Simply put, there are four core areas sales, marketing and leadership have had to shift:
1) Optimizing the message: We are now in a period where we can actually read the minds of our buyers. When the market is on an up-swing, our customers and prospects may be focused on a whole host of things. However, during a period of uncertainty and the resulting downturn, every customer, buyer and human being is essentially thinking about the same things: extending their runway on the essentials, minimizing risk, and eliminating discretionary spend. Your messaging has to match up. In other words, messaging developed during an economic up-swing will not work during a downturn.
2) Optimizing the buying journey: None of the individuals we sell to were in their roles during the last downturn. Many weren’t even in the workforce yet. If consensus selling was hard during the fruitful times, it just got a lot harder - as it has for the buyers as well. And now, your buyers are remote, too! They can no longer just walk down the hallway to gain consensus. Are you helping them buy differently in this new world? Never has it been more important to make your positioning stand-out, your buying journey as friction-less as possible, and your implementation more seamless. There are ways to optimize each and every step of the buying journey, including how you prospect, position, present, provide references, deliver proposals, negotiate and deliver contracts.
3) Maintaining pricing integrity: As mentioned above, every executive's priority right now is extending their runway. They will still renew, they will still buy, but it will be focused on the essentials. And when they do renew or buy, they will be coming at vendors harder and stronger. Your existing customers will be asking for help on the price. Your prospects will be expecting you to discount aggressively. You can’t just give it away. Believe it or not, your customers and buyers are more willing to trade terms for dollars now. There has never been a more important time to have a simple, easy to implement framework for how you present, propose and negotiate pricing. There has never been a more important time to ensure you're also maintaining trust, and making this part of the buying journey as effortless as possible, too.
4) Maximizing team engagement: Everyone around you is in a constant state of looking over their shoulder right now. Is the worst behind us? Is the worst yet to come? They’re seeing their peers or co-workers laid off. They’re seeing their pipelines dry up. Fear is contagious...but so is confidence. How to keep the team a team? Your LinkedIn timeline is probably filled with tips for managing in this new reality along with this new remote work environment. How do you pull it all together into a checklist or a framework - to ensure you are maintaining and growing your team’s intrinsic motivation to perform?
As you may have noticed in-line, I've included links to webinars, articles I've written previously (either on my blog or in different magazines) or videos to help you think through these.
Am I missing anything? Chime in below in the comments. If you think it's right on, want to quote it or share it, please do. The whole goal is to help and share.
And by the way, I've had to totally shift my business, too. If you need inspiration, need an outside voice, looking to maximize your team's consistent execution to these items or feel like you don't quite have a handle on it, these are the programs I'm teaching virtually now.
Thank you, be safe, and reach out any time! firstname.lastname@example.org
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