There’s no shortage right now of tips and tactics for how to work from home and how to run virtual events. But the smarter and more strategic companies are taking on the bigger story, which is that these are strange times. And that should change how we invest our time and resources. (Though it’s tempting to say it’s “business as usual” because that sentiment can help to create a sense of stability.)
Instead, you must consider ways you and your team can use time differently to support physical, mental, and business health in the days ahead. After all, who knows when things will be back to “normal.”
Since at Demandbase, we’re most qualified to make suggestions for revenue teams about growth and engagement, that’s what we’ll do. We say a big thank you to those who are sharing ideas and resources for other areas of life and work, and we encourage everyone to find your own ways to help.
For now, here are four ideas from us:
What’s an “upper right” project? If you create a four-box model with time (low to high) on the x-axis, and impact (low to high) on the y-axis, the projects that take more time but have a bigger impact fall in the upper-right box.
Often, these are projects we put off because we don’t believe we have the time right now, even if the payoff could be significant. This is a moment to reconsider those projects, especially if they are more about people and time than extra money.
When distraction is unavoidable, whether it’s from the news cycle or caregiving responsibilities, it’s a perfect time to kick off projects that let your team manage their time in a flexible way. Large projects can allow for that, especially if they’re not being done with a looming deadline that adds stress.
The other benefit can be allowing teams to adopt an internal project they’re passionate about but have had trouble gaining support to begin. It helps people stay connected to meaningful work, while also building something important for the business.
Here are some upper-right quadrant project ideas:
It may be tempting to keep up a high level of outbound marketing and social sharing. But beware. If your industry and audience dynamics say that’s a smart and ethical choice, then go for it. But for others, a pause may be in order.
Let’s give our buying communities a chance to wrap their heads and lives around the sudden changes affecting us all.
At the same time, we hear smart Marketing and Sales leaders noting that if the need for your business’s solution hasn’t gone away, it’s not beyond the pale to keep up the messaging and outreach. If you choose to keep going, then by all means make that outreach worthwhile.
Help your marketers, sales development reps (SDRs) and account teams make their efforts more effective by improving the insights they have about prospects and customers. Rather than a generic message of any kind, show your teams how to do quality research on companies and the contacts in them that they want to engage. Take advantage of the data you have to create more complete profiles of your target audience, then craft meaningful messages and offers that speak to their needs.
There are still plenty of organizations still in-market for your solution. You just have to be smart, look in the right places, and connect with a high-value offer. Check out The Ultimate B2B Sales and Marketing Guide for Selling in a Pandemic for a deep-dive.
Make sure to find a way to document and share what is learned across the revenue team. Insights only help if everyone can find them. If SDRs have to slow down outbound calling, consider asking that team to put some time toward gathering extensive account and people insights. Don’t forget to add fields for reporting and the ability to take action when needed. If this is normally a rushed effort with limited impact on messaging, investing more in learning about customers and the market will be time well spent and will help the entire revenue team when it’s appropriate to start engaging again.
Most leaders know it’s essential to help our teams stay curious and keep learning. Whether it’s training on a new technology or other tools, taking an online course, or simply making time to be part of a learning community to develop skills, this is a perfect moment. Learning is an act of hope.
Give your team the space to do this work. Learning together can help sustain your community while they’re not co-located and help each team member find an optimistic narrative in trying times.
One example of a low-cost but high-value option: Read together. I’ve started book clubs at companies I’ve been at. The team chooses a book and makes time to discuss how to apply what they’ve learned. Some of the books we’ve read include Turn the Ship Around, Never Split the Difference and Trillion Dollar Coach. I’ve seen whole leadership teams, companies, and groups of colleagues invite the community to read the same books and find ways to reflect and share insights. (Check out more good reads in this other blog, 10 Books to Make You a Better Marketer.)
Another idea: Encourage collaboration and connection around sharing what works (and what doesn’t). Ask each team member to talk through a story where they learned something that day or week, depending on how often you meet.
We’ve seen success holding daily standups for each function and that’s a perfect opportunity to formalize what we call knowledge share, and celebrate the wins they highlight, too.
Finally, one last suggestion: Use this time to build the soft skills that can mean everything to team and company success. Many revenue team professionals want to improve their ability to communicate, whether in writing, public speaking, or their conversations with executives. Ask internal people already skilled in these areas to set up learning groups as another way to foster engagement with remote workers and help those asked to share their knowledge pay it forward to their team members.
Right now is an ideal time to focus as much as you possibly can on helping your customers succeed. They bought your solution for a reason and hopefully the current world hasn’t made that reason irrelevant. Remember, retention is a growth strategy.
While it may be harder for account teams to look for growth right now, they can use this time to learn and engage with clients to make sure they’re getting the most from their current investments.
Don’t forget that doubling down on retention efforts should include asking product management and development teams to increase their share of time fixing problems and improving user experience. Right now, making someone’s day just a little better by making your solution better seems like the right thing to do.