The impact of the current health crisis has touched all of our lives in some way, bringing with it uncertainty and concerns for what the future will hold. At this time, not only will your teams be looking to you for guidance and reassurance, but so too will your customers. Our customers have been amazing at letting us know where and when they need extra help and support. Whether its additional software they need, technical remote working advice or flexible sales and marketing alignment strategies.
Many organisations' sales processes have experienced a drastic overnight shift, and it’s important to adjust your messaging to acknowledge these changes to help you serve your customers, inline with the current economic climate. In this blog, we have collated a few useful tips to help you keep your customers informed.
Above all else, our customers are looking to us for support and advice, and it’s important to be in a position to provide it. You may already be in the habit of regularly communicating with your customer base, or only be communicating with your clients on occasion, but either way you will need to adjust the sentiment of your communications to match the times.
Showing empathy in your communications helps break down barriers and creates a sense of shared challenges. It’s especially important not to be seen to be pushing a sales agenda during these uncertain times. Instead, try to focus on nurturing relationships and provide your customers and prospects with useful, actionable information that will help make their lives that little bit easier. Here are some of the most well received examples:
- Quick Q&A calls
- Free useful tools
- Zoom 'how to' one to ones
- Discounted products
- Pauses in contracts
- Advice on the best integration tools
- Combining retainers across company brands
- Amending webpages/email templates
These gestures show your existing and potential customers that you care and appreciate the position that they find themselves in, and that you are ready and willing to help.
Make sure that you stay up to date with any shifts in the market so that you can further tailor your communications, and the support that you are providing. There will be further changes down the line that your company and your customers will need to adapt to, and it’s key to match your communications to the current climate.
Some of your customers may be suffering more than others, due to their industry sector. Proactively identifying those that you feel might be in a more challenging position, and approaching them before they approach you, shows you care. This builds trust and a relationship that will be appreciated and remembered by your client.
By making the first move, and getting in touch with the customers that you feel may be in need of further support, you can provide them with a potential solution, before they begin to struggle or, at worst, find themselves in a position where they can no longer afford your service or product. It’s easy to provide a customer with the options that they need to continue on with your product or service, but that becomes much more difficult when a client has had the misfortune to have to stop.
Focus on customers in the hardest hit industries first, and take note of any changes in their behaviour e.g. cancelling regular calls, not replying to emails or less reading of your content – a client that is considering cancelling their order or contract, will tend to be less communicative. Although there is no reason to be embarrassed, many people find it difficult to ask for help. You can make it easier for them by tentatively offering them your help.
How sales and marketing work together
When organisations align their sales and marketing teams there is a significant increase in sales, productivity and client retention. Communication is the key and when sales and marketing departments share a CRM and contact company information, no prospect is missed and every activity is logged and monitored.
Additionally when businesses have clear, agreed SLAs between these two departments, clear lead scoring (i.e. what is an MQL, when is it an SQL...) is achieved so no leads are mislabelled or, at worst, ignored. Both teams are happy and targeting an aligned goal.
Share your challenges
We are all facing new challenges during this worldwide crisis, and refusing to acknowledge them could be extremely damaging to your business. If you don’t address the impact that COVID-19 has had on your company, you run the risk of appearing un-relatable and out of touch. Your internal teams and customers need to know that you are in this with them, and that they are supporting you just as much as you are supporting them.
Communicate the impact that the pandemic is having on your company, and then let your internal teams and customers know what you are doing to rectify it. If some of your services are going to be affected, tell your customers about it – it’s important to manage expectations during uncertain times. Let your customers know exactly what you can offer them at this time, and to what timescale.
As has been our fortunate experience, most of your clients will be exceedingly understanding, as long as you keep communicating with them and update them on any changes. We'd like to thank all of our customers for their open communication, for asking for help when and where its needed and for being so appreciative.