Pivoting Your Business to Survive and Thrive Part 2:
Making Moves for Recovery and Growth
In our last blog we spoke about taking immediate action to protect against losses. Though it seems like we are a long way from a return to normalcy, an economic downturn is the best time to position your company for growth. Your small competitors will be strapped for cash and larger ones won’t be as nimble. So, while you are managing cashflow, you must at the same time, be taking action towards your recovery and return to growth.
Unless you are in essential services, the only way you can drive revenue now is either online or over the phone through telesales. And the chances are that your customers will continue that behavior long after we are all allowed back on the streets.
Follow that trend. Make sure that you have a strong e-commerce strategy in place that ties in directly to your order management, inventory system and CRM. Review what services you can take orders for and fulfill online. There are also many industry-specific marketplaces to take advantage of; apps/marketplaces like Vivino are revolutionizing the wine market.
Review your third-party channels. By going direct to the consumer through e-commerce (whether B2B or B2C), you control your own destiny rather than your channel partners.
Your breakthrough out of the downturn is going to be by having a better product, service and brand. Do your market research. Open a dialog with your best customers and have frank conversations about what they love about your products and services, what they don’t and what’s missing. Not only will you identify ways in which you can improve your offerings, you may also save your company because you’ll identify the reasons why your customers may leave you.
Your customers are likely to be in the same boat as you and feeling the pain of the meltdown. Begin communicating with them more frequently than you are doing today. Tell them that you are still in business and are available to help in any way possible, then make sure you do. Our previous blog post “Keeping Your Customers Engaged When You Can’t be Face-to-Face” offers some additional insights on communications planning.
Increase loyalty by introducing/reintroducing customer loyalty programs with special offers, discounts and free shipping. Make sure that offers you make are genuinely for existing customers only.
Look hard at your products and services offerings and package up custom offers with special pricing or terms that will help your customers to increase sales and reduce costs. They will remember you well when it comes time to buy again and recommend you to their colleagues.
Look for any way you can to improve your sales team’s efficiency. If you can increase average selling price, or conversion rate with a more relevant pricing and packaging strategy, or different placement or sales techniques, you will bring in more revenue sooner and you won’t need to land as many customers in a given period.
Use your CRM to track sales stages to find out where prospects are falling through the cracks and plug them with best practices created by your best salespeople. See our recent blog “Turbocharge Your CRM with Sales Playbooks” to learn more.
In a downturn, everyone must perform at 100%. You must create a culture of “failure is not an option.” Overcommunicate your mission, vision, what you are doing and why you are doing it. Put in writing clear, measurable goals for everyone, but be fair and reforecast and adjust targets to be realistic. Finally, be the cheerleader and encourage bonding throughout the company. Those everyone-working-from-home pub quizzes or staff virtual house tours go a long way on a Friday afternoon.
This meltdown will likely be one of the biggest challenges we will ever face; it’s easy to want to bury your head in the sand. But the only way to build an iconic company is to turn and face the storm, to be pragmatic, objective and creative. This crisis will end. You can survive and you can come out ahead of your competition. Where you end up is up to you.
At Sparkstone, we can help you drive commerce in the new economy through integrated e-commerce, CRM, retail, inventory control and order management solutions. We invite you to explore our website to learn more.
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