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Business, in general, is more or less put on pause during a crisis.
Even as the situation begins to ease, there’s always a long way to go before things are up and again.
Even then, it’s likely that the toll on the global economy will pave the way for a massive worldwide recession. It’ll take months before we climb up to pre-crisis heights (see what experts say about The New Normal).
It might feel like your business is Will Smith in I Am Legend. Like you’re wandering the proverbial economic streets with only a German Shepherd by your side. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
This is the perfect time for agencies to reassess their operations and convert some leads into clients. Sounds counterintuitive? Don’t worry. Here’s how to nurture your sales pipeline during a crisis.
via Giphy: Everything alright there, Will? Will? Don’t worry, it’s all temporary! You will hear your clients say “Hello” again!
What Is a Sales Pipeline?
First, let’s get the terminology straight. What exactly do we mean when we say “sales pipeline”? It’s a tool that helps companies track their projected sales. It helps agencies track a prospect as it moves from a lead into a signed, sealed, and delivered sale.
The term “pipeline” comes from the notion of deals traveling along a predetermined path. That path includes various stages. It can help you and your team visualize the sales process as a digestible graphic. What’s more, it can unite the whole team behind a common, easily understood process.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees if you don’t make use of a sales pipeline. Sales funnels are most effective for managers. They utilize them to tell which sales activities are providing the most return, and which need a little more massaging.
How to Turn a Lead Into a Client During a Crisis
The problem is that these days, most sales pipelines don’t resemble pipelines at all. They look more like chaotic spirals.
During unpredictable times, no one knows exactly how things are going to shake out. So how exactly do you go about transforming leads into clients during a crisis?
1. Invest Time in Revamping Your Business
Take a look at projects you’ve been putting off for a while, which you might now have time to do. Things like:
Redesigning that website
Rebranding your content
Planning future strategies
Chances are you’ve put all these on the back burner because you’ve been too busy to take care of them. Well, guess what? Now you’ve finally got that time. Handling these elements will help you attract new clients when things finally get back to “normal”.
Here are some more ideas on how to optimize your agency during crisis times.
Think of it as a lazy Sunday at home. Sunday’s the time to take care of all those menial tasks you’ve put off during the week. The tasks that make the house look and feel nicer. More appealing. More cared for.
Those tasks you’ve been putting off will do the same thing for your business. You will be streamlined, attractive, and ready to work at maximum efficiency. (This is far more preferable than the way Will Smith emerged from his crisis, which was… Well, if you’ve seen I Am Legend, you’ll know.)
via Giphy: How to land new clients during a crisis: Not like this. Will is getting overly aggressive here. A more delicate touch is required.
2. Give More Attention to Sales and Customer Care
Try to remind your customers why they should hire you right now, as opposed to after the crisis.
Obviously, this depends on the industry you’re in. By and large, most businesses should be able to find a way to connect with their customers during the crisis period.
Remember, most of your customer base may be sitting idle, too. They may, therefore, be more open to receiving news from you, and will have more time to check out what you’re saying.
Sales and customer care are crucial. Don’t let your clients forget about you and what you do for them. If they succeed, you do as well. If they fail, that’s on you too. Also, you probably lose a client. Which does not spell good news for your sales pipeline.
Reach out with a well-intentioned, no-strings-attached message. A bit of support or interest can work wonders for your client relationships.
3. Use a Tool With an Integrated Sales Pipeline
You can keep track of that all-important sales funnel within Productive’s Sales Pipeline. When the crisis situation is fluid, getting a handle on possible future trajectories is crucial.
A Sales Pipeline within your agency management tool is especially useful for going the extra mile for clients. Add reminders about personal info, e.g. launch dates, news, or even something as simple as a birthday.
Are your prospective clients waiting on anything?
Did something get lost in the mix during the crisis craziness?
Are you missing out on anything if your employees are working remotely?