Despite disparate professions, political affiliations, religions, and ethnicities, we are all grappling with the same questions lately — Are there enough hospital beds? When will a vaccine for coronavirus be developed? Is it safe to touch that Amazon delivery box?
For those of us who run businesses, we are also struggling with how to adjust to a new reality where our teams work from home, customers are unable to pay bills, and our 2020 projections have gone out the window.
First, take a deep breath (in an uncrowded area!), and let’s take a look at some straightforward steps that your business can take to adjust during coronavirus. We are all in this together!
1. Stay Connected Through Communication Apps
In an economy where many employees were shifting to remote work anyway, now is a great time for you to find new tools to help keep remote employees engaged and connected.
Slack or Microsoft Teams allows teams to share information with each other in real-time, as they normally would when sitting across from each other or while passing each other by in the office kitchen.
If the idea of adopting a new platform is daunting, don’t forget that e-mail is still the most popular social tool in the workplace. CoSo Cloud, a cloud security company, found that e-mail is the most heavily used social tool in the workplace (88%), followed by instant messaging (47%). You can send out a weekly e-mail to the entire sales team about the week’s wins, new opportunities in the pipeline, and stories about how your product or service is helping your customers during coronavirus. You can also encourage your team to share personal tips on how they’re coping, whether it’s their favorite meditation app or the Netflix show that they’ve been binge-watching lately.
2. Adapt Your Policies to Changing Terms
Many of your customers are likely slashing budgets, so it is critical for you to show your existing customers that you’re in it for the long-run with them. Given your sales pipeline may not be as robust for the upcoming year, retention should be the main focus. Consider changing policies to enable flexible payment plans, and clearly communicate to your customers how you plan on supporting them over the next 6-12 months. Create guidelines that will empower your sales reps and customer relationship managers to bend the rules here and there to accommodate your existing customers. Be sure to celebrate sales reps who use great judgment in order to keep customers on board!
3. Highlight Positive Impact
We are all looking for stories that lift our spirits lately. Ask your sales reps to collect stories from customers on why they decide to continue with your product or service. Ask customers how your product or service has helped them through this time. These are great anecdotes that can be used to convince other customers to stay on board, or potentially convince new customers to sign up.
The CaptivateIQ Sales team remains motivated lately when we hear from customers who say that our platform has saved them hundreds of hours of remodeling revenue scenarios and sales commission scenarios as a result of the constantly changing economic landscape.
4. Focus on the Growing Markets
About 23% of businesses surveyed stated that their budgets have not been reduced, except for travel and discretionary spending. Remind your team that not all businesses are looking to make cuts right now. In fact, some businesses have improved their projections — online-based retailers, EdTech platforms, telemedicine businesses, etc. Have your sales team go through their pipeline to identify potential bright spots. Clearly communicate the need to prioritize serving existing customers and going after customers with high potential. Put the rest on hold.
5. Invest in Your Sales Team's Success
In a survey, 60% of respondents claimed that budgets were being cut from professional development. However, we feel that this is an opportune time to invest in your team and help them acquire new skills that will serve your business.
Use this opportunity to invest in your team and help them acquire new skills that will service your business.
Find professional online certification programs, workshops, or classes and encourage your teams to sign up. Studies show that people who take online classes with a buddy have a higher rate of course completion. You can also host virtual competitions for your sales teams to get them to think creatively about business problems and help them stay more engaged with and committed to your business.
Employees are leaning on business leaders now more than ever for emotional fortitude. We hope that the above tips give you some ideas on how to thrive during these uncertain times. Keep up the good fight and stay healthy!