New sales will be slow as organizations review their cash flow and reallocate budgets based on their new environment. I am posting three short blog posts on how to grow revenue in this environment.
Part 1 -What to do with current clients
Part 2- How to close outstanding business
Part 3- Future opportunity for growth
In part 1, I suggested the best way to utilize unused current contract value with your clients. In part 2, I reviewed the steps to secure or move forward outstanding business. In part 3, I will discuss how to build your pipeline during this time.
After watching the Tiger King, I am shutting down my consulting business and getting into big cats. Even though I have kids to feed, it seems like a smart financial investment. For those daring enough to continue, I offer some insights.
To capitalize on future business, we need to understand the environment for CFO’s. A few weeks ago, in two different virtual meetings, 30 CFOs from large global companies discussed one of the most disconcerting aspects of the crisis from their perspectives as CFOs. A CFO, by definition, must be focused on precise details. – It is the inability to make forecasts and predictions with any level of certainty given the unprecedented nature of a massive global economic halt making their jobs most difficult. The conversations of the CFOs moved beyond the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis to more forward-looking topics, such as how to predict changing of the consumer and how to forecast financials and provide guidance with a high degree of confidence.
As a salesperson you may wonder “what should I do?” Think like Gretzky when he said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” The question is, where will your new clients be?
As an example, in the same meeting, a CFO from a global beverage company shared restaurants and pub sales have dropped drastically. They also noted drinking at home is up dramatically. In fact, one online delivery service in the US reported a 500+% increase.
Since people are shopping less, they are ordering larger quantities and better-quality products. We all know online is a staple of our economy, but what is surging now is delivery. Home delivery doubled its capacity in five weeks. Plus, consumers are buying established brands rather than craft or smaller names because of a perception of safe manufacturing.
While I do not recommend jumping onto fads, but we can see that certain aspects of the sales process are growing. For example, at home working services like Zoom, collaboration tools, and teleconferencing hardware are all seeing an increased need, and those are products that will continue to be in need after the pandemic ends. Your goal is not to build your regular pipeline, but to find the opportunities for today, look at what part of the market will grow, and start making inroads.
The questions to ask to start this process are standard.
- Who is benefiting from the current situation?
- What needs do they have?
- How does my product solve the need?
- What value can I bring them?
- When should I contact them? – (this answer is always NOW)
The sale will feel more difficult since the progression is unknown. Therefore, your visibility into the process, as well as the positioning and the type of buyer may need adjustment. If you look at the z graph for sales development, this falls in quad 3, so still difficult, but not impossible. This quad shows you have established best practices, values, and know-how, but you are seeking a new audience to deliver your product.
You will never read the quote, “I spent months doing nothing but hoping my business would come back. And sure enough, it did. Now it is all fine.”
There are always industries and markets that rise as others fall. You need to find who tides are rising during this storm. The chocolate chip cookie was launched during a recession and so was the IPOD. Recently, Fendi figured it out and so will other organizations as this progresses.
To help get started, here are some industries which are booming:
Individual organizations who are booming:
You are not upending your business, you are simply going to where the puck is going to be. Find yourself some open lanes and start selling. There is no secret, just persistence.
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