How to overcome the perils of Covid-19 slowdown in Business and Marketing?

Businesses must align their pre-sales strategies, CRO and digital initiatives to meet long term objectives

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By Hardik Shah

Covid-19 pandemic has hit the entire world very hard. Apart from the public health concerns – there is a widespread fear in the community about the effect this pandemic is going to have on us economically.

Social media too has turned everything even scarier, with reports being circulated that the unemployment rate in India could be hit 30% by the time this pandemic is over. A large number of businesses have already started shutting down in the media industry.

Whether you are a corporate house or an MSME – the situation is grim.  It’s not going to be easy – but I think it’s safe to say This Too Shall Pass! Now, how fast do we recover from this lock-down is actually going to depend a lot on us and how we react to this situation. Here are some of my own learnings that will be of help :

It’s not the destination that brings joy, it’s the experience of the journey

In a consumer’s buying purchase journey – it is all about the experience. You have to make it extremely simple for your consumers to be able to make that purchase from your business by addressing all of their concerns and questions in the fastest way possible. 

The attention span on digital platforms are constantly shrinking. You have to make the most of the opportunity while a potential customer is pondering over your product or service. The journey to fulfillment should be simple and intuitive.

If you ask what is the one thing that one should definitely do during this lockdown? The answer is going to be Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Now is the time when your sales systems are down and probably you will not be able to process any new business requests – this is your perfect window to figure out 

  • Why do people leave your website? 
  • Why do people abandon that cart on the website?
  • What are the attributes or demographics of users who convert well?
  • How do users spend time on the website?
  • What can you do to optimize your UI/UX journey for better conversions?
  • What are the content opportunities that you can work on to improve upon your organic traffic?
  • What is working for your competitors that you can learn from?

This is the time that we can either spend waiting for the conditions to get right, or we plan towards it so that when it’s showtime – we are well prepared.

Show must go on is only possible when your ‘Sales must Go On’ first

Sales is going to be the number one driving factor in your path to recovery and sales is a function of many factors combined together. Two major factors are most crucial for sales:

  • Your pre-sales team’s ability to convert
  • Your pre-sales acquisition strategy.

This lockdown has put almost every-one on the stand still and probably it is also going to create a level playing field in some of the industries.

What is that one thing that you always thought your pre-sales team should have done in their sales process-

  • Do you have customized sales pitches for different segments of clients? 
  • Is there a better way to communicate with your clients?
  • What doesn’t work in your favour when you are not able to close a deal?
  • Does your sales team need better scripts? Better support?
  • Do you need to introduce marketing automation in your sales process?

Now is the perfect time to strengthen your core sales function. 

Every slowdown is going to increase consumption on the Internet

The keyword here is not increase in consumption of the internet, it is the consumption of products and services that increase on the internet. As the internet penetration continues to grow, consumers across industries now have access to more information. 

When there is less movement of money in the market – everyone wants to save, everyone wants to compare and everyone wants to explore better options. This makes the internet a level playing field. As a consumer you are no longer restricted by local limitations.

No matter which industry you belong to – think about it: chances are that potential customers in your industry have already started looking out for better and sometimes cheaper alternatives. 

I have seen many businesses trying to save costs during these times and the obvious choice when you want to save costs is to stop your marketing expenses. Here, I want to bring different angles on why you should not stop your digital initiatives: 

  • Digital is the only medium that allows you to communicate with your existing and potential clients during a lock-down.
  • Digital allows sophisticated targeting to only spend money where you see actual results
  • Everything is measured, every penny is accounted for – your marketing spill is going to be very low. (unless of course it is poorly managed)
  • Digital platforms are relatively cost-effective and if you manage them well, your acquisition costs will be very effective.
  • Suppose you are not able to cater to your audience at the moment, you will still be able to re-target them to bring them back once you are ready. Once the lock-down is lifted your base/pool of interested customers will be ready.

You also need to remember; the consumer is now going to look for options – the ones that focus on their experience will inevitably be the winners and those who don’t eventually will be forced to focus on the experience. It is always better to do it before your competition does if you want to get the first mover advantage.

The author is business lead- Digital Strategy and Organic Search, Puretech Digital

Read Also: How public relations can help in reputation management

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First published on: 19-04-2020 at 11:41 IST