When a crisis hits, companies drop everything and react. Instead of the small decisions we make on a daily basis, we’re forced to make big decisions. Some companies kill projects, some lend a helping hand to others, and some close their doors altogether. Few are left unaffected.
After a crisis, companies begin to grow again. Some thrive while others merely recover, depending on the decisions they made during the crisis.
But how do you know which decisions will land you on the right side of the fence when this is all over? We’ll share our thoughts in this article.
If your customers have stopped buying… why are you still selling?
During a crisis, budgets get smaller, which means that the money to buy your product simply does not exist in many cases. It doesn’t matter how good your salespeople are if your prospects’ bank accounts are empty. Bad news, right? Maybe not.
What you do instead of selling determines what position you’ll be in when budgets come back to full strength. So, here are a few options that may help you stay alive, thrive, and keep off Santa’s naughty list.
4 things you can do instead of trying to sell more.
1. Offer support to your current customer
Even though your customers’ pockets are a little light, they still have problems to solve. And you still have a business to run.
While it may seem like sales have stopped, they haven’t. It’s just the sales strategy that changed - the length of your sales cycle has increased. So act accordingly.
How do you nurture a lead with a long sales cycle?
You build a relationship, offer support, invite them to relevant educational webinars about things they want to learn about right now.
2. Align and galvanize your team
If we lose our stream of new customers, we may lose our business. That’s fairly obvious. But here’s something we don’t often think about.
If we lose our superstar employees, we might lose our business just the same. If your best people work on commission and they aren’t making sales, are they going to stick around?
Find a way to keep your superstars. Take a paycut yourself as the CEO/Founder, or perhaps offer your employees reduced salaries in exchange for more equity. Whatever keeps them on board.
3. Re-focus on your product / service
Remember that redesign you’ve been wanting to tackle for months? Well, now’s your chance.
If no one’s buying, turn your attention to UX improvement and performance optimization. Start building new features that your customers have been requesting—maybe you can up sell those features down the track? Maybe they’ll earn you a new and bigger revenue stream in the long run.
Spend some time on customer service and get a better understanding of what your customers actually think about your product—you might uncover some hidden opportunities.
4. Build your brand and help with the crisis itself
Some companies choose to focus on being seen as helpers. When the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Dawn sent thousands of bottles of detergent to clean oil off birds and marine mammals—it was the perfect product, apparently. Tough on grease, yet gentle.
During COVID-19, it’s widely known that Lyft are offering free rides to first-responders, healthcare workers, and transit staff. And here’s a list of 150+ other startups who are giving back to the wider community in some way.
If you aren’t in a position to have an impact on a global scale, think local. Where can you lend a hand? It will be remembered. Brand equity isn’t easy to quantify but we know how powerful lasting images and memories are for consumers.
Instead of pushing harder, look for easier alternatives.
In times of crisis, we often resist change. Coming up with a new strategy is hard, so we do what feels easier: “Just keep pushing sales harder!”
But if you’re at the point where you’ve realized that sales won’t speed up until the economy starts growing again, maybe it’s time to look for an alternative strategy?