I find it very interesting and a little humorous that it’s during difficult times that companies seem to come out and say things like “You shouldn’t be hard selling” or “Really focus on what your customer values right now and tailor your conversations towards their needs.” I find it interesting and humorous because that advice should be given all the time whether we are in difficult times or not.
I found myself saying similar things just the other week in a conversation I was having with my boss (yeah that’s Doug). We all get into a rhythm that giving advice, whether it’s similar to everyone else’s or not, is what’s going to give us the motivation to get through difficult times. Don’t get me wrong, the motivation does help, but I realized something even more powerful last week. I realized after our webinar, 5 Actions for Sales & Marketing to Succeed Through Crisis, that it isn’t what you say, it’s the actions you take that are going to get you through those tough times. It’s in the title of the webinar, too -- ACTIONS. You can give advice all you want, but if you don’t lead by example or help people to follow your advice, where is that going to get anyone?
Therefore, I started to think about how to take a few of the points from our webinar last week and put more of a marketing spin on them. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been through difficult times like these before, but I can give insight into what we’re doing to help those that also don’t know what to do right now.
I’ve focused on three of the actions from our webinar that you as a marketer should spend time on now during the difficult times to make an impact. The best thing about these actions is that they’ll help you even in the good times. It’s like developing a good habit; you have to start it and keep at it until it becomes natural. The same thing applies here, if you start these now and continue them, it’ll make your life that much easier and better later on.
The 3 Actions Marketers Should Spend Time On
I’m sure social media engagement is already a high priority when it comes to keeping track of your prospects, followers, and customers, but engagement goes further than that. Engagement translates to your website, too. (If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, view the engage stage of The DEALS Framework.) Seeing how visitors are viewing your website, what they’re clicking on, and what they’re spending time viewing is crucial to interacting with them to get them the content they’re looking for. Utilize heatmaps to trace their actions and see where they’re going for information. Taking this step will keep you active with your prospects and customers even if they aren’t vocal on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Looking at heatmaps and figuring out where your customers are engaging will also help if you’re looking to change up your messages and converse a little differently on social media. Seeing what items are being viewed on your page will help steer you in the right direction. That way you can translate those items to the messages you are sharing on social media.
2. Being a Helping Hand
To go along with engagement, being a helping hand is crucial to difficult times. In the webinar, my boss Doug mentioned to focus on helping, not on selling. Think about it: your customers turn to you during difficult times. They look anywhere they can for answers and help. Some companies decide to act “business as usual” and some go into overdrive with letting their customers know everything they’re doing during a crisis. You have to find your balance when it comes to being a helping hand and be empathetic with whatever you decide to do. There are ways to help without losing sight of your company’s product/service. Here are some ideas you can implement:
- Offer select gated content for public use, or a limited time offer to get access to paid content for free or a lower price (for example an online course)
- Create a series of content that is directed towards helping those who come to your site (for example, a resource page to help them navigate through the industry during difficult times)
- If you have someone who has been through a similar situation in your company, have them share their experience and insight into getting through it
Just make sure that whatever it is you’re creating to help is something that aligns with your company, your industry, and the interest of your customers.
3. Focus on doing fewer things, better
This point from the webinar hit the nail on the head so much so that I felt the need to reiterate it. Figure out what it is that is the most important to you and your company and then focus on putting your energy into those activities. Are the little tasks like tweeting every hour on the hour really all that important in the long run? Or would your time be better spent working on getting more content out into the world?
If you’re thinking about cutting back during this time, cut back on the actions that don’t have much of an impact on your work or performance. Yes, you could do without a thousand tweets a day, I promise. I’m not saying completely cut your posting to social media, either. Instead, focus on promoting the content you found your customers are interested in from action one or focus on answering questions and being more engaged with your audience. Think of what you could do, then put your energy into getting back all that time that you spend drafting messages. So, like it was mentioned in the webinar, figure out the 1 to 3 activities that are the most important to your position or company and spend most of your time focused on executing them. You’ll come out of difficult times stronger and you’ll be able to focus on what really matters and what works for you when all the noise comes back to the world.
What We Have Been Doing
It wouldn’t be fair of me to go on and on about focusing your work and taking action if I didn’t do it myself. I won’t go into too much detail about every little thing, but the biggest thing we have been doing is making sure that our content stays consistent, relevant, new, and helpful. We haven’t cut back on the content we’re posting, we’ve simply adjusted it. We’ve found our balance when it comes to being helpful by sharing answers to questions that people have through AMA (ask me anything) videos, podcast episodes highlighting the psychology of difficult times for salespeople, and blog posts that consist of insights and actions to take during scary times. Because we have what I would consider an experienced individual on our team who has been through similar situations, he’s been sharing what he’s learned over the years to help those who have never been through this before.
The world has indefinitely changed. There are so many kind words out there to give us motivation, which is amazing, but sometimes words aren’t enough. We as marketers need to actually take action to help those that are turning to us for answers. Even if what you have to offer doesn’t solve the overall question, being there and offering support through these difficult times are what we need to get through it all, together. And when all of this is said and done, you can continue your focused actions to gain even greater success.