It’s not uncommon for business development plans to change throughout the year, but 2020 has been an extreme case.
For most businesses, Q1 goals and plans are now irrelevant and the future uncertain. As we gain data on the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are seeing in print what they detected in their experiences:
- The U.S. saw and continues to see an up to 52% decrease in in-person shopping
- Between March and April 2020, the U.S. experienced close to a 25% drop in trade
- Globally, non-manufacturing firms saw a 57% decrease in demand
These numbers paint a picture many companies never thought they’d see. With so much unknown, it can be challenging to determine a plan forward.
Moving Development Forward in Uncertainty
Moving forward, though challenging, is not impossible. The first step is acknowledging the need to change direction. At the beginning of the year, you may have planned to grow a particular market or introduce a new service, and devoted funds to reach those goals. Now you need to reassess your business development plans and reallocate funds to tackle new, emerging priorities.
There are three major areas to devote your business development funding: market outreach, lead and customer pipeline management, and team training. Each plays a critical role in your pipeline, and each needs your devotion to different degrees.
Managing Market Outreach
The way of the market changed dramatically in these last few months, so your go-to-market strategy must adapt. In potentially volatile times like these, you need to focus on and build your success areas and adjust methods to break into territories you never considered before>. Amidst uncertainty, you need creativity and nimbleness.
With many social distance restrictions still in place, you’ll need to move more of your outreach online. Digital ads and a robust social media game will benefit you here. Videos and virtual events are especially impactful as people look for increased human engagement. You’ll also need to adapt messaging, ensuring all your outreach is sensitive, relevant, and compassionate to the emerging issues your customers face.
Adjusting Pipeline Management
Market outreach is only one part of your development strategy. While important, pipeline management is too often overlooked in favor of outreach. Bringing in leads is important, but it’s your conversion to customers that matter. In times like these, it’s especially important to focus on the leads and customers already in your pipeline. With your regular sales cycle interrupted, you need to regroup and reestablish your lead and customer nurturing.
You’re almost starting anew when it comes to understanding what motivates customers. You’ll need to up A/B testing for your lead campaigns and change your messaging to communicate your value in the wake of the pandemic. Be thoughtful about your messaging and aggressively leverage marketing automation and CRM data to determine what’s working and what needs to be scrapped.
Rallying Your Team
The global pandemic affects not only your customers, but your development team members as well. They, too, are experiencing ambiguity and anxiety and need you to step in with a clear path forward. As you reassess how to handle market outreach and pipeline management, effectively communicate these pivots with your team.
Essentially, it’s time to go back to Sales 101, bringing the whole team together to regroup and move forward together. Your goal is to create unity through consistent communication and a clear purpose and plan of action. Establish weekly or bi-weekly meetings and tackle changes like new messaging, adjusted outreach cadence or methods, and how to conduct meetings, pitches, and presentations.
In times like these, don’t assume anything. You’ll also need to address work from home expectations, including everything from defined work hours, to how to communicate with team members, and appropriate attire for virtual meetings. For most teams, the current work environment is new. The more structure and communication you can provide, the better your team will adjust.
Bringing in the Support You Need with Sales as a Service
These adjustments in market outreach, pipeline management, and team performance and expectations are a lot for any one manager or executive team to handle. Recognize when it’s time to bring in support, and where you need it. Outsourced business development partners like NuGrowth Solutions can step in to revamp outreach strategy and content, provide tools and support for sales enablement, identify and target existing and new outreach segments, and bolster teams with targeted training, coaching, and support.
Thanks to our forward-thinking team, we realized growth and success during these unpredictable moments and want to share that success with you. Get in touch with our experts to help you navigate change and establish winning strategies to succeed today and in the future. Contact us at 614.304.3917 or Get in touch with our expertsfill out this simple contact form today.
Sarah Deak is a veteran copywriter and content strategist with NuGrowth Solutions. She likes to look for the unexpected angle and uses her background in education, business development, and marketing to create interesting and informative pieces to equip readers with actionable data