Together with my buddy Thibaut Briere, I spoke to dozens of entrepreneurs over the last few weeks to talk about how they've adapted their lead-generation, sales and digital marketing efforts during the current crisis. Last week, this outreach effort cumulated into us hosting a group discussing on the how to level up your sales and marketing during COVID-19, at a fantastic community event of La French Tech Singapore.
Over the course of these many conversations, we've encountered 5 recurring themes and insights, which we think would serve any marketer, sales person or founder.
We've outlined them for you below.
Our advice: don't just passively read this article, engage with it! Reach out, comment - let us know what resonates with you and how we can help!
Listen, there's no point in pretending: it's not business as usual! COVID-19 has turned out to be the most effective Chief Transformation that ever existed. All of a sudden, we're all stuck at home - and still have to find a way to sell our services. The good news, is that our customers are most likely also stuck at home, and glued to their screens even more than before the lockdown. This is a great opportunity to reach out to them. One thing we've consistently heard people ask, however, is whether or not this is a good time to promote their services. Many of us feel a certain level of unease and even guilt trying to sell and promote during a time of great challenge and uncertainty.
But let's think about it differently: if you're providing value to your potential customer, why would you feel bad about selling or marketing?
The only thing that should make you feel guilty, is being bad at selling. Things such as sending generic cold emails and aggressively pushing services to people who don't need them was never a good idea, and today's situation hasn't changed that for the better. Avoid those behaviours, which are toxic and ineffective anyway, and focus on a consultative approach in which you lead with value and genuine interest for your client.
People have been telling us that during this lockdown, potential clients are simultaneously more available and harder to reach. While they have more time on their hands, and spend more time on their screens, the competition for their attention has never been more intense. This means that you need to reach out to them with something they genuinely care about. Something that's useful to them.
Help first, sell later - right now, that's the winning strategy.
Our advice: you have to find a way to provide value in every exchange. Avoid toxic sales behaviours and adopt a consultative approach. This is a great COVID-19 sales strategy: Help first, sell later!
We've spoken to quite a few people who seem to be trying to sit out the storm, hoping that it may soon pass and that everything will return back to normal. I don't have a magic 8-ball, but I do know that you shouldn't stop moving - no matter what.
These are times where cash is not only King; but Emperor and Demi-God, so you have to keep selling and you have to keep putting your message out there. Even if it's hard, even if it's different from before. Adjusting is a challenge, of course. At first you'll try things the old way, only to find that it no longer works. Then you might get stuck on providing a service people no longer need, facing clients whose needs have suddenly shifted (more on that in a bit). But you have to keep moving.
Sometimes our unwillingness to move, comes from a fear of making mistakes. Well, here's some good news: right now very few people know what they're doing (spoiler alert: that was true even before the crisis). As long as you keep moving, don't worry about making mistakes. Done is better than perfect. Let me repeat that: done. is. better. than. perfect. That isn't just some startup mantra, it's perhaps your most important marketing strategy! Now more than ever, you must avoid being your own worst critic and let your audience decide what works and what doesn't.
Experiment, learn and iterate - and don't worry about failing. In marketing it's always better to fail public than to succeed in private.