Stronger boat, bigger sail
A combination of COVID-19 and government policy will put many firms under. But not you. While others are unable to adapt quickly enough, you're determined, aware that a new strategy can deliver protection at least, competitive growth even. Calmer waters aren't near yet, so change is the only game in town. Over the last few weeks, we've excoriated the most and least conventional playbooks, blogs, expert and journalistic wisdom, and looked in every nook and cranny of our own business, to cohere a new approach. We share the energy of that here: commercial ideas for a more robust ship with bigger sails.
Jump to latest business optimism on COVID-19 (Last update: Mon 30 Mar, 2020)
Our COVID-19 Package
- Precision Support. You may be challenged, either in sales, operations or supply chain. With adaptive video and visual prospecting, you can laser-target the important audiences and change their behaviour.
- Choice. Select the right services from our 4-part menu of recovery tools - strategy, sales, PR and marketing.
- Value. We're offering sizable enterprise discounts on our work for you. Ask about tailoring your package.
A) Think and Act Strategically
- Choose the right strategy. Plot your position on this matrix, based on your demand and ability to supply.
- Migrate: swiftly research adjacent sectors and industries with similar profiles to your pre-COVID-19 market. Sift and filter the optimal ones. Messaging tip: Develop propositions appropriate for these new markets - you may have to adapt your messaging, pricing and online access for this. Start outreach with prospecting as fast as possible. Ask about social video and new market visual prospecting.
- Promote: consider adjusting your selling prices and negotiating lower cost of resource if possible. Prepare for things to get competitive. Messaging tip: Develop value and pricing propositions appropriate for these potentially greater competitive forces - you may have to adapt your messaging, pricing and online access for this. Start outreach with prospecting as fast as possible. Ask about social, attraction, persuasion and convincing videos.
- Blitz: shift the emphasis to production and delivery, introduce faster sales closure and onboarding processes and make sales and production as efficient as possible. Messaging tip: Consider managing client expectation with onboarding, how-to-use and benefit videos, to relieve pressure on sales and account teams. Ask about recruitment video and supplier prospecting
- Hold: check in with all your clients, ask them if there's anything extra you can do to help, even though their demand is stable - perhaps this is a good time for extra sell-through services. Whatever fortifies the relationships. You could also try to win similar clients here. Messaging tip: Develop clear and reassuring messaging and increase its reach and visibility. Ask about explainer, persuasion, nurturing and closure videos.
- Overtime: prepare to work longer hours and to find ways of increasing productivity. The mismatch between demand and supply will need leadership, motivation and recognition. Extra food and celebration in the office. Messaging tip: Develop messages of expectation management, and demonstrate how much harder you're working to prioritise clients needs. Phone cam footage can add great touches of heroism and commitment. Ask about onboarding and how-to videos.
- Hibernate: quickly move to a winter state, skeleton staff, focus on programmes for after the recovery, like new services, new markets, a relaunch, a new website. Messaging tip: Clarify your hibernation to customers, staff, suppliers and partners. Reassure them that normal service will resume soon. Ask about hibernation and relaunch communications and website rebuilds.
- Recruit: focus on finding and recruiting new resources to able to supply your steady or rising demand. Messaging tip: Compete hard for resources - offer benefits, reach resources directly and fast, deliver a professional look. Ask about recruitment video and supplier prospecting.
- Boost your value proposition. Time to dust off the proposition statement and question it in all aspects. Is it serving you in this present moment? Are you doing exactly what it says on the tin? Is it enough? The value proposition statement captures the value of what you offer over any other company. It’s the reason a client should choose you instead of competitors. What can you do, that they cannot? It goes deeper too, into the problems you solve, the benefits you offer and the reasons a client should work with you. It is one of the most important conversion factors. We run an excellent quarter-day online workshop which delivers an incisive report, which can drop scales from the eyes, and bring a serious in-COVID-19 business refresh. Ask about our proposition workshop.
- Act with incomplete information. Because it’s a novel virus, there is a lot we don’t know about COVID-19. Although we are learning more every day, we don’t know how we, our loved ones, our communities, or the world will ultimately fare. Choose your sources of economic information wisely - speculative information may be much more useful than historic. We have - and continue to gather - strategic market intelligence which may well help with your COVID-19 strategy. The very act of taking action on what we do know, can be empowering. Further, our technology captures rich behavioral and opinion data, which helps you act with knowledge and greater certainty. Ask about our latest market and audience insights.
- Consider new niches, new markets even. Your existing clients may be in financial difficulties and fall away. Identifying new, more stable audiences because of their long-term business strategies, can really set you on your way. Especially if they're in non-seasonal and major industries, like infrastructure, energy, heavy engineering for example. We can do the heavy lifting here with a visual prospecting campaign - that's targeting, list-building, imagery, video, copy, canvassing, tracking, analytics, learnings and much more. Ask about our visual prospecting services.
- Build resiliency through action. When you cultivate a bias to act in the presence of fear and uncertainty, it helps considerably. Action builds resilience because it needs courage. And that in turn makes you feel better. But also because it calms you - by focusing your mind on trying new ways. There's a fine list of sales resiliency techniques at SalesForce.com and a list of personal resilience techniques at the American Psychological Association.
