HOW TO NAVIGATE THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FOR BUSINESSES.
Every business needs to approach this economic crisis with empathy and urgency. Our primary concern should be the health and safety of our team members, their families, and the people we serve.
We know everyone's circumstances are different, and if you have suggestions for how we can better support you, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our partners will read every message you send.
We promise to hear every idea and listen to every concern as we continually look for ways to help us all carefully navigate this situation with empathy.
Below we have shared a few strategies that have been successful for businesses in our community over the past few weeks.
Focus on solving for your customers first.
Your first priority should be showing your customers that they are a priority. Your second should be looking for ways to help them navigate this same crisis.
You'll win favor and loyalty by showing them that you're putting their needs first. Focus on how to deliver your services virtually.
Show empathy for any customers that can't continue to pay for your services. They will remember how gracious or insensitive you are during this time.
How you communicate and handle your customers now will determine if they stick with you now or return later.
Care for your employees.
Look for creative ways to keep staff working. We've been pushing clients to implement remote work for years. Before, it was to make employment more attractive, but now it's a necessity.
- Can you implement tools like Google Hangouts, Slack, Zoom, HubSpot, Soapbox, and Vidyard?
- Are employees willing to move into different job roles to help or work more flexible hours?
- Can they move into a revenue-producing position?
We recommend that you are very transparent with your team if layoffs are on the table. You should consider bringing them in to brainstorm ideas that may help them stay at work longer.
Including them in trying to find a solution will go a long way in showing that you do care for your employees.
Sell what helps people make and save money.
In times of economic crisis, businesses focus down on one thing, money. You should focus on selling solutions that either help companies make money or solutions that save them money. To add to that, it needs to make or save them money fast. Most companies don't have three months to wait for you to spin up your solution.
A few ways to think about this is to sell them solutions that help them increase sales, creates sales, or multiplies sales.
Tools like Zoom are helping companies create sales by utilizing video meetings to talk with prospects and clients.
HubSpot's free CRM, marketing, and service tools are allowing companies to increase and multiply sales by helping align the marketing, sales, and service team.
HubSpot CRM provides marketing sales and service access to the same contact data, which allows for an easier handoff between marketing and sales and upselling and cross-selling between service and sales teams.
Zoom allows you to stay connected while HubSpot helps companies close deals faster. Both companies heavily contribute to assisting companies in selling during this time.
SaaSand Tech companies should make it a priority to highlight how their solution helps their clients make or save money.
Making videos should be your new best friend.
Video marketing was already a big deal last year. It's even more critical to your business now. Tech and Saas companies should be producing videos almost daily.
We all know that people buy from people they trust. People trust people they like. It takes building a relationship with people to get them to like you. You need to connect. The fastest and easiest way to connect is through video.
A considerable part of your SaaS marketing strategy should be using video. Not just to demo your software, but to show your company culture.
Consider creating the following videos to help connect with your audience:
- Team Videos - record videos of your team meetings discussing how to solve for your customers. Post them in your blogs and on social media. Posting behind the scenes video is a great way to be transparent and build trust with your customers and prospects.
- Team Bios - do video bios of your team members. Make it fun and post them on social media. Allow your team to show their unique personalities is an excellent way for prospects to connect with your team members.
- Software Updates - make videos to announce updates to your solutions, pricing, special offers, and changes that are happening.
- Client Testimonials - an "oldie but goody." Creating video testimonials allows existing clients to hear directly from a third party how your solution helps.
- Product and Feature Spotlights - Make videos that go over the benefits of your products or a specific feature of a product you offer. Dive into the pain point that it solves for today. Share who it helps most.
- Video Presentations - create sales videos, yes sales videos for your products. During times like this, it's even more critical to provide the content people want when they want it. Create a sales video also creates measurable consistency in your sales process. If you use tools like Vidyard or Wistia alongside HubSpot, you'll know if your video is converting or hurting your sales pipeline.
- Video Use-Cases - create videos that show different use cases for your product. You can show how it works for a particular industry or focus on a specific feature of your software. Providing Use-cases help prospects better how your solution can help them. Video use cases can also help cross-sell and upsell existing customers.
- Facebook Lives - connect with your audience regularly to keep them informed with your business from week to week. Facebook Live is a great way to reach your followers. Try to do it at the same time. Imagine if your favorite TV show changed timeslots every week, that would be frustrating (you're probably not their favorite show, so...).
Implement Systems and Automate everything you can, literally everything.
The bottom line is this will save you time and money while positioning you to continue to scale your business. You want everything to be predictable and repeatable in your company.
Remove or systemize as many custom services as possible. I'll give you an example of something that we've done in our business.
