Well it's been a rough few months for many and the prime minister said to expect the months ahead to be 'bumpy'. Therefore, it's reasonable to expect varying Covid restrictions to continue for at least another 6-12 months. For some sectors, e.g. the travel industry, it looks likely to need a vaccine or herd immunity to help them return to anywhere near norm.
Commercial trends and the big economic disruption is forcing through change.
As we now have a better understanding of the future, it's a good time to review your New Business strategy. Ask yourself:
Yes? then good for you, carry on as planned.
No? then it's time to consider a re-pivot.
It can be hard, bewildering or upsetting to accept that what worked well in the past is suddenly not working so well for you now. Try to stand back and evaluate your portfolio of work and the markets you've been servicing.
Some aspects to consider:
The above is some broad guidance to help work out the future. For my thoughts on your specific situation, get in touch.
With lock-down easing, businesses stirring and reopening over the next few weeks, more confidence will gradually return for decision makers to restart projects and think about future plans.
So it's important that your prospects are aware and reminded of your services. Leaving it until when the economy has returned to near pre-shutdown levels (which is unlikely for a number of sectors this year) will probably place you behind the uplift and a real risk of struggling to withstand this severe contraction.
Whatever your offering is you will need to prove that you can provide or add value, so marketing materials need to be focused on getting that point across as well as demonstrating your fantastic capabilities.
Impacts on Business
As a return to norm will be gradual and incremental for different sectors your new business strategy will require a more nuanced approach. Some sectors are going to be operating in survival mode only for the next few months, whilst only a lesser number will be in a place to think of growth and investment plans.
However, with the massive amount and speed of money printing going on (really digital money creation), along with various business stimulus schemes and Rishi Sunak's vow to do 'whatever it takes' to reinvigorate the economy and stimulate an increase in demand, a business recovery will be sooner rather than later. Fingers and toes crossed this situation will be as short lived as possible.
I think we're already in a recession, which means less opportunities about, so you'll need to put greater efforts into finding new work. Inevitably recessions will impact businesses of all shapes and sizes leading to mergers, consolidations and sadly liquidations.
Often in these scenarios existing agencies may be ditched and a new, fresh approach agency brought in. Purchasing teams and internal marketing departments may also face a shake up of personnel - which may again trigger an opening for a new agency approach.
If you can get through this tough time, you may even benefit from the possibility of reduced competition about for a while. As an economic recovery takes off, there maybe a bigger slice of the pie to be had.
When best to reach out?
Really you need to reach out before not just after recovery. I'm pretty sure at least some of your competitors will be upping their prospecting game. Do you really want to let them to get ahead of you? Doubt it.
Doing nothing is far riskier than allocating some time prospecting.
So what are you waiting for? Just get on with it.
And if you'd like outside support, get in touch.
Whoa! The sharp business contraction has left most of us reeling and is bound to have an affect on prospecting activities. But when this temporary situation improves in the next few weeks or months ahead, businesses will start to feel more sure and confident to kick off and plan projects again.
In the meantime, should you carry on as normal with your usual or planned in New Business, Lead Generation and Telemarketing activities?
Well I think it would depend on who you are targeting and how affected their business is by the Corona virus crisis - sensitivity is required.
It would be crass to approach any kind of seriously disrupted business or sector right now when their decision makers are very busy working out how to survive the next few weeks and months ahead. Often their projects are or will be put on hold, budgets frozen, reduced or diverted elsewhere.
During most recessions and downturns, it's best to ramp up your New Business and Lead Generation activities - not decrease. However at this moment I feel you need to very carefully consider when would be an appropriate time to introduce or reconnect. Also consider your tone and best channel/s of communication.
For any company not disrupted (can't think of any) or are only experiencing some disruption but will likely get through this, then with the right message and tone they should still be open to an approach.
Even in normal business conditions it's always best to approach when the timing is right, so no change of my opinion there (see my blog June 2018).
It's hard to predict how the other side of this will be but there may well be new opportunities around for agencies that in the past may not have been on their prospects to be considered list. A re-calibration of viewpoint, mood and business conditions will probably swing some prospects to outsource or look for a fresh approach from a new provider.
So you'll definitely want your prospects to know about you then.
When the time is right and you'd like some outside support, do get in touch.
Take care and keep well.