In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the business climate has been disrupted in an unprecedented manner. There have been a number of reactions to the disruptions. Some of the more common in B2B I am witnessing are that leadership and employees alike are taking a reduction in pay and hours, with others turning to furloughs or layoffs to manage cash flow constraints. There just is not the same level of work to be done for most parties. Customers are home, and there is less access to buyers for “selling time.”
Right when disruption hit, most of us took a pause to assess the situation and get our footing. We paid attention to our loved ones and households, and we looked to world leaders to see where this was headed next. In reality, there was limited clarity, only projections and caution as we waited out what we hope is the worst health crisis we will witness in our lifetimes.
Yet, even amidst these unsettling and uncertain times, we know the situation will not last forever. The day is coming (and for some has already come) when it is announced over the news that conditions worldwide are safer, social distancing guidelines can ease and businesses are re-opening. And in the aftermath, true organizational leaders will stand out in the marketplace for how they respond to the “Revenue Rebound”, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
How they manage to do so depends heavily on the actions they have taken in the midst of the uncertainty to prepare for the rebound ahead. While some freeze with reduced sales-cycle activity, true leadership is leveraging this time to prepare to serve their customers for the other side of the pandemic.
Prepare for Outward Shifts
Our business environments will likely not go back to how they were before coronavirus plagued the world. The future is always different from the present, even without a major disruptor and catalyst for change. From this pandemic in fact, many organizations have uncovered new and urgent needs. These are issues like supply chain volatility, virtual workforces and talent alignment that have shown their weakness in times of strain.
Similar to coming out of the 2008/2009 recession, we can expect buyers to look for ways to gain even more control of the buying journey. Then, they were able to shift the buying journey from relying exclusively (or primarily) on salespeople as the gatekeeper of vital solution information to demanding salespeople provide specific and deep value, while buyers perform solution research on their own through digital methods and with more readily accessible peer communities. This trend likely will be intensified in the coming weeks and months as sellers seek out ways to support customers with even greater value and specific conversations centered around their pains post-shutdown, slowdown or disruption.
Your buyers will have new pains which you must be ready to help them overcome. What will the shift be in your industry? How are you responding? The leaders of the Revenue Rebound are predicting what those pains will be — and how their solutions and value messaging strategy can address them.
Look Inward for Strategic Action
While your sales cycles have significantly slowed down or altogether stalled, proactive investments in your business and team set you up for better and quicker success once cycles fully restart — especially in the event you are still retaining your team.
Leadership that intelligently forecasts the future market pulse and environment is better situated to make internal preparations to align with their buyers. This means building out differentiated value messaging specific to the buying needs for the journey ahead, and then enabling front-line sellers and sales managers with new and effective playbooks, playsheets and sales tools accordingly. But these tools alone will not make an impact on your selling power. The last and vital link requires training your salespeople with this messaging and tools. Do not just hand over the keys to the car; teach your people how to drive first.
Today’s virtual communications platforms make this undertaking more feasible in a remote work environment. While in-person remains the epitome of engagement and effectiveness, there are options that allow for engaged virtual sessions, seamless break-aways into sub-groups, role-play exercises and more. With people’s calendars clearer, it is easier to schedule. And, by splitting workshops and training into smaller chunks rather than all-day ordeals, you avoid the multitasking that has so often prevailed for the audience’s attention behind the screen.
Seek to Serve — and You Will Win
The worst thing a seller can do now and in the post-COVID-19 future is to pretend everything is the same, that none of this happened. This situation demands a response. There is no denying it.
If you do not lead your industry forward with compelling and crisp messaging specific to the aftermath of these devastating times, your competition very well may beat you to it, while you are forced to play catch-up in their wake.
Now is the time to strategize how you go-to-market, how you deploy products, how you supply solutions, how you manufacture, how you Seek to Serve, Not to Sell™. Your business has been impacted by the pandemic — as has your buyers’ — and as such everything must shift, refresh, renew.
There is no better time than now to prove your value to your buyers, whether here or now — or preparing to serve them in the future.
How are you going to lead the charge? Embrace the “Revenue Rebound.”