The Coronavirus impact has been severe and abrupt. While the virus will not last forever there will be long-lasting and significant changes on how we do business for many years to come. The things we have done to get us here are not likely going to be the things that will help us succeed going forward,
So how do we navigate in this “new normal”? Here are 5 business rules and guidelines that you can adopt that will help you and your business succeed now and for the foreseeable future.
#1 – Help Not Hype – Let’s face it, no one really liked “hype-based marketing” even before COVID 19 was in our vocabulary. But now and likely going forward it just won’t be tolerated at all. Rather, marketing in the COVID era (and the future of marketing) is all about providing help, insights and guidance to your prospects and customers that will inherently build demand for your products and services while at the same time building trust for you and your brand. Now is a good time to focus on clarifying your message and working out how to precisely communicate your “story” as to how your product and/or service helps solve a specific problem for your prospects and customers. Eliminate confusing terminology or “marketing speak” from your web site and marketing collateral. I personally am a fan of Donald Miller’s StoryBrand BrandScript as a tool for helping you get your story straight and transitioning your marketing messaging from “hype to help.”
#2 – Every Lead Matters – Back in the “good old days” (February 2020) it always seemed like there was an abundance of sales leads from trade shows, conferences, web site leads and other sources. However, if a sales lead was not “super hot” and pretty much ready to buy right now it was often castaway, wasted and labelled a “bad lead.” My co-founder at LeadSmart, Kevin Brown even did a video on this situation a few months and challenged whether there is such a thing as a “bad lead.” While of course there are leads that are totally not qualified, we have found that many of the leads that were castaway as “bad leads” were in fact really good prospects that just needed more “development” and “nurturing” to become “sales ready.” All of the sudden sales leads have suddenly become quite a bit more scarce, so now is the time to really look at your marketing and sales processes and how you go about developing early stage leads into opportunities. By investing in your “lead development” processes (and related technologies) you will be in a position to get more sales and more revenue from your lead generation efforts now and even more so as business picks up again and leads become more abundant again.
#3 – Your Customer is your Best Friend – We are often surprised as our LeadSmart customers discover how much profit their existing customers provide to their business. It is also surprising to see how little is invested to build relationships with existing customers or to build products/services that can be marketed to an existing customer base. Well, now more than ever, your customers have to be your best friend. Why? Leads are more scarce (see point #2 above) and your customers have already made a decision to invest in your products or services and they already trust (or at least like) you. And, they have additional problems or situations that your business can most likely help with right now. Take the time now to really get to know your customer, their problems, their situations and work out how you and your business can be their best friend. We have discovered over the last couple of weeks that our customers are more than happy to have these conversations, actually have the time to have these conversations (being stuck at home) and are excited to work with us to come up with new products or services they can take advantage of.
#4 – Team Up – The potential power of business partnerships has been known and discussed forever, but let’s face it, most partnerships seldom come together and work out as we had planned or hoped. There are a lot of reasons why building successful partnerships can be difficult which I will save for another article. But here is the good news – businesses (even larger businesses that you thought would never give you the time of day) are looking to really invest in partnerships with innovative and knowledgeable companies that can add real value in the “new normal.” We have seen the volume and quality of our LeadSmart partnership conversations significantly increase recently and the speed of follow up actions really accelerating (which is one of the keys to making a partnership work). Look for and take advantage of partnership opportunities that complement and strengthen your product or service, that can help you reach new markets or customers, or can help you get more leads and sales. On the flip side, be sure to demonstrate how you can do the same for your partner. Finally, there is nothing that solidifies a partnership more than doing a real deal together, so look for mutual opportunities where you can successfully work together with a real prospect or customer and you will likely have a great partner for many years to come.
#5 – Know your Numbers – Yes, you have heard this before but here in the “new normal” it is important to have access to and be able to simply evaluate more comprehensive metrics than just traditional sales and business metrics. When we implement LeadSmart with a new customer we always monitor and track 3 categories of numbers:
1) Result Metrics – These are the more traditional metrics that represent what results and outcomes you are trying to achieve in your business such # of new customers, sales revenue, etc.
2) Velocity Metrics – These are metrics that track how fast your desired results and outcomes are being achieved and can spotlight what stages of your processes are moving fast and what stages are not moving so fast. For example, how fast are you able to successfully turn a sales lead into a customer and what are the factors that influence that velocity? Velocity metrics are now more critical than ever as we all need to do more with less – and faster.
3) Predictive Metrics – These are forward-looking metrics that can help provide insights and some level of prediction on what may take place in the future by analyzing today’s data and numbers. Spotlighting the types of customers would will be most likely to buy more of your products or services or knowing which lead sources are likely to produce the best customers would be simple examples of Predictive metrics. This is certainly an evolving area but now is the time to identify several key Predictive metrics that you believe could really drive your business forward in the coming months.
We will be unpacking each of these 5 areas in much more detail in future articles and videos. We will also be providing information on specific techniques, tools and technologies that you can utilize to incorporate these guidelines into your business so that you are able to navigate and expand in this “new normal” era.
Questions? Thoughts? Share below in the comments — love to get feedback and your ideas on what you are finding are successful actions in the “new normal.”
Tom Burton is the co-founder of LeadSmart Technologies and has successfully navigated and lived through a few economic downturns over his 35 year business career.
Tom is currently spearheading efforts at LeadSmart to launch several new products and services designed specifically to help businesses grow and compete in this “new normal” era. Tom (along with LeadSmart’s other co-founders) are also working “hands on” with LeadSmart prospects and customers to help in any way possible with any and all business challenges that arise during this COVID era.