The global tech market growth will drop to 3% in 2020 and 2021, according to the Forrester IT spending forecast. And it could drop even more if we go into a full-fledged recession.
Almost 50% of CFOs expect to reduce IT costs by canceling less-critical projects.
With this level of disruption in the software market, sales teams are forced to rethink their strategies to create positive cash flow. And this rapid change can lead to difficulty and uncertainty for salespeople.
This is the exact reason why I wrote this article — to help every IT sales specialist increase revenue and find economic stability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, here are the five things you can do to outmaneuver economic uncertainty:
Disclaimer: I give my personal warranty to the first five readers who implement these tips. If you don’t see any growth in your salary or commission within the next three months and nothing changes, please send me a PM, I’ll buy you lunch.
1. Reach Out to Ex-Customers
Many sales specialists neglect a very important segment of prospects when rolling out their marketing plan — past clients.
This category of buyers can be a valuable source of business because they know you and probably already like you. They also understand your offerings and the value you provide.
But before getting ex-customers back in the fold, you have to re-engage them.
So, what’s the key to reengagement? How can you lure them back for more business?
Here’s an actionable six-step strategy:
1. Create a list.
Sort through your database, and put together a list of all past clients you’d like to re-engage.
2. Contact them directly through email.
This is important to reestablish your personal relationship with the prospect. Ideally, you should record a two-minute video and attach it to the email.
3. Be thankful.
Recognize, appreciate, and thank every inactive customer for past patronage
4. Be genuine.
Express genuine concern for their well-being. Ask how they’re doing during the pandemic.
5. Remind them of the benefits of working together.
Recall your previous experience, citing your unique selling proposition and how they benefited.
6. Build a long term relationship.
Keep in touch with the customer to build long-term loyalty.
The key to reengagement is to focus on the value you provide to your client.
For instance, you can create a problem-solving app or service to help them during the COVID-19 crisis. And include a limited time offer as a token of appreciation.
You can also conduct industry research and provide actionable insights to help your client pull through this crisis.
Demonstrating your ability to protect customers in times of adversity is the key to winning them and closing more deals.
2. Review Your ICP
Companies are finding ways to minimize their operational expenses in order to stay running right now. This includes temporarily suspending some IT services that aren’t critical for business survival.
This means your normal ICP may not be looking for your service anymore, but that doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity.
Because the same change that made your normal clients abandon your service may create a new group of consumers that are desperately looking for your services.
Updating your ICP can help you identify these low hanging fruits.
From here, you can start figuring out the most effective way of serving them. Ideally, identifying what triggers the target personas to take action or make purchases.
The bottom line is this. Think about the relevancy of your ICP and how you can adjust in this tough period.
3. Update Your Messaging
As you review your brand’s value proposition, it is important to review your messaging.
Your outreach efforts should focus on humanizing your brand by understanding your customer. You need to focus on improving your communication as well as your content.
A good practice is to use audio and video content to enhance communication in your emails or LinkedIn messages. They provide a unique and valuable way of delivering valuable messages that evoke reactions.
When creating your messages, ensure they are actionable and easy to understand. Every message should have a unique call to action. Your target audience will appreciate an empathetic message they can easily put to use, not just the typical faux empathetic statements they see flooding the web.
One more thing. Avoid using an aggressive tone in your message or email copy. For instance, asking the prospect or customer, “Have you read my previous email?” sounds unfriendly.
Don’t do it.
Instead, take your time to understand their concerns and what they might need from you. It’s a difficult time. Don’t make it harder for them.
4. Choose Your Battles
Good employers are putting a decisive, coordinated, and timely response plan in place to minimize the damage to employees. But what happens if your employer does nothing to improve the situation?
The choice is yours.
You can choose to sit back and hope things will get better. Or you can choose to take advantage of the situation and pursue a different strategy.
As a rule of thumb, do not let the government, your employer, or the stock market determine your financial security.
Take control of your future by doing everything it takes to achieve your goals.
The pandemic might bring the biggest opportunity in your lifetime.
If your employer operates in an industry that is crumbling due to the pandemic, consider looking for a new opportunity rather than risk losing your job when the company is down on its knees.
There are lots of opportunities in consumer-focused firms, especially those providing remote collaboration, support, cloud computing, e-learning, and other on-demand services that are essential during the pandemic.
If I were you, I’d commit myself to do everything I can to surround myself with people, information, and ideas that would help me grow and achieve financial freedom. That way, if you need to look for a new opportunity, you’re prepared.
5. Sell by Teaching
One of the best ways to succeed online is creating value by sharing what you know. Success follows value. So think about creating a high-value marketing plan that not only supports your current sales but the rest of your future.
There are many ways you can teach others on an ongoing basis. So, don’t worry, this isn’t rocket science.
- Starting a blog post that offers helpful advice on what your target audience should do during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Creating a YouTube channel where you share valuable information
- Interviewing real experts, or running a focus group
- Running a virtual event, or a Q&A platform, that helps you understand the concerns of your customer base.
- Creating a COVID-19 Resource Center that consolidates all this information in a single shareable URL
Once the crisis is over, you can shift whatever strategy you go with into an evergreen content hub.
If you haven’t built or strengthened your personal or corporate brand, this is the time to step up. Many people in the world need your thought leadership.
I’ll quote one Derek Sivers quote that states, “What’s obvious to you is amazing to others.”
So, even if you have a small audience and don’t feel like you have a lot to add, start blogging, creating videos, and podcasting. Someone out there may need your knowledge.
You’ll not only help others but also benefit in the process.
Sharing your knowledge like this sets you up as an expert, which makes you look good when looking for a new job. But more importantly, it builds your network and helps you create long-lasting relationships that keep you afloat in hard times and rocket you to the top in better ones.
Over to You
Every time the world changes, the rules for making sales change. So, grabbing the controls and bending them to your advantage is the key to conquering this economic slowdown.
Finally, don’t forget to prepare for the post coronavirus crisis. The pandemic won’t last forever (even if it may feel that way), and the salespeople who prepare today will be the ones on top when this is all over.
Stay strong, adapt to change, and you’ll come out of this stronger than ever before, ready to thrive in a post-COVID world.