Regardless of the potential of a business, there are always periods of unprecedented slowness, over which you have little or no control.
Economic downturns happen for many reasons – in this case due to the disruption caused by Coronavirus lockdowns – and can last for months or even years. In a downturn, you may experience a sudden plunge in your revenue or cash flow difficulties, or it may be harder to make sales.
Despite this, there are always sales to be made in a recession and it is counterproductive to lose entrepreneurial momentum during these times. The right approach can turn recessions into valuable opportunities for your business. This article highlights five essential activities you should focus on during a business downturn.
1) Review Your Goals And Objectives
When business is slow, you have a golden opportunity to review your objectives, your business development plan and marketing strategy, and formulate new goals for your enterprise. Evaluate your achievements and failures over the past 12-36 months and set goals that will reflect the direction you want your business to take. If you’ve worked through a recession before, use data from this period to assess what worked and what didn’t, and any strategies that could be re-implemented successfully today.
Now is the time to come up with both short-term and long-term goals for your sales team, and to evaluate what is achievable with your current resources.. Such goals may include planning a sales promotion, developing a new social media schedule, lead generation strategies, and brainstorming new ideas to increase website traffic.
2) Study Your Competitors – How Are They Responding?
Performing a thorough competitor analysis is a great way of understanding how your products and services compare with those of your competitors. Your sales and marketing team will need this to identify market gaps and sell effectively, and a downturn is the ideal time to do this. If you find out that your competitors are giving offerings that you do not, then you could be lagging behind a new market trend. This will help you keep up with the market pace easily, while you maximise your return on investment.
3) Review The Capabilities Of Your CRM System
All interactions between prospects or existing customers and a company are managed by a CRM system. When there is a downturn in the economy, this would be a great time to review all the contacts in your CRM and stratify them in terms of potential value and readiness to buy. You’ll need to focus your efforts on the most promising prospects in order to keep your cost per sale down.
Of course, some CRMs are better than others. If you use an outdated platform or still depend on spreadsheets, you could be at a disadvantage, or, at the very least, struggle to maximise the value of your prospect database. Using an advanced platform such as HubSpot gives you full control and visibility over your sales strategy, and puts you in a strong position to capitalise on every lead. This value increased when you work alongside a partner agency, such as JDR.
4) Invest In Training, Coaching And Business Support
Don’t underestimate the value of third party support during a downturn – to upskill and strengthen your existing team, and to add extra capacity to your business at a lower cost than recruiting new personnel. You might want to consider developing your in house sales and marketing teams professionally. This way, your staff will not only grow in their areas of expertise, but they will also be more productive and motivated in what they do. Some of the ways to improve your teams professionally include getting certifications, taking professional courses, attaining product knowledge, and attending conferences.
You can also extend your reach by partnering with a digital marketing agency – whether or not you have a dedicated in house sales team. An agency will support your business with skills, accreditations and resources you may not have in house, multiplying the effect of your efforts and bringing in more sales and revenue.
5) Review Your Services And Your Value Proposition
A business downturn is an excellent time to brainstorm new ideas and reassess the relevance and value of your core products and services - as well as the tactics and messages your business uses to connect with potential customers. This means identifying services or products that could be missing out in your offerings, as well as the various ways in which your current products can be improved. You may decide to strengthen your proposition through a revised pricing plan or added value services, or adopt new sales and marketing strategies to reach new market segments.
Thrive During A Downturn
Downturns present a challenge to every business, but not an insurmountable one. With the right flexibility, optimism and responsiveness, there are opportunities to be made and growth plans to achieve.
We can help you with this, so to find out more about our tailored business development plans, please call 01332 343281 today.
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