Have you ever imagined that the world would virtually stop for a week, several weeks, or even a month? I sure didn’t.
Experts say that the best way to curtail the spread of the current coronavirus outbreak is social distancing - staying away from other people to avoid catching or spreading a virus.
To prevent the spread of the virus, business travel is limited or even eliminated. People are working work from home, and industry events are canceled daily. Our world has changed in a matter of weeks, and it will take a while for it to go back to normal. It may even become our new normal.
The virus has already made a global economic impact. Experts believe it will have a ripple effect that will likely affect business for the remainder of 2020. It is how you respond to the challenge that will either make or break your year.
So, what can you do to mitigate the impact on your business?
Businesses are turning to technology. Working from home due to coronavirus concerns will likely be a short-term solution; however, it could raise acceptance of remote work, which has been increasing as technology improves and companies open offices around the world. Red Javelin embraced telework 19 years ago, and we have refined our business processes to make it work for our team. That is just one of the reasons why we have been able to keep our prices competitive.
Many companies have already moved at least some of their marketing and sales processes online, leveraging digital technology to keep in touch with customers and prospects at each stage of the buying journey.
Others, have not embraced a digital marketing and sales model, and continue to rely on conferences and tradeshows as the primary method of lead generation as well as on face-to-face sales meetings. We find this to be prevalent in manufacturing and industrial companies. It is these companies that will likely feel the business impact of the coronavirus the most.
1. Add Video Conferencing
If your sales team typically visits prospects, they may not be able to do that over the next ninety days. Sign up for a video service such as Zoom or Uberconference that enables your sales team to meet prospects and customers virtually using video conferencing.
2. Pivot from Event Cancellations
Most firms attend a few industry events each year and plan to generate leads from that event. Chances are the event will be canceled or postponed, or attendance will be down. Don’t give up.
Now is the time to launch a webinar series combined with a thought leadership program. With the right webinars series, you may reach more prospects than at an event. Prospects will turn their research efforts online and will still want information.
3. Refresh Thought Leadership
Thought leadership programs combine a number of tactics to raise visibility in the industry. Look at your current story and see if it needs to be refreshed. Combine that with an omni-channel campaign, that includes PR, email automation, blogging, social media, paid social, and a webinar series and you will be able to connect with prospects.
4. Develop New Content
More research will move online, so keep your content fresh. Start a blog if you don’t have one or publish more if you do have one. Consider developing premium content such as ebooks, guides, and videos to continue to educate your target personas.
5. Consider Online Chat
It’s time to move beyond bots and take a serious look at online chat. It is a quick way to engage prospects and customers while everyone is working remotely.
6. Add Explainer Videos
An explainer video grabs the viewer’s attention with one to two minutes of content explaining a product, business or idea. It answers basic questions, rather than requiring your audience to read content on your website. Explainer videos are easy to share and have proven to increase conversions.
7. Move Demos and Tours Online
If part of your sales process is tour, demo, or is a complex solution where prospects want to see products in person, then move all of these online. There are many solutions available today from 3D-modeling to virtual tour software.
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking, Now is the perfect time to develop digital programs that are aligned with your prospects’ business challenges. You may find even small changes to your sales and marketing processes reap big ROI.
We have seen that companies that market through a recession rebound faster and more aggressively than those companies that cut marketing. There is so much viable technology at our fingertips. Companies that move at least some of their sales and marketing online now while others hunker down will emerge with dynamic, highly competitive and customer-centric business that grows when we embrace our new normal.