The coronavirus affects all types of businesses, from the travel industry to global supply chains. The share price has entered an enormously volatile period, network events have been canceled as well as seminars. Travel restrictions are imposed and these have a major impact on business trips and meetings. Thanks to the corona virus, first Italy, then Spain and now France were also placed in a “lockdown”.
In these times of crisis, when the news is full of shocking headlines, it is a priority to stay calm and remember that there are still many things that we do have in our hands and that we can also make a difference in. Just as we learn to deal with the virus in everyday life by taking extra precautions – such as washing your hands often, disinfecting frequently touched objects (such as door handles, smartphones and keyboards), and being careful about coughing and sneezing – we can also obtain different strategies that a sales team can use to contain the impact of the corona virus on your company.
Maintaining sales during the corona virus
Stock up new leads now
Just as some people stock up on toilet paper in case of quarantine, you also need to stock up on prospects. Better do this now than later. Put extra time, effort and resources into prospecting and lead generation now, even while you’re at it. Even if you are not in an industry that has so far felt an impact from the virus, times are uncertain and there is always a chance that this outbreak could lead to greater economic damage. By ensuring a backup of leads and prospects you are prepared. Even if COVID-19 turns out to be a short-term panic, or it is just a lot worse than you currently think, it is never a bad idea to invest extra in a well-stocked pipeline.
Rethink your solutions
Of course it depends on what kind of B2B solutions you offer, your prospects may already have significant pain points and concerns about the corona virus. Take time to discover the key benefits of your products and services that may be of use to your potential customers during these times. Can you think of extras in your product or service that can help your customers get through this crisis? Or to help them make certain adjustments or extras to resolve any concerns?
For example, we at AlphaLeads specialize in online findability. So making a company easier to find on Google for their potential new customers through SEO / SEA. Restaurants have to close due to the current crisis and focus on take-away in order to generate some turnover. Where can we help? By now focusing even harder on these services and making them easier to find for their customers. Consider, for example, how you would look up yourself if you still want to enjoy your pistolet on a Sunday morning but cannot leave the house.
You do not immediately know which merchants in your own region offer this service, so you search for “breakfast package at home region Herentals”. Our services make this trader easier to find for his potential new customers, which can certainly come in handy in these times. We think along with the current challenges our customers face and apply our services to this – ensuring that merchants become more visible to their potential customers with their new range of services!
Many other companies have to cancel travel plans because of the precautions that make large gatherings such as seminars no longer possible. Now when you sell a virtual event platform or collaboration software, this can be a great opportunity to show your prospects that the most important conversations can continue, even if face-2-face meetings are currently not possible. And so they can discover the value of your platform.
The same outlets of your product that were already relevant to the crisis may still work, but you may need to tweak the sales pitch a bit to get your solution aligned with the most pressing concerns. It may be that a number of pain points arise such as …
- Concerns about possible coronavisus malfunctions in their business
- Adapt to the new travel restrictions or virus related closures in their delivery
- Looking for solutions to their collaborations with foreign employees
- Improving cloud security or business insurance to prevent potential threats
Are there points that you can relate to, based on your customers and industry? If so, there are potential benefits that show how your solutions can help both during the corona crisis and when things are going back to normal.
Be creative in your sales presentation and process
The corona virus is taking a toll on many companies’ travel and face-2-face meetings. That means online presentations are more important than ever. Start by putting your sales pitch in a completely online format. Be prepared to do your pitch online more often than in person.
This will likely require changes to your current sales journey. You may be used to meeting face-to-face like us, but an appointment may not be an option for a longer period of time until this crisis subsides.
Be willing to think creatively and “out-of-the-box” and keep your sales moving forward by doing things you never thought you would by getting out of your old boat, think of things like …
- Taking your customer on a virtual tour of your company with facetime or skype.
- Conduct an extensive product demo that also includes the technical team who normally do not appear on the screen.
- Use a video about your product or service in action, discuss how it works via conference call while watching the video together.
- Obviously ask for references from customers you support in these difficult times.
Think creatively, use different means. Look for communication tools to keep in touch with your customers, Whatsapp is a good example for that if you want to make it a bit more informal. Slack might be better if you work with larger companies.
Don't panic, stay productive!
Avoid panic and do not think that we will not all get out of here. Continue your sales process from start to finish, make contacts that you can contact after the crisis. And be sure to keep your focus and don’t let your head hang. Anything you don’t do now should be done when the crisis is over (or diminished).
We also feel an impact in our agenda, but that gives us the opportunity to prepare for the new quarter. By finalizing our planning and doing the things we have been postponing for some time.
In fact, who knows, you might come up with a watertight idea that gives the sales for your company a second pipeline that you can develop further even after the crisis, and this in turn provides an extra flow of turnover.
Deals can linger in the pipeline longer than usual. But make sure to keep it warm and keep checking in. Some companies will hold on to investments until the uncertainty disappears, stay tuned and from the first signs that the crisis is diminishing, you can quickly recoup losses that have been incurred.