How can we continue to trade through this crisis and stay ahead?

Andrew Smart

We cannot underestimate the impact of the Coronavirus. This is now affecting every single one of us from many different perspectives; our children and our own health, care for our elderly relatives, loss of income, travel and holidays and of course isolation, to name but a few. Undoubtably this is a real test for all 

Putting our own personal circumstances aside for a moment, how is this going to impact our businesses? 

The UK Government is putting measures in place to support high footfall reliant businesses who are already experiencing huge disruption. If you think of Travel, Restaurants, Hospitality and the Events Industries they are heading into challenging times, without people what do they do?  

So, other than practical advice on hygiene, having a home working contingency plan and limiting non-essential business travel, what else can we proactively do to ensure that our business’s do not become a casualty of this crisis. 

We are sure you’ll agree that buttoning down the hatches and waiting for this ‘all to pass’ is not the workable strategy. We somehow have to change the way we work and create a ‘new business as usual’ approach, for the short term at least.  

We are lucky that much of our standard business technology such as CRM, Accountancy Packages, Email, Phone systems and day to day Software are mostly Cloud based enabling us to effectively work from anywhere. The national speed of broadband has now caught up with the software packages enabling home working not only to be contingency but to be standard practice on many occasions.  

Many businesses (including ours) use home working on occasion but are now looking at the practicalities of this as BAU, should we require longer periods of home working due to this Coronavirus crisis.  

Fortunately, at Virtual Sales Team we’ve been testing home working for a while and havinvested in new hardware across our business to make this a completely seamless customer, prospect and staff experience. Clearly if your technology is fit for purpose, you’re halfway there.  

The next step is to ensure that your employees have a good working environment at home to be productive (no screaming children or general back ground noise that will disturb them for example) and a good working space to be able to perform their work safely and productively.  

The final step, and we think the step that is most often overlooked, is to ensure that your employee is comfortable to be working from home in the first place (as opposed to be instructed to do this) and that you will be able to support them remotely and still keep them feeling part of your team.  

Simple strategies like checking in every couple of hours or having group web chat chats are exactly the type of actions required. Microsoft Teams has been a revelation in our business for example, what is your communication platform of choice? Can you make calls through it, Voice and video as these tools will really keep you teams feeling part of ‘One Team’ which is actually one of our values. 

Now we must address the Elephant in the room.  

How are we actually going to find new customers and meet with them to sell our products and services with some companies already refusing to accept ‘non-essential visitors’ or companies banning non-essential travel?  

One might simply say, “we’ll revert to  telephone and email”, which is fine if you have the time and can be disciplined enough in your approach to put the hard yards in on top of your BAU activity and you don’t become held up and tangled up in GDPR concerns. Not forgetting you need to ensure that your current sales team really doesn’t mind picking up the phone to research and cold call 2-300 prospects per week of course. Let’s be honest, some like it, most hate it. 

One might also say, “I have Linkedin, so it won’t be a problem” and it won’t if you’re an advanced user of Sales Navigator and you can tailor every invite request message to sound completely personalised to the person you are targeting (along with the other 50 people that week) and still be organised enough to effectively have a webchat until the prospect is ready to talk….phew!  

Or finally…..you might say we still need some help from a motivated outsourced sales team of experts who do all of this every day for a living, and who’s environment will not be effected by the Coronavirus epidemic so there will be no disruption and loss of momentum.  

For example, we are already in discussions with several exhibitors who were planning to promote their products and services in the next few months, but the exhibition has now been moved to the autumn. It’s great that they are not going to lose money on the show, but their 2020/21 pipeline sales forecast has now been ripped to shreds based on the fact that the exhibition where they expected 100+ leads to drop in in April, May and or June has just been postponed by 6 months.  How does one plan for that? What is plan B?  

The answer is, we can be the ‘Plan B’ or ‘your Plan B’. We intend to plug the huge pipeline hole created by the trade shows being postponed. We actually create additional and high-quality opportunities to ensure this year isn’t lost for them and potentially you. We will book you face to face meeting if it’s still appropriate, Web Meeting or Telephone Appointments. The choice and type of lead created is quite long albeit the choices for plan B are very limited.  

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all impacted by this awful Pandemic but we at Virtual Sales Team are going to do everything in our power to help our customers to not only survive this huge disruption but thrive during it by not only finding new customers for them but also by exploring new, productive, cost effective and efficient ways to work.  

Would you or someone you know benefit from an extra pair of hands and more B2B leads during the next few months or do you need a plan B because of the disruption? If so, please click this link for a free 20 minute chat with one of our experienced team  on how we can become you and keep your business firing throughout 2020 and beyond: https://virtualsalesteam.co.uk/contact-vst/ 

Once again, our very best wishes from us all at VST.