B) Cross-sell, and sell differently
- Sell brilliantly from home. The advantage of selling from home is that you control the environment, not your board, boss, team needs, nor convention. So get your home office, kitchen, attic or dining room onto a war footing. Take the paintings down, put up a paper sales Kanban board. Call lists, call and email targets. Charts and hand-drawn graphs. An A4 Conan the Barbarian print out from Google Images. Anything if it motivates.
- Create an Online Pitch Deck. Maybe mostly of all, you're concerned about the denial of sales meetings. Many are. But it's easy to convert your sales pitches into beautiful online sales pitches, with tip-top design great narrative and video. And if you don't have the means in-house, we're here to help. Ask us about converting, structuring, designing, writing, and remotely filming the best online pitch deck your prospects have ever seen. Get in touch about online pitches.
- Don't over-react on email. Become a voice of calm, enterprise and continued trading.
- Reassure clients and prospects. You're open for business. Act like it, and appear visibly like it. Continue to use social media, to communicate with your clients about continuity, precautions and upholding good corporate and human citizenship. Be sure to talk about it in a positive way.
- Be respectful and lead. COVID-19 isn't medically or commercially funny, so try to avoid humour. Even about hand-washing. Empathy is the right tone to strike. Your tone will help you lead.
- Don't feed the machine. Discourage your team from re-post messages about panic buying or fake news. Or worse still, stories about sales tanking or clients leaving. It's unhelpful, and makes you mediocre. Rise above the panic.
- Seek out positive facts. Social media loves its fake news and fearful statistics. But find the positive facts among the noise, and use them to motivate or help your clients make it through this difficult time. Understand your clients’ state of mind and their readiness to consume any brand advertising. Our favourite facts at the time of writing are the McKinsey paper on COVID-19 for business.
C) PR - focus on jobs, continuity and bounce-back
- Create a positive near-future narrative. Take an hour with a colleague to plot out a vivid description of your bounceback - its beginnings, its development, its eventual full-throttle effect. Which clients will return first. How fast you're going to be in servicing them. Which new prospects will enquire. What the mailbox will look like. Go for detail. Then one more hour to envisage the pathway, the milestones towards it. Share it with your team. Embellish it with personal detail. John works a 12 hour day. Ruby takes her first tube train in 7 weeks. Encourage the team to make it theirs. Let this become your constantly evolving blueprint.
- Answer some big questions. How have we adapted? How could we adapt more? How will COVID-19 change us for the good? How could we become more socially or environmentally responsible? Prep your answers, and film them, or turn them into articles for LinkedIn, Medium or your blog. Where will you head after the bounceback? Who will we partner with in the future? Which incredible stories of heroism or loss can nourish our new inspired selves? To facilitate this kind of thinking, you could run a 30-minute research competition - everyone downs tools and researches the answers on Google. Person with the best answers wins.
- Explain how you've protected jobs. Create 750 words or a video on how you've preserved jobs, whether through investment, persistence or gardening leave. Explain why it's important, how you hope it will help the firm and the economy. Explain how you've helped people who have to be in the office to adapt to stay safe. Filing cabinets between desks. Home-made sandwich menu.
- Publicise your bounceback plan. Generate 750 words on your vision for bounceback, how you've worked it out, how you're ready to improve it as events unfold, and why it's relevant to clients and other businesses. We all look for thought leadership in times of uncertainty. But this time, there is no path to follow. You can be the path. And being first in your field to set out a way forward is reassuring to clients, generous to the industry and helpful to the economy. What are you waiting for?
- Explain how your service is preserved or improved. Create 750 words and film the story of how you've extended your core service and how that benefits clients. Break it down into chunks relevant to their buyers, their users, their decision makers, and perosnalise ot for their roles. Ask us about developing these this kind of PR.
D) Improve Your Website and Social Profiles
- Reveal more of yourselves for web and social. If your current video is a little so-so, you can make a modernising change - bring your visibility into today's world. We recognise that your experience of video may be less than you had hoped for and we want you to know that we're here for you, waiting to add layers of competitive and persuasive power to your PR, marketing and sales teams. We do that with a high-tech blend of adaptive video, in a wide range of formats to give interaction, choice and control to your viewers. Our adaptive video marketing converts more B2B prospects at every stage of the PR, marketing and sales cycle. Book a quick online demo of our PR, marketing and sales video services.
- Significantly improve your web copy A warm, actionable voice can engage your audience. Our expert wordsmiths create punchy, clear and compelling content that clearly distinguishes you from your competitors, showing that you are articulate and insightful, and understand your audience. Ask us about top-end copy.
- Refresh your website. Maybe you haven't had time to overhaul your website lately, so now is the time to consider an update. We can help redesign your website to reflect your company and people. Did you know that 50% of a B2B buying decision is emotionally motivated? Let your audience see the emotional you: how you understand their needs, how you inspire trust and confidence with your track record and how optimistic you are about the post Covid future. Ask about website refreshes.
Business News on COVID-19
- 26 Mar 2020 Light at the end of the Tunnel (Visual Capitalist)
- 26 Mar 2020 Bounceback may be vigorous (The Guardian)
- 25 Mar 2020 Bounce-back is about speed (WARC)
- 23 Mar 2020 Cybercrime risk climbs (Business Continuity Institute)
- 19 Mar 2020 Covid-19 demoted from High Consequence status (HCID) (UK Government)
- 15 Mar 2020 Marked Chinese economic recovery (BCG Henderson Institute)
- 10 Mar 2020 Chinese business recovery strategies (Harvard Business Review)