuming, the light is very much at the end of the tunnel, both personally and professionally. Regardless, your buyers’ priorities have changed – and those priorities may not be changing back in the near future.
This is the time to be adaptable by rethinking how you can help your customers and developing and communicating your plan to do so. Follow this framework and you’ll be well-equipped to delight and acquire more customers, regardless of what’s happening in the world.