People are buying differently now, during the pandemic, than they were before. You probably know that already, but something you may not have realized is that people will buy differently post-pandemic as well.
The landscape is shifting, making business as usual anything but that.
Pre-quarantine pitches and campaigns won’t appeal to prospects who are cost-sensitive and hesitant to buy. Buying journeys have changed. And more and more people are embracing online transactions and virtual business.
Instead of waiting on a return-to-normal, we all need to adapt. And if we hope to keep our pipelines full, we need to start making changes now. Today, we’ll look at six Do’s and Don’ts of post-pandemic sales pipeline management.
An Inside Look at Navigating the New Landscape
No industry or business escaped the effects of the global pandemic.
At Sapper Consulting, we’ve had to dig deep to get ourselves on the right track. We audited expenses and examined which costs would help us through this crisis and which we could forgo. We took a strict look at the marketing budget, and we cut anything that wasn’t directly impacting revenue.
The nice-to-have vendors, apps, and tools that weren’t generating revenue were cut or paused, and we reallocated that spend towards things that were impacting lead generation.
We modeled the many ways the pandemic could play out to better prepare and mitigate our risks.
For instance, we considered what would happen if the stay-at-home policy was lifted.
Would our business resume at normal levels? Could we satisfy our customers’ needs if it did? Would we have the bandwidth to accommodate new clients, or would we be overloaded?
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By envisioning every potential scenario, we came up with a flexible sales funnel that could effectively deal with the uncertainty and change of the near future. Even if we have to make revisions to our marketing and selling processes, we’re satisfied that we haven’t left many (if any) stones unturned.
How to Build a Flexible Post-Pandemic pipeline
Here are the six do’s and don’ts that guide our funnel and give us the flexibility to respond to any change.
Do: Update your messaging
You don’t have to upend your entire marketing strategy as you prepare for the return of normalcy.
However, you do need to change the tone of your content to reflect the times.
Nike is a good example of a corporation that quickly responded to the need for change. Not only did they pledge no less than $15 million to address problems associated with COVID-19, but its marketing copy took a socially conscientious turn by encouraging people to “play inside.”
Remember: People are seeking information. They want to feel safe. Everything you share needs to be positioned to acknowledge everyone’s uncertainty.
Everything your company says to buyers should make them feel supported and understood.
Don’t: Ignore the power of language, words, and context
Language is powerful. Choosing your words wisely can pay off in goodwill and positive feedback. Be cautious when pushing out any messages to your audience, whether they’re email drip campaigns or standard Facebook posts.
Note that some language simply doesn’t apply to the current climate.
For example, words like “killer” and phrases like “to die for” are insensitive to the death toll of the coronavirus, and “viral” and “contagious” should be reserved for health content only.
Avoid words that could be potentially harmful, and keep in mind that just because something doesn’t bother you, doesn’t mean it’s ok. Have as many different kinds of people read your messaging as possible before you send it out to make sure you’re not going to create a PR nightmare for yourself.
Do: Continue marketing
Sure, you may want to cut back on your marketing budget, and that could make fiscal sense. But don’t hinder your own results in the long term by stopping it altogether.
Most marketing initiatives require time (and financial fuel) to gain traction, which means you’ll need a bit of runway to see results. Saving a few dollars now by completely halting marketing will hurt you down the line.
Not sure how to operate on a significantly reduced budget?
Consider the power of organic marketing, particularly on social media. Now is a terrific time to build your following, connect with consumers and business partners, reshare articles, and stay visible.
Make consistent LinkedIn contributions to increase credibility and awareness; it will help you maintain your brand’s presence without eating up a large portion of your resources.
Don’t: Forget about SEO
As part of your Sales and Marketing overhaul, be aware that you may need to alter your SEO strategy.
For instance, the relevant search keywords that people used before COVID-19 might not connect to their buying intent or behaviors anymore.
How do you know if your older SEO efforts aren’t working?
Check your analytics. See which pages performed well in early 2020 and compare them to today. Then decide if this is a temporary or long-term reaction. You may not need to make any changes, but it’s good to know how you’re performing.
Do: Double your efforts
Selling is difficult right now, but many companies and industries are thriving. That should give you a surge of hope.
Find prospects you can genuinely help and who have the resources to invest in your services or products. Getting their attention might require additional effort, but now is the time to pull out all the stops.
Working hard now can help you meet your marketing and sales goals for the rest of the year. And if you can legitimately help that company reach their goals in a hard time, that will win you loyal customers and powerful case studies.
Don’t: Submit to burnout
If revising your operations seems to take up all your time, give yourself and your team a break. Don’t add to the stress and anxiety your employees are already likely dealing with.
Encourage everyone to focus on productivity within healthy boundaries, and meet with your direct reports regularly to ensure they’re not overexerting themselves.
Be sure to follow the same advice. Monitor your moods and energy levels, and resist the urge to work 24/7.
Plan For The Future
Now is the time to update your sales and marketing pipeline. If you’re banking on a widespread return to in-person meetings and conferences, you’re putting yourself and your business at risk.
By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be ready to regain the ground you’ve lost as we move towards a post-coronavirus world.
I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. History proves that companies who double-down on marketing during tough economies always come out on top. Great article.