Over the 20 years that we've been in business, we've built hundreds of websites. For every site we make, we sketch out a sitemap. We started saving sitemaps that commonly came across our desk.
Eventually, we started noticing that every website had a few of the same pages, no matter their industry. Instead of starting from scratch, we developed a sitemap template that we could easily add pages to or remove them if needed.
Using this method saves us hours on every project, allowing us to pass some savings along to clients and increase our profitability as well.
What tasks are you doing over and over that could be made into a template? Could you automate that template or task using any software?
It's worth taking some time to consider.
Evaluate every expense.
Look over every expense that your business has. In some cases, many people will need to get rid of every cost that is not critical to running their business daily.
For others, they may only need to eliminate expenses for tools and services that they have not used in the past quarter or year.
We make it a practice to audit our software every year. We cancel every service that we didn't use in the past year, then move into the last six months, and finally the previous quarter.
During this crisis, businesses should evaluate software, tools, and services every month to ensure they are not wasting dollars.
It's not the time to be wasteful and carefree.
Take every dollar that you save from cutting and reducing expenses and invest them back into your marketing budget.
Now is not the time to hold on to your dollars and hope for the best. It's time to take action and do all that you can to ensure your business survives.
It's not like me to lean on fear when writing, but the truth is that these times are uncertain. What is certain is that marketing is the amplifier and multiplier of ever business.
Don't throw your dollars, but carefully choose where to spend them. My advice is to invest in what can increase sales the fastest for your business. I know that's hard to hear coming from a marketing person, but right now, growing sales is the second most crucial thing right behind taking care of your customers.
If you decide to hold onto your money, we both know that it has a limited amount of time before it runs out. Don't forget these two quotes:
- "It takes money to make money."
- "No one ever got rich from saving money."
Take control. Reallocate those funds to grow your sales now.
Look for the opportunities.
There are plenty of opportunities. You simply need to look at things a little differently than before.
Start by considering which industries are doing well. The companies in these industries are still selling; this means that they are likely still open and buying from vendors and partners. Can you partner with them?
Then consider the companies that closed. What gaps have they left that you can serve?
For example, a local auto repair shop owner needs to stay open to ensure that his employees can take care of their families. He notices that several other local shops are closing.
He realizes that there is an opportunity here. He grabs his phone and does a Facebook live to explain what he's doing to stay open during this time safely.
He lists out and walks them through the following process using Facebook live:
- Touchless drop-offs. You can park your car, drop your keys in the dropbox, and call to discuss your vehicle.
- Our Sanitization process. Every employee wears a mask and gloves when getting in and out of your car. The Interior seats get lined, and every contact surface is wiped down and cleaned between each person.
- Car Keys. All keys are sanitized and kept in a plastic bag, between uses, until the customers pick up their vehicles. Keys are individually left on a table outside the door in the plastic bag when the customer arrives. They sanitize the table between each pickup.
- Complimentary touchless car wash. If desired, they offer a free touchless car wash for the exterior of the car and will spray down the interior with quick-drying sanitizer before customer pickup.
Finally, the shop owner adds these details to his website and Google Business.
He then runs a small local campaign in a 25-mile radius to let his community know that he's still open to help while their usual mechanic is not available. He offers a discount to show his empathy towards the current crisis.
Another example is the local Doctors office. She typically works with her employees in their office, where they also meet patients. With the state and federal limitations on gathering, she has to reduce the number of people in the office.
She decides to close the office altogether and have her entire team work remotely. Meeting with employees and clients is very easy to do with services like Zoom with HIPPA compliance.
She was able to keep the majority of her appointments and expand her practices throughout the state. She could consider expanding more if she had licenses in other states.
Spend more time selling.
Let's get this out of the way. IT IS OKAY TO SELL DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC.
The reality is people depend on you to sell now more than ever. Your family. Your employees and their families. Your customers and their families are all depending on you to sell. They all need your help.
Now is not the time to slow down. It's time to pick it up a bit. No one is saying jack your prices up. Be fair, be helpful.
So, now that you know you have permission to sell stop wasting time on activities that don't help you make a profit. Focus on profit-producing activities.
Trim down on activities that just keep you busy. Focus on two things; selling and product delivery. In case you didn't know, both of those require excellent customer service, follow up and follow through. Work longer hours to get everything done if you must, but increase the time that you spend on sales.
I can't say it enough, now is the time to increase sales activity. Fewer people are buying, but more people urgently need your help.
Give them a hand, a virtual one that is.
Take action now
Don't wait, don't ponder. Move now! Business success requires swift decision making on an ordinary day. These are not ordinary days.
Consistently implementing these strategies will not only put you in a position to sustain your business but continue business growth as well.