(Updated Sept 20th 2020)
It’s no secret that we are facing unprecedented times. Both the world and economy are seeing one of the greatest challenges we have ever seen.
When I first wrote this article back in late February early March, everybody was basically freaking out about their business. Since then let’s face it a lot has happened. Cerb helped many Canadians, and relief packages were rolled out in the USA also.
Now we are in September almost October, and the question is where do I go from here?
In my opinion it is pretty simple, Go and Create your business to be almost all online.
Only if you actually need to be there in person, let’s face it, most businesses really don’t have to do everything in person, only a few do. Even restaurants have put almost their whole business online, with take out and pick up. Online shopping has skyrocketed for everybody in the world. So really ask yourself. Do I have to be physically present for what I do with my clients or can I do a lot of it on Zoom and only a little bit in person?
And lastly, am I using all of the tools, (especially LinkedIn) if you are in the B2B space primarily, to the fullest advantage I can?
I’m getting a ton of questions from my clients and potential clients asking us about our services?
Is it inappropriate to run outreach right now?
Should I keep doing outreach?
Should I adjust my messaging or strategy?
With everything that’s happening right now it’s important to start thinking out of the box and being more strategic.
For our clients that do only in person services it’s time to temporarily put on the brakes and to stop all outreach.
For instance people in the catering or gym membership business, we’re putting a temporary stop and all campaigns.
We also have to look at areas that are most affected by COVID-19.
So here is our first decision framework for our clients:
If your product or service would encourage activities that are in conflict with government containment recommendations, stop outreach now.
This is the one place where there is an immediate red light.
Another example of this would be any outreach campaign that is inviting people to live events.
Yellow Light: When to pause outreach and adjust messaging
Industries heavily affected by COVID-19
What do you do about customers with businesses that (1) do not encourage human contact, but (2) will be largely impacted by COVID-19.
Examples of this could be companies who are selling into the event industry, healthcare industry, transportation industry, retail, etc. While COVID-19 will impact all industries, there are some it will affect more directly than most.
In these situations, it may be more powerful than ever to reach out as these companies are in dire need. But, your messaging and approach will need to be altered for the new climate. If you reach out in a “business as normal” manner to these industries, your message will probably fall on deaf ears.
So here is our second framework:
If the industry you are targeting will be directly impacted by COVID-19, then pause your campaign for 1-2 weeks while the situation develops, and strategize a new message and approach.
Consider this bucket a yellow light area. Slow down, regroup, but don’t stop. I think it’s a real mistake to totally stop marketing for your company. With the drastic measure of closing of schools, and certain businesses I’m hoping that by May 2020 the virus will kind of burn itself out, and things may start to return back to normal again. So if you don’t do any marketing for almost 2 months, and then you resume your marketing, but not until May or June,your company is going to be in big trouble.
Green Light: When to continue outreach as is
Industries that will not be directly impacted
the last group are looking at is industries that are not directly impacted by COVID-19. While the entire economy will be impacted, many industries will not see direct effects. Examples of these industries are B2B tech, consulting, professional services, agencies, digital marketing, recruiting, etc.
While all businesses will feel the effects of COVID-19, the industries that are not directly impacted are much safer to continue outreach to.
We are adjusting the messaging to address the economic troubles, but aim to steer away from outreach about COVID-19 directly.
So our third framework:
If the industry you are targeting is not directly affected, then continue outreach as is or adjust messaging to address the disruption in the economy.
Why you shouldn’t stop prospecting to yellow light and green light industries
It’s tempting to cut sales and marketing budgets when times get tough. It creates an immediate savings of cash. Yet, the problem with sales and marketing is that you don’t see the impacts of your efforts for 90-180 days.
So, if you stop prospecting now, you will feel the impact of that on your business in 3-6 months from now. If you combine a lack of prospecting with a down economy, you are setting yourself up for an even larger potential disaster in your business.
Sales and leads are what drive companies and during these hard economic times, you need them now more than ever.
Remote prospecting channels like LinkedIn, email, and phone provide no risk to the spread of COVID-19 so these channels are more important than ever.
Times are tough… so continue your marketing and lead generation prospecting on LinkedIn, the smart companies that do will survive, the ones that are driven by fear and panic will not.