Let's face it; acquiring new business is essential for any business. If you're not doing it, your competitors are, and this means you're losing market share. Right now, things are very uncertain, and chances are the strategy you put into place for sales growth this year has now been tossed out the window. So here are six tactics you can implement to generate revenue in these troubled times.
There are many ways in which you can maintain current cash flows. Check out our blog on "Financial Crisis – What Your Business Can Do" to get more specifics on what you can do to help your financial stress. One key approach is to reach out to your current customers and provide relevant information they can use to help their own businesses. Too many companies are directing their sales teams to "reach out, check-in and see what we can do to help." We love the empathy, but there is little value in those calls other than showing you care. More impactful things that can be done:
It is hard to drive revenue if you are losing revenue from current customers as fast as you are landing new ones. We call that retention issue a leaky bucket. To maintain revenue, you need to hold onto current clients.
After reaching out to all of your customers, you'll be able to identify which segments and verticals are doing well, and you'll be able to shift your sales team's effort onto similar thriving customers to maintain growth. Not all businesses are down. In fact, some industry segments are doing well and actually buying. Some examples of thriving industries are:
The food industry
In light of the outbreak, food companies and restaurants are having to make difficult decisions like shutting down operations and instituting travel bans that put them in a tight spot. However, shelf-stable foods (like grocery) are increasing. According to Nielsen, sales of such products rose dramatically in the week ending March 7 — dried beans sales went up by 63%, rice by 58%, chickpeas/garbanzos by 47%, powdered milk products by 126%, water by 42%, and canned meat by 58%.
The cleaning industry
Demand for cleaning is undoubtedly surging, especially since the scope of the pandemic became clearer into March. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cleaning services industry will have job growth of 10% through 2026, exceeding the national average growth rate for all industries.
The IT Industry
According to Statista, the data from the March 2020 forecast provided two possible scenarios for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global IT spending. In the "probable" scenario, IT spending is projected to grow by 3.7% compared to 2019.
Those are just a few thriving industries, there are plenty of others.
Your customers are experiencing weird times, their budgets and cash flow are off. Don't be tone-deaf to those needs. You can figure out a way to customize your offerings for them. Let your customers know you're listening to their needs and are willing to work with them. If you are in the professional services world, pivot your offerings to focus on helping your clients through these tough times. If you have physical products and can't change your offering, you can still make changes. Maybe that involves getting creative with more support, free shipping, helping them stock-balance or manage inventory, or special short-term terms for them – whatever can help them.
In many industries, the close rate on new opportunities is down. That probably means you need to reach out to more people, potential prospects, and networking partners to offset that decrease. Start with reaching out to your current customers and help them deal with things. This call isn't about selling; it's about nurturing the relationship. You don't want to be the salesperson that only calls to ask for more business.
Try warming up a relationship that has cooled off. Lead with a compelling, value-added conversation. You might find that decision-makers are more willing to schedule a meeting now versus a few months ago, before quarantine went into effect – but only if you are offering value in the form of advice, recommendations or information. Even if you don't secure a formal meeting, you'll still be top of mind.
Reach out to your networking partners and tell them what you're doing. Let them know that you are refining your offers. Ask what they are doing or what they have heard. You can learn a lot from them, maybe provide information, or refer their services to help your clients and vice versa. It's essential to stay top of mind with them and keep communication open.
COVID-19 is a new problem, unlike we've ever encountered before. But with every new challenge, you need to find a new way of dealing with or fixing it. Trial and error is a problem-solving technique that is used to find a solution. In this method, a salesperson will try an option based on current trends and data that has the best possible chance of success. Effectiveness is evaluated by reviewing metrics and customer engagement. If the first option doesn’t work, then try the next best option, until a good solution is found. This method is often used when there is little to no previous knowledge about a current situation. Trying something new that could potentially work versus doing the same thing that’s always been done, which no longer works, will help you drive business and generate revenue.
Adaptability ensures that salespeople and sales teams can quickly and effectively address unexpected detours. It enables a company to not only retain customers, but to also unlock potential for revenue growth. If the sales team structure is adaptive, the sales organization can react quickly to product and market changes. As the sales process changes due to different buyer behavior, salespeople must accommodate and adapt in an evolving marketplace.
It is likely that not all of these tactics are right for you and your team, however, implementing any combination of them will help you stand out from your competitor.