We are in some difficult times. With essentially the entire world on lockdown, business has been tough. We are seeing businesses freezing budget, pulling back on expenses and laying off employees in record numbers, just to keep their heads above water. All is not lost, business around the world is being conducted and people are winning new deals. It has just become more difficult. In times like these, we continuously need to remind our teams that the slowdown is not a result of their actions and that their hard work can and will eventually pay off. Our rule of thumb is you have to work two or three times as hard in order to close the same (if not less) business… No level of complaining will fix this problem—only good old fashion hard work will win the day! With that said, it takes more than simple hard work; you must also work smart. We’ve put together some quick hitting tips to help realign yourself for success:
- Work Smart – Make no mistake, there is absolutely a difference between working hard and working smart… It’s the smart workers that are more likely to win the day! – Busy Isn’t Always Productive – 10 Tips To Becoming More Productive
- Small Details Matter – Right now, business is difficult to come by and everyone is fighting for the same budgeting dollars. A great sports analogy comes to mind. Think of the Super Bowl, Word Series, NBA or NHL Finals: what differentiates the winners and losers? It typically comes down to the smallest of details that gave them the extra inch to win the day. In times like these, the difference of winning and losing business can sometimes come down to the smallest of details. – Sales Is A Numbers Game, How To Increase Sales Without Increasing Pipeline
- Take Losses Gracefully – In business, you are going to get a lot of noes… Unfortunately, during times like these, there is no denying that the amount of noes vs. yeses is going to grow exponentially. Don’t take it personally; take a loss with grace, and down the line, it will pay off… – Take A Sales Loss Gracefully
- Educate More, Sell Less – When business is taking a slump, it is only natural for management to push harder for sales. Here’s the problem: everyone is pushing harder for sales and bombarding their accounts with “buy, buy, buy” messages… This tactic not only frustrates clients but comes off desperate. Instead, find new and interesting ways to educate your clients. At the end of the day, the more educational and informative you are, the more likely clients are to stay engaged with your brand. It will make the selling process much easier when they are ready to buy. – Why Email Marketing is Broken, and How To Fix It
- Develop an Account Management Strategy – It is surprising to see how many small businesses do not have a measurable account management strategy. Now is the time to develop a proper account management strategy, as it will strengthen the overall penetration you have with your account base and will increase sales without question. – Account Management Strategy 101
- Dive In – Technically this falls in line with an account management strategy, but it needs to be emphasized. Within small businesses, we find that businesses only have one key buyer within their accounts… This is a huge mistake; not only does it put the account at risk if their primary contact leaves the business (or is laid off), but you are also missing out on the opportunity of finding additional buyers within the account. A rule of thumb is to have at a minimum of five active contacts within each account… The bigger the account, the more contacts. Some enterprise businesses could have upwards of 100+ different contacts.
- Strengthen Marketing – One of the very first items to be cut during an economic downturn is marketing… This is an incredibly huge mistake for a business to make. Now is the time to double down and strengthen your marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, during times like this, you need to work two to three times as hard to bring revenue in the door… Marketing is a key component to driving awareness and leads into the pipeline. Cutting marketing off is only going to increase the already growing gap in your business. – Marketing Performance Metrics Need to Be Just as Visible as Sales Metrics
- Evolve Product and Services – Now is not the time to hold your ground with respect to your products and services. A common theme/mistake within leadership is to think you know better than your customers and prospects, making them conform to the limitations of your products and services. The reality is, in a buyer’s market, no one is going to conform to your business. They will simply move on to the next name on their list… Let’s not forget, we are all in the same boat together, and your competition will be all too eager to accommodate those client requests to win their business. – Social Media and Online Forums, Hidden Gems of Customer Insight, Landmark Case with TripAdvisor, Makes Businesses Think Twice About Reviews & Target Uses Local Retail Stores As Virtual Warehouses
- Measure Everything – Continuous improvement is a strategy that is more important now than ever before… Establish baselines across the business and begin to measure them. Only once you start to properly measure the different aspects of the business, you can really know if the changes implemented are helping the business or not. – How To Make CRM Play A More Important Role In Your Small Business
- Break Down the Silos – Silos make everything difficult, full stop… Break down those silos within your business to ensure your team can work effectively and efficiently together. The better they can align themselves now, the better they can react to market and customer needs. – The Importance of Interdepartmental Communication in Small Businesses
- Know When to Let Go – Terminating an employee is one of the most difficult tasks we all have and quite frankly, always a last resort. However, in troubling times, now is not the time to hold on to dead weight within an organization. That dead weight can and will cost you precious time and money, and it could result in the loss of more employees, or even your business down the line. We are huge fans of doing whatever is necessary to help someone turn around, but there are just times were nothing will work. – When Terminating An Employee Is Necessary
In difficult times like these, it is important to continue down the right path and do everything that you believe is right to keep the business afloat… We are all in the same boat together, but unfortunately there are going to be some businesses that simply do not make it…
Have other tips? Share them below… If you need help, feel free to contact us any time!