If you are like me the expression “New Normal” has not only been overused but has become a source of irritation. Please, give me back the old, boring, and predictable world of 2019! Frankly, change at the pace we have experienced in 2020 is a bit frightening and can easily throw us off our game plan.
I believe it starts with an honest assessment of what has changed and asking ourselves, what will happen if we are reluctant to adapt and things never return to anything like it was before COVID-19, for the foreseeable future.
We clearly observe three major shifts in the economy and the way business is now conducted. People and businesses are spending less as both revenue and budgets constrict, face-to-face interactions are being limited or avoided, and the remaining workforce are relegated to home offices.
By no means an exhaustive list, this is a useful starting point to adjust our engagement with the new economy.
It is small comfort to know that we are in good company as our once aggressive sales projections, now seem comparable to climbing Mt. Everest!
Let’s take a reality check:
- Has the need for cyber-resilience and securing of business data become unnecessary?
- Do the Clients that you have served in the past no longer need an experienced expert to guide them?
- Did technology stop advancing, and hardware somehow stabilize to the point that failure is non-existent?
The questions are absurd and the answer to all of them is a resounding NO!
As is often suggested, with every crisis comes opportunity. Sure, the market is shrinking as businesses go dark, IT budgets are being tightened and purchasing decisions are being scrutinized for their necessity to business continuity. At the same time, competitors that have been operating on narrow margins are now forced to make drastic cuts to their labor force and calling into question whether or not they will be around in the future to provide support for what they sell.
So, what can we do, not to just survive, but to thrive under these circumstances? How do we retain what remains of our Clientele and capture market share from our competitors?
The keys include:
- Differentiation by providing a superior experience. From initial engagement of a new prospect, through to onboarding after the sale, our focus needs to be on building a relationship of trust rather than closing a sale.
- Offering compelling value by presenting solutions that are budget sensitive while clearly designed to solve the problems that the prospect identifies.
Spending to protect vital business data is not going to cease.
The services and solutions we offer will always be necessary, and companies – like yours and ours, are going to be needed to provide them.
Quarantines; working from home and social distancing to avoid transmission of the pandemic presents challenges. How can we promote and sell our solutions and services if no one will see us? Methods that were once tried and true are now less effective. Abuse of the phone by telemarketers, scammers and the like, as well as caller ID technology has resulted in suspect or unwanted calls simply being ignored and pushed to a voicemail. Unfortunately, e-mail has suffered a similar fate where legitimacy is called into question and getting responses to a marketing message or the intended exposure for a new solution or promotion is unlikely.
Regardless of how you feel about social media, online chat, and virtual meetings, these are the means of communication that have been utilized by an audience that has been forced into isolation and discouraged from human contact.
We need to be where our audience is and make available what they are looking for. In the case of disaster recovery solutions, this means, webinars, blog articles, educational videos, and business updates on your web platforms of choice. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and your company website, all have the potential for higher visibility than a single phone call or email!
Wondering where to start? Look at the content providers that capture your interest on any of these platforms. There is a good chance that if you find the style, content, and presentation interesting, you can adapt it to draw in and engage your prospects.
A displaced workforce
This shift has an impact on how we run our businesses and creates a new opportunity for sales.
First, working from home will put the data of your Clients and your own at increased risk of loss or corruption. Therefore, we are introducing BackupAssist WFH – Work from Home.
It is a simple solution that allows for company data to be securely backed up to company storage regardless of where it is residing day to day or the threats it may be exposed to. Learn more here.
Second and on a more personal level, for some of your team, working from home is a welcome change from the daily commute and the distraction of impromptu meetings. Meanwhile, others may find that their new “colleagues”, i.e. spouse, children and pets, make focusing on work difficult at best. Whichever the case, you can be assured that it is accompanied by feelings of job insecurity, challenges to productivity and increased risk to the information necessary to run your own company.
There is no guarantee that furloughs or reductions in staff will not become necessary, so what can be done for staff morale and motivation? In my humble opinion, treat your team with dignity and as much transparency as possible. They already know that the global economy is reeling and many have had a family member or friend that has been displaced from their job. Let them know that they have a role to play in the company’s survival strategy.
Share your expectations and vision for the future as well as what will be required from everyone to achieve it. Help them understand that there is a path forward which requires ongoing innovation, productivity, and positive attitudes.
Whether it is winning new business, maintaining staff morale, delivering support, or updating a website and social media, a healthy team is critical to success. Do not forget the importance of human interaction and keeping your employees connected with one another. We all benefit from knowing we are not forgotten and are an important part of the bigger picture than the small world that we may be confined to at the moment.
This brief article is in no means meant to oversimplify the response required for an extraordinarily complex problem However, I do hope that it serves as an encouragement. You are not in this alone and there are things within our control to help mitigate the damage and come out on the other side of these world altering events, stronger than when we went into them.
Wishing you safety, good health, and a promising future,