By Angela Wanjeri, Marketing & Business Development Advisor
After the mention of patient number 1 in Kenya, there has been myriad of theories and predictions on what is to come. Realities are now showing and the impact is visible and felt not only in our everyday lives but so much so in our businesses.
The “new normal” has left entrepreneurs, organization leaders, business development, marketing and sales professionals wondering and balancing different approaches that will help the organizations first survive, then make traction to capture any low hanging though bleak growth or is it survival indicators.
In this article we look at some snippets to support market engagement with the ultimate reward being conversion. However, at this time one has to redefine that reward. This could be anything from collections from debtors to improved cash flows, retention of existing clients to managing relationships, building leads, brand awareness among others.
Managing existing relationships cannot be overemphasized at this time. Authenticity and genuine compassion and empathy is definitely the conversation opener. Humanize your message and let them feel you understand. The context of this relationship and any offer must be related to how you can make their personal lives and even their organizations better cope in this season.
We are all going through a season of unlearning and learning new habits and ways of working right from virtual meetings, office meetings among others. Taking that most of our relationships have been disrupted to work remotely aka work from home, people are more aware of flexibilities, are more tech savvy and we will start to hear more demands for better, faster, lower cost, technology based, less involving solutions. They know they have available options at the click of a button.
Be sure to remain current, keep up with that is happening. Try and find out from your relationships what changes they are experiencing in their markets and its impact. Customize your solutions accordingly to recommend something they can consider. This might call for making tweaks to your offer or rephrase your pitch, or readjust your package or maybe just park it for later.
Your value proposition has to be pegged to the current scenario. That means taking some time to think, find out, validate and confirm the urgent pain points from your current or potential client. Only when you view the situation from their lenses can you get their attention. Remember what doesn’t speak from a value proposition basis is perceived to be a commodity, with little differentiation and a subsequent expectation on cost.
Innovation is key for organization leaders and entrepreneurs. Time and resources have been invested to develop that product or service to a likely target market and you could be in a state of intense confusion now. The best part is that you did it once, you understand it so well that you can break it down and offer snippets of it to respond to the client’s current needs. It is all about the client needs and you never know what this could result to – be flexible!
Remain not only visible, but also valuable by providing value adds (not paid up) to your clients and relationships. Education is hardly rejected especially now when it is in high demand. Deduce this from your conversations and see how to support them at this time. How can your business strengths step in to offer a helping hand?
Manage your expectations as it is highly unlikely you will get an ear for what would be considered a long-term down the lane need. Unless you are in the currently thriving sectors such as food which are also having to rethink around their business models, you might need to go slow with what looks like long turn around BD cycles at this time. Possibly breaking down your offer to what is relevant now that would call for quick on point decisions would make more sense now. It will also help to keep you plugged in to revive that ultimate discussion when the time is right.
Remaining agile at this time cannot be understated – not only with your expected conversions that could be non-existent now, but also with your outstanding collections, the nature, channels and timelines of payment and the like. Nothing any of us want to hear but it is inevitable at this time. This also calls for hard decisions on who you will continue to work with, your pricing, who to offer it to, terms of payment if at all possible at this time among others.
It is that time when we need to be creative, active, relational and know that this too will pass. We need to remain active in our marketing and business development. The differentiator will be how to manage our current expectations, remain afloat and have faith to later benefit from “investments” we make now.
The sun will rise again!!
Would you like to discuss your business development through this COVID-19 era? Drop us a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch to support you!