Every crisis of global proportions always takes its toll on the economy and decimates startups, SMBs, and enterprises equally.
While it’s true that we currently witness bouts of panic buying and wiping out shelves with paper towels and food, B2B sales have suffered a slew of canceled events, unclosed deals, and missed opportunities.
The latest pandemic, COVID-19, has put a massive number of people all around the world in isolation or prompted them to practice social distancing. In case of the B2B industry, this self-Imposed quarantine means that there are no face-to-face appointments, one of the most important strategies for building relationships and loyalty with potential clients.
As the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity sets in and gets the better of us, fewer clients are willing to finalize deals in order to reduce their spending.
However, although we have to observe and analyze the way consumers behave under these new circumstances, we should make extra effort to keep our businesses going until we’re out of the woods.
Here are some tips to help you deal with these issues and keep your B2B sales strong during the coronavirus crisis.
Keep Your Cool
This is a general piece of advice, regardless of what kind of problem you’re facing.
Panicking and obsessing about how you’re doomed and how your business will fold within weeks won’t get you very far. It will only prevent you from finding a solution and spotting an opportunity when it shows up.
The thing is that this will be a very busy time for B2B sales reps and professionals because they’ll have to keep a close eye on the market, identify the demand, and adapt to the latest changes.
We still have no idea for how long this crisis will last, and that’s why it’s crucial to leave our fears aside and start preparing for what will come when everything goes back to normal.
Besides, as entrepreneurs, we need to find a way to continue doing business with each other in order to build loyalty with our existing and prospective customers, allow our employees to earn their livelihoods, and keep the money flowing.
It’s our responsibility to care for our teams, customers, and communities, and do everything in our power to overcome these challenges.
And that can be done only if we’re calm and collected.
Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario
Having said that, it’s essential to take off your rose-colored spectacles and come to terms with the idea that things will get tough.
Check your numbers and monitor your analytics closely so that you can take additional steps to cut any unnecessary expenses.
This isn’t a pessimistic attitude, but a commonsensical one.
By realizing that your profit will very likely go south and that you won’t be able to hit your numbers, you’ll be able to plan how to stay afloat in times like these. Get ready for some unexpected objections and learn how to prepare for the worst-case sales scenarios.
Change Your Mindset
We’ve already mentioned the importance of face-to-face meetings in the world of B2B sales.
And now that in-person prospecting and networking have been put on hold, it’s only logical to find another way around and get in touch with your clients through the channels they currently use.
This means that you’ll have to compete for their attention with their coworkers, partners, clients, and an avalanche of notifications that they receive if they work from home.
Still, cold outreach is the safest and most effective prospecting and lead generation strategy at the moment.
But, this approach holds many challenges, not to mention that many salespeople are reluctant to take advantage of it.
To help you understand how to make it work, we’ve put together an e-book packed with different resources on the effective cold email outreach.
Of course, if you have an opportunity to finalize a big deal at a full price, do it.
But the point is that you shouldn’t focus on hefty, big deals only.
If you can close a client willing to purchase a smaller subscription plan that initially negotiated, don’t hesitate and try to persuade them to go the whole nine yards.
Act quickly and take what you can. The situation changes on an hour-to-hour basis, so this bird-in-hand approach is what you should stick to.
I know that most salespeople don’t like this way of doing business, but these are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures.
Maintain Your Cash Flow
Having a steady cash flow should be your top priority.
And in line with our previous tip, it would be a good idea to give a solid discount to your potential customers who are willing to purchase an annual plan in advance. Just think about it as of an investment that will help your business make it through this lengthy rough patch.
Offering premium features within a regular plan is another way of encouraging your existing customers to extent their subscription and those who consider making a purchase to do it now and get a great deal.
It’s not the same, but when we were just starting out, we offered a huge discount on a popular software platform and acquired tons of customers as well as traffic.
The moral of the story is that people are always on the lookout for discounts, and it’s the same during the crisis times.
Another important point – make as many pre-paid deals as possible. That way, you’ll avoid cancellations.
Make a New Plan
It’s obvious that your quarterly or six-month plan won’t be of too much use.
Given that the situation is constantly fluctuating, it’s best not to make a mistake of creating another long-term plan, that will be rendered useless in a matter of weeks or even days.
Instead of that, create weekly plans that can be easily altered so that they can keep pace with the latest developments.
Keep the Lines of Communication With Your Customers Open
Your customers and prospects are upset and worried about their own and the health of their businesses too.
That’s why you should stay in touch with them and let them know that you’re willing to help them. It’s a great way to build trust and loyalty. Besides, showing empathy is one of the most important traits of great salespeople.
For example, we decided to offer free sales coaching to small business owners and sales team leads that need help. Our experienced sales experts will dedicate a couple of hours every week to talk about growth and sales.
Do what’s in your power to show your customers that you’re in the same boat, as well as to nurture reliability and consistency during these hard times.