With uncertainty running rife across markets, it’s time to ditch strategy as you know it – because there’s no way it’s going to work in the new normal.
One thing is for sure. Things are not going to be the same again, not for a long, long time. The sooner we accept that, the faster we can work toward adapting to it – and the better we’ll recover from the nightmare that’s been plaguing us for way too long already.
Here are our picks of 4 strategies for beyond Covid.
1. Take care of your people.
Yes, we’ve said it a million times already. But we cannot say it enough. And people extend to beyond just your employees. They include everyone – your customers and partners, too. These are the guys who’ll not only see you through the crisis, but who’ll share your joy on the other side of it – not to mention give you the wings to fly beyond where you were before.
Once you’ve made sure that everyone’s alright for now, it’s time to start working toward the future. Sure, you need to start getting the revenue in, but you can’t do it the old way anymore. Circumstances have changed far too much, and with them, people. The new way forward to gaining revenue is asking yourself this – “What more can my business/ products/ services do to help in these times?”
Once you start thinking along these lines, you’ll start asking more relevant questions. These include:
- How can we overcome travel restrictions?
- What if customers are facing cashflow issues?
- Are supply disruptions posing a challenge to my customers?
Your job now is to find out in how many ways you can re-position your offerings to help customers deal with the crisis at hand. For instance, if you’re selling software, can you, besides working with existing customers to come up with friendlier payment terms, offer it for free for a limited period to new customers to help the community? Perhaps you can also roll out consultancy and support services for free during the crisis. If you’re in any service that uses large fleets of people, such as drivers or delivery agents, maybe you could consider partnering with companies struggling to cope with unprecedented orders – and help out with delivery of essential goods.
Your willingness to step in and help out will be noticed, and will be rewarded with something much better than money. You’ll earn trust – something that will be remembered way beyond the crisis.
2. Resist the urge to focus on the present.
No matter how hard it seems right now, this, too, shall pass. And when it does, you don’t want to run smack into a wall because you’ve been too busy paying attention to where you’re stepping to spare the time to look up.
While crises have a way of scaring people into focusing on the here and now, every one of them traverses a trajectory before it bows out. First, there’s the panic, followed by acceptance. Then there’s adaptation, and finally, recovery. Each stage leads to the next only through learning, and an unrelenting effort to push ahead. If you thought conversions were hard earlier, they’ll be a million times harder now.
But unless you walk that trajectory, and fast at that, you’ll get stuck in laggy, outdated, and inadequate internal processes, forever working in hindsight rather than proactively making way for a sunny day. So, look at the present circumstances, use them as a foundation to project the future, and do everything you can today to be prepared for what you see coming. Review effort daily, and reprioritize regularly. The best example here is how nearly all educational institutions are transitioning to online mediums as we speak to minimize learning disruptions and get moving before things get ahead of them.
3. Shift to new sales channels.
As country after country went into lockdown over the past couple of months, face-to-face meetings were the first to go out the window.
People no longer want to be within a barge pole’s length of one another, and this isn’t likely to change for a while to come. According to the Guardian, physical distancing may need to be enforced as required till maybe even 2022! Imagine that. With the critical personal element gone, sales can suffer unless you replicate the engagement online. Over time, the demand will slowly start taking care of itself – but you need to be ready to cater to it. So, if for any reason you don’t have an online presence yet, now’s the time to create one.
Social selling is also a great idea in these times (we’d obviously think always, but that’s another discussion). It not only affords you the opportunity to effectively engage customers and foster long-term relationships, but also powers up your reach beyond your imagination.
No matter what you opt for, make sure that you maintain a personal touch in your relationships as you move ahead, or you’ll find that you’ll be forgotten and replaced in the long run.
4. Brace yourself for recharged buyer sentiment.
All said and done, the best approach to the current situation is to listen to what your grandma told you – prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Crises are strange things. While they suck the light out of you at their worst, they also ignite a fire that burns brighter than anything you ever knew. Human beings are just resilient that way. So, brace yourself for a hell of lot of pent-up demand as soon as we’re in the green.
Now is not the time to defer all long-term investments, as is the common knee-jerk reaction during crises. Now is in fact the time to rethink spend, and siphon off savings from WFH and other newly discovered pockets toward more strategic long-term goals. For that matter, keep those leads you built warm, and continue to foster and reassure them – so that when the sun shines again, they’ll make a beeline straight for you. No matter how hard the urge, refuse to cut back excessively on money and effort today, or you’ll be left helpless to cope when demand rebounds – which it will, and maybe sooner than we think.
The trick is to give the crisis just the right importance.
No less, and definitely no more. If you just take a moment to regroup and calmly analyze the circumstances – both present and potential – you’ll see that there’s plenty you can do to leverage new as well as old (previously unnoticed) opportunities, so that you can bounce back that much stronger from one of the most debilitating crises to have affected us yet. Old virus, mutant cousin, or brand spanking new.