The government has recently outlined the steps it intends to take for easing us out of lockdown whilst trying to avoid a deadly second wave of Covid-19. Some businesses that were previously closed have been cautiously re-starting their activities with social distancing measures in place. Meanwhile, the furlough scheme has been extended, but it appears that from August employers will need to make a contribution to the pay of furloughed employees. With this in mind, it’s important to sure up your sales pipeline in these unusual times. Here are our top tips to help you strengthen your sales pipeline, generate leads and give your business a boost as lockdown measures are slowly lifted.
Assess your existing sales pipeline
For most, if not all businesses, sales forecasts for 2020 will have changed dramatically over the past two months. Our advice is to thoroughly review and scrutinise your sales forecasts taking into account all the information currently available. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have any of your customers gone out of business since the lockdown began?
- If a customer is no longer in business, what is the impact of lost revenue to your business over the coming months?
- What industries do your customers operate in? When are they likely to get back to work?
- What capacity will your key customers be operating at when they return and how much are they likely to order from you?
- Do you have customers who may have experienced an upturn in business during the crisis? Will they need more support from you?
- Do you have new potential projects or customers in the pipeline that may begin as the lockdown eases? Will any of these anticipated projects be delayed as a result of the pandemic?
Every business and its customers will have been impacted in different ways. Whilst many companies will have experienced a big fall in sales, others may in fact have benefited from a temporary upturn. Don’t forget to speak to your customers to see how they envisage future sales rather than making assumptions – some of them may have adapted quickly during lockdown to offer their services in innovative ways.
Revise your marketing strategy
After reviewing how your sales pipeline may look over the coming months, assess if there are any overall gaps or shortfalls that need to be plugged. From this point it is possible to work out a revised marketing strategy to generate leads and ultimately new business to fill these gaps, plus the likely marketing budget and activities required to do it.
Adapt and innovate
During the crisis, the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have been showing how they can pivot their thinking, adapting products and services quickly to continue serving customers, whilst protecting employees. Businesses with processes established over many years have re-written their business models in just weeks to cope with the ‘new normal.’ With seemingly a long way to go before we can return to our normal way of life, it’s vital for businesses to continue innovating and ensuring that they meet the needs of customers at this time. Never has it been more important to ‘think outside the box’ and move quickly to ensure your business remains relevant to the needs of today.
Invest in future technologies
Whilst it may seem a long way off at the moment, life will return to something at least closely related to what we once knew relatively soon. However, it is important to recognise that the Covid-19 crisis may have prompted or accelerated some changes to business that will continue after lockdown. For example, will our shopping habits change permanently with more sales staying online, away from the high street? Will a greater number of business meetings take place online via video conferencing rather than face to face? Try to assess which measures adopted during lockdown could benefit your business afterwards too and continue to invest in them for the future.
Keep your marketing activity turned on
A major recession is predicted as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst it can be tempting to prune your marketing spend as part of a cost cutting exercise, marketing of your business during a recession is a fundamental activity to stay ahead of the competition and to keep your customers engaged. In this time more than ever before, identifying the changing needs and wants of customers, a comprehensive marketing strategy and slick, carefully crafted campaigns are crucial to stand out as businesses return from hibernation. There will be a plethora of noise as companies get back up to speed – you need to make sure that your message stands out!
At Lightning Transformations, our team has years of experience in delivering successful results orientated online and offline marketing initiatives for clients. Please contact us here for a free initial consultation to see how we can help to support your business with a flexible marketing package as the lockdown eases, without the need to increase your internal cost base.