There are a few things that cause business owners more anxiety than uncertainty, which COVID-19 has brought in spades. Mandatory shutdowns, supply chain interruptions, and social distancing are impacting every industry differently.
What can businesses do to proactively respond to the market changes and to best adjust to the new needs? Despite the radical changes that are happening almost daily, now is the time for three important investments that most leaders have put aside due to urgent matters.
Companies can start strategizing for the future by training employees, producing digital assets, and seeking new opportunities. Don’t fight harder against changing market forces; think long-term. While companies must accept the short-term challenges and find quick solutions, they must also prepare for post-COVID-19 to make up for the losses as soon as the markets recover.
Training teams for the future
February 2020 CMO Survey results suggest that companies only spend 4.7% of their marketing budgets on training. Now is the time to invest in training. The market will not be the same post-COVID-19, and it will require critical skills that are now lacking.
For example, a medical device company located in the U.S. (with HQ in Asia) that relied on trade shows for awareness and leads was left without the opportunity to fill in the pipeline because all trade shows got canceled. They also discovered that the medical sales cycle was longer than in the commercial sector, where the company was initially very successful.
What they needed to do was implement inbound marketing that would allow medical researcher prospects to easily find information about their innovative solution and consider their product for research. It turned out that nobody in the company was familiar with inbound marketing and the organization needed a holistic training of marketing and sales in what inbound marketing was and how to properly implement it.
Changing their traditional outbound approach would mean building a new type of content, finding publishers to place it, improving their email practices, and switching from product-pushing sales messages to education-based messaging.
Build stronger sales engine combined with GTM strategies for global expansion
The innovative medical device company mentioned above relied on trade shows for lead generation—trade shows were the second-highest converting channel after inbound inquiries. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, trade shows were canceled everywhere and this channel wasn’t generating any revenue. The business switched to more email usage, without having a reliable process, email marketing know-how, and suitable professional tools, when their target list had 40% of email addresses missing.
They were receiving a small amount of response but didn’t have the right kind of expertise to build a reliable source of revenue to replace lost trade show-based streams of leads.
Seek out new opportunities
While training employees and cementing powerful sales engines, companies must innovate their go-to-market approaches and come up with the offerings for the industries and niches that are expanding quickly (telemedicine and at-home fitness, cleaning and hygiene products, for example) and also use this unique chance to launch into other markets. The opportunities can include selling goods or servicing expanding sectors.
With a strong sales engine and well-trained employees, your company will be fully ready to launch by adapting its marketing accordingly to meet new needs and opportunities during a soon-to-come period of growth to capture opportunities in the post-COVID-19 economy.