I've lived through a number of recessions that have hit the business world, but nothing like this.
The dot com bust, 9/11, Lehman's going down all hit different countries, different markets and different sectors. There has been hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, again terrible acts of nature, but they have hit a certain country, region or town. While they may have been global in nature, it didn't require ALL of us to stay in our homes. Covid19 is impacting all of us, every country, every market sector and everybody.
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.”
These are unprecedented times.
Many companies need to a temporary change to their business model, how temporary we don't know. The key thing is we don't cannibalize our existing clients. This requires us to change our operating model for 3 or 6 or 12 months depending on your worldview. Some people think we may have some level of normality in a few weeks. I suspect that we won't be able to fly or go to conferences until there is a vaccine, which could be 6, 12 or 18 months away.
Once we have a plan what do we do next?
The first thing you need to do is communicate any changes to your employees and then communicate to your customers. How much do you communicate?
If anything, if you don't feel like you are over communicating then you probably are not communicating enough. There is always somebody that will miss your email, webinar, so keep communicating.
Social Media is the obvious place for you to communicate to your team and your customers. After all, now is not the time for corporate communication, this is the time for one to one communication. People to people.
Your brand tone should be empathy and one of helping.
Now is the Time to Empower Your Team with Social
We recommend that now is the time to empower your team to be on social. They need to have personal brands, they need to be taught how to grow their networks and they need to be empowered to show people that they are the experts people are looking for. They do this with content.
The best way to do this is by using a methodology. Don't use a "masterclass". This isn't about an exchange of facts, this is about getting a mindset change and habit change in your team. This is a "new normal" so you need new skills for this.
Should We Take on Clients From Companies That Have Gone Bust?
As a business you should be take care on taking on new business from companies that have gone down. These customers maybe "zombie" customers. It is the time to say that you are happy to help customers out, but you might not want to enter into long term contracts.
What do you need for your business right now?
1. Create an Ideal customer criteria / brand ladder.
2. Work out how to re-deploy salespeople as well as their compensation and quota.
3. As a business you should have a 90 day "go enough" model and segment your customers, week by week and month by month.
4. Now is the time to invest in talent. People are unlikely to leave you right now, but you might have a mass exodus, once things pick up. Investing in the skills of your team, for example digital skills, like social selling. This will give them a sense of purpose, they have the time to do something like this right now and you are giving them a life skill.
You should also look at the talent that is out there right now. This is the time to pick up available talent, so you have an A+ team when we exit from this.
5. Now is the time to develop brand equity, and you do this by empowering your team online and get them to build networks across social. As I mentioned above, you need to do this in a non spammy, programatic way. This requires a social selling methodology and not a day masterclass.
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While businesses world-wide have been grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, few industries have been seeing a surge in demand. Among those who have an opportunity to thrive are industrial markets like transportation and logistics. While market leaders have the potential to increase revenue and enter new verticals, this is not without added risks.