You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Covid19 has changed the world. I've lived through many transformational changes in the world. 9/11, the fall of Lehman's but they impacted certain countries and certain verticals.  Covid19 impacts us all.

My partner an I are in our 4th week of self isolation. I have two elderly parents, that I might not meet again.  Scary times.

What Do We Need To our Sales and Marketing?

Mark Read - WPP CEO recently said ..

"With Covid19 We Are Seeing 10 Years of Innovation Compressed Into Four Weeks. The Way We Work, Fly, Communicate, Shop, Use Financial Services Will Change.”

It's true.

This is a time of a change in sales and marketing, away from "we have this great product you can use" yes I know that is feature / function and product based, but stick with me.

The tone of our brand needs to be empathetic.  You now need to lead with "what can we do to help?"  Sorry but I'm going to use the "pivot" word.  That may mean that you need to change your value proposition.  It's time to test your agility as a business.

But, but, but, the most efficient and effective way to get this message out to the market is not cold calling everybody (you don't have time), emailing everybody (you will just annoy everybody), having a conference (remember them?) or advertising (nobody looks at adverts).

So what about social media as a place to build trust?

Let's empower your staff to build trust with your prospects, customers, future employees!

First of all, we have the time.  Three months ago people would have said "I don't have time for this" now you do.  The second thing is that this is an investment so that you come out of this, fitter and stronger.  And thirdly, it will allow you to talk to the market empathetically.  You can use it to proactively prospect, but let's park that for the moment.

A CEO said to me recently that he wants to give is staff a sense of purpose while they are at home and in these difficult circumstances.  You can also get your furloughed staff to do this as well (according to the UK furlough rules anyway).

So what am I talking about?

Every person in your company (starting with sales as a pilot) need to have personal brand on social media.  If we take LinkedIn, most profiles are written to get a job.  We need all your teams to have Linkedin profiles that reflect your business, your brand and it's belief.  We also need the profiles to be authentic, that reflect the belief systems and the purpose of your team.  People buy people after all.  They don't trust spammers and they don't trust people looking for jobs.

The next thing you need is a network.  Most employees are just connected to x colleagues and recruiters.  You need to teach people to connect with prospects, future employees, current employees and customers.  The bigger the network, the more people you can influence.  Note. I'm saying a network and not contacts, there is a difference.

When you have a network you then move your content and your influence through your network into other people's networks.  This is how things go viral.  When people trust you, they will be happy to champion you, taking your content further to people who don't know you.  This will enable you to get your empathetic value proposition in front of more and more (new) people.

The next thing you need is content.  Let's not forget, people connect with people.  This is where the trust is built.  People don't trust brands, unless you are Nike. You don't have the budget for that.  This is how you can create trust organically, by empowering your people to talk authentically and empathetically online.  Now is the time, not to tell people how great your brand is (yawn) now is the time to educate, to entertain, to inspire, tell me something I don't know.

Now there will always be mistakes, but you need to build in the processes on what to do if there is a mistake.  Let's back up a second, don't forget you will have trained your team as to what is good and bad behaviour, just like you do with health and safety or inclusion.

But the biggest mistake is not being online, trying all the failed marketing practices of the past and the biggest mistake is going invisible.

Your prospects and customers are crying out for you to help them, now is the time to be empathetic, to be trust and to build that network.  This will come to an end one day and when that day is here, you will have a competitive advantage to be proud of.