Objectives and Strategies
Your long-term objectives have probably stayed the same – increase market share, successfully announce new products, increase your recurring revenue or client retention. But it is highly unlikely that your short-term tactics can remain constant. Now you need to remind people:
- You are still in business
- You can ship or deliver and are responsive to customer needs
- You are concerned about the safety of your employees and/or of your product or service
- Of any changes that might affect them
Start by Touching Base With Present Customers
Even the lightest touch goes a long way. Be a friend first. Consider opening simply with the fact that you are still in business, that you care about them, and ask how it’s going? If they are in the mood to talk, be prepared to listen. In other words, don’t make these calls five minutes before you have another meeting.
Try and glean how you can best help your customer:
- Do they need different servicing from you?
- Do they need shipping direct to their customers?
- Are they experiencing bandwidth or personnel issues?
- Are there certain vertical markets, or products, or services that are no longer relevant for them?
- Are there markets that were perhaps peripheral before, but they believe are critical now?
Take notes along the way. Even if you don’t have an idea how your business can help them now, you might be able to in the future.
Finish with some good news: a new project you are starting, a recent effort that was successful, how you are keeping your business going, or even an article you’d like to send them – something you found insightful and helpful.
Reach Out to Partners
Teams are going to be stronger than individual small businesses though this economic uncertainty. If you’ve had partners previously, it’s time to call them again: is there a joint, targeted campaign you can develop that would be alluring to each other’s customers? Is there a series of campaigns? What materials do you need to compile to launch a successful campaign? Be sure to discuss how both parties’ advertising offers through each others' CRM will be tracked, as well as who is collecting the data, and how that data will be shared.
If you haven’t had any partners previously, it’s a great time to shop for some! Look for a business that:
- Has complementary services or products to your own
- Size-wise is at or above your fighting weight as a business
- Has solid data and solid organizational skills
- Has not partnered previously with your competition
Pro Tip: someone with a successful webinar series and audience has a built-in distribution network for any joint marketing campaigns you might develop.
The circumstances created by the pandemic are challenging, but a silver lining is that for once you have time, right now, to take a 30,000-foot view of your business. You can call your customers, you can call partners, uninterrupted by the meetings, commutes, and constant interruptions that are part of the normal interference that goes on at the office. In the golden silence of your home, talking to your customers and partners becomes a joint thought leadership session on how to innovate. Embrace it.