Most business development professionals are growing weary of hearing “things are on hold” or “our budgets have been frozen.” Those positions don’t bode well for meeting sales and revenue goals. COVID-19 took all of us by surprise and companies are still struggling to understand how to recover. One thing is clear: we cannot simply wait it out. What is the key to business survival in this current environment? The answer is positioning and priming yourself for growth, regardless of how it looks right now. Here’s how to do it.
Three Steps to Continued Growth
- Research and consistently communicate with your clients and prospects to better understand their current challenges. One of the best ways to understand the struggles of your prospects is to communicate directly with them. Whether you are calling, emailing, surveying or reaching out via social media, find out what is keeping them up at night. Expand your knowledge of their industry and personalize your approach for better results. Ed Calnan, founder and CRO of Seismic, states in a podcast with Vengreso, “If you’re not delivering a personalized interaction at every touch, you’re going to lose, it’s just that simple. There’s so much noise in the world today, especially as buyers.” To break through the noise, directly address known pain points and provide viable solutions.
- Prepare to pivot and plan accordingly…with a written strategy. No matter what, your business approach will change during these times. Whether you need to modify your mission statement, create new services or identify a new target market, some adjustments, even transformations, will allow you to focus on growth. Use the information gathered from prospects and clients to understand how and why to adjust to their needs and priorities. Dina Wolfman Baker, director of marketing at Cambridge Systematics, began utilizing a “Think Forward” approach at the early onset of the pandemic to help drive positive COVID-19 recovery. Baker and Cambridge Systematics specifically understood the necessity of change in the new normal. “It requires that we turn on a dime to rethink and reintroduce how we bring our expertise to our clients,” Baker says. “We are taking risks, in some cases launching early and iterating after, because the need is too great to hold back.”
Learning how to turn on a dime, as Baker puts it, and create a plan to implement essential changes throughout the organization, is critical. A pivot requires flexibility, agility, innovation and an unwavering goal to provide viable solutions to your prospects and customers. As you plan, make sure the new direction is shared and understood throughout the company. Keep in mind that written plans are not cast in stone. They provide direction but need to be reviewed, revised and updated as marketplace demands shift.
- Make consistent and frequent communications a corporate priority. Many companies worry about overextending their budgets in a time of projected recession. However, this economy doesn’t mean organizations should hold back and halt their marketing outreach. In fact, the opposite is true. The only way to remain competitive is to remain visible and showcase credibility through customer-centric content and shared thought leadership. In times of recession, buyers become more interested in learning about companies and their products and services to feel certain they are making the right purchase. According to a survey by Avionos, U.S. B2B buyers concerned about a recession focused on vendors providing better resources. Roughly a third said they would need more quality and accurate information about what they are buying. Also, 23 percent of respondents noted they would need to have more confidence in the purchases they are making. Content marketing, such as bylined articles, blogs, white papers, eBooks, case studies and testimonials, allows organizations to demonstrate their expertise and credibility, while supporting the value of their products and services. Distribute content through the appropriate channels. These include social media, industry magazines and journals, contributed blogs and your own website. Doing so ensures thought leadership remains visible and reaches the right target markets.
Adapting to Change
No matter the size, budget or success of your organization, major change is difficult. It’s important to stay marketplace-relevant by using known data to build and maintain an adaptable strategy. Stay in close and consistent contact with your current clients to bolster client relationships and create new ones. Most of all, ensure your focus is on growth and take it one step at a time.