Cust Engagement

Post Covid, 6 Ways TechCEOs Can Jumpstart Customer Engagement

COVID-19 has been one of the biggest global challenges of our generation. Customer behaviour is changing at a staggering pace, and digital adoption has become necessary for survival. When the pandemic eventually recedes, your customers will have to continue to adapt and accommodate new business models, attitudes and behaviours in engaging markets. Leaders must take immediate action to meet customer expectations in the post-crisis era.

 

As a TechCEO, You have a unique opportunity in engaging differently with your customers and help them navigate this crisis.

 

Last month we covered how TechCEOs can respond to the Covid-19 event and take control of your business in H2 2020. Now, let’s explore how TechCEOs can engage their customers differently and deepen their relationship.

 

Let’s be clear. By now customers have accepted the fact they are bang in the center of a prolonged recession, at the same time they are seeking a level of certainty which allows them to move forward with caution and renewed hope.

 

Most important thing they want from any vendor is to assist them in establishing a sense of clarity. As a TechCEO, if your selling team has reach across a broad swath of customers, industry verticals, and geographies you can help your customers by providing evidence-based perspectives. There is a clear opportunity for vendors to make sense of rapidly shifting conditions and bring clarity to their customers.

 

As a TechCEO, you can offer your customers some of these information:

  • Assess impact on customer businesses and potential areas to offer support.
  • Create near-term commercial messages that help customers more effectively manage their business through the pandemic and aftermath.
  • In lieu of data-backed perspective, engage customers with a hypothesis-led approach. 
  • Position and arm sellers as “Sense Makers,” helping customers understand rapidly shifting dynamics.

 

Let’s elaborate.

 

Customer Engagement Strategies

1. Help re-visit the long-term plan or strategy. 

“How is your long-term strategy changing or evolving given current conditions?

Have you had discussions with your customers to understand the impact of this recession on their business strategy? As frightening as the current crisis may appear, if you can help your customers respond better to it will decide how well their organisations will thrive once the economy starts recovering. You will deepen your relationship with clients if If you can give them ideas whereby they can utilise the slowdown to step back and take some strategic measures that will pay off in the long term.

 

2. Explore hypothesis on coming changes to customer or market behaviour. 

“Here’s what we’re seeing and what we think it means. What do you think? Would you agree?”

To some extent if you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and help them analyse their current situation, outlook, the forces shaping the next normal, and the new organisational structures that can help them keep pace with the changes – it will be really welcome. Instead of pushing your products and solutions, if your selling team can spend some time in engaging and visualising the changes in your customer business and test some hypothesis, it will go a long way in developing an empathetic relationship with client stake holders.

 

You could launch a survey, consolidate reports and gather vital data points and assemble it meaningful ways to make an impact to your customer assessment journey. 

 

3. Explore likely impact to business processes (e.g. workflow, supply chain). 

“Which processes will likely change as a result of COVID-19, and which won’t? Here’s what we’re seeing.”

One silver lining with Covid situation is that it has shown businesses how to manage better and achieve greater speed, quality, and cost control. Gone are the days of waiting around for best practices to emerge. CEOs recognise the need to shift from adrenaline-based speed during COVID-19 to speed by design for the long run. The winners are experimenting now, and boldly. 

 

You could explore with your customers as to which key processes are in for a major revamp. For example, redeploying talent, improving productivity in specific areas, developing new products quickly, shifting and adjusting operations can be explored in detail to adapt to current situational needs. You could be of help to your customers in some way.

 

4. Address previously agreed-upon strategic initiatives. 

“Which strategic initiatives will you likely have to revisit or re-prioritise as a result of these changes?”

 

Post pandemic, most organisations are being forced to address these 3 important questions: Who are we? How do we operate? How will we grow? Most customers are focussed on helping stabilise the company in the near term, creating the right conditions for growth as we emerge from the crisis, and building the resilience the company will need to get through the next several cycles. 

 

You could engage in conversations to discuss how strategic priorities are shifting with this sudden change in fortunes and how companies are responding to the situation. 

 

 

5. Help customers develop and prioritise actions for a range of upcoming scenarios. 

“Let’s lay out the range of actions you might take for each step of the following three phases, depending on how conditions develop: near term protection, mid-term recovery, long-term new normal”

 

For one of our clients we immediately engaged in a conversation that went like this:

Look after employees first, followed by customers and suppliers. It will pay off in the long run, as each group will certainly remember how you treated them during this difficult time. The profits and dividends will come later if you make the right decisions and moves now.

We helped them establish clarity in communicating short term execution of long term plans and not short term guidance. 

We discussed with their leadership team as to how as a company they can withstand the crisis, and how strong will it be in the long term, considering its competitive position, growth potential, and returns on capital? It help them a lot.

 

6. Create near-term commercial messages that help customers respond smarter. 

Your selling team should help develop points of view based on your customer/ prospect company’s perspective in markets served and relay this to customers. Helping your customer assess patterns in how they are inadvertently mismanaging their responses to the crisis and not pro-actively engaging their markets is a big help. Your team should let buyers know that commercial opportunities will exist where assumptions and rapid decision making are driving customers’ business responses.

If you can encourage your customers to respond as a relevant thought leader with a sharpened focus linking their value proposition with the most critical and timely concerns of their customers.

 

 

P.S.Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business:
 
1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.
  • 10 Steps TechCEOs Can Take Now to Bounce Back Click here.
  • Should Tech firms consider Re-Branding to Drive New DemandClick here
  • Do TechCEOs Get ROI from Marketing Click here
  • 3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.
 
2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.
 
We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.
 
3.    Join our TechCelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study
 
I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at TechCelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
 
Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.
Mechanics

Is Your Sales Mechanics aligned to Post Covid Message?

If COVID-19 has impacted the effectiveness of your outbound sales campaigns, you’re not alone.

 

A lot of TechCEOs are in similar situation. Most have gone into a shell ‘protection’ mode and are being conservative. Very few are taking chances and doubling down on marketing, revamping messaging and staying connected to clients and market in general.

 

A 2020 HubSpot analysis of 70,000 software customers found that response rates to sales emails (and campaigns) declined by 27% from February to March this year, so the decline is affecting all of us!

 

But there is hope. The same HubSpot study found that marketing open rates actually increased by 21% overall over the two months.

 

These numbers paint a compelling story. Clients are willing to engage with your company but in certain contexts above others, and the study suggests that people are more interested in educational or informative resources, like your blog or educational assets.

 

What does that mean for TechCEOs and sales leaders? As business are recovering and tweaking their H2 plays, you can continue to position yourself as a trusted advisor to prospects and look to create a long-term relationship when the buyer–and budget–are more ready.

 

Even if you don’t have a relationship with a prospect yet, you can build credibility and trust by incorporating inbound learnings into your outbound approach. Here’s how:

  • Work with Marketing to learn what your prospects care about right now
  • Add value, not asks in your sales messaging
  • Revisit your prospect tiering/scoring accordingly

 

Read More
10 Steps TechCEOs Should Take To Bounce Back

10 Steps TechCEOs Should Take To Bounce Back

If a disease can teach wisdom beyond our understanding of how precarious and precious life is, the coronavirus has offered multiple lessons to the business world as well.

 

The first is that in a globalised business world our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing our businesses as islands – whether as business leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, share holders, individuals, communities, or some kind of uniquely privileged species – should be understood as evidence of false consciousness.

 

And now, as we start to enter periods of quarantine and self-isolation – a simple piece of protein has shown us that we are as vulnerable and less important as isolated beings just taking care of our individual needs. It has taken this virus to show us that only together as a global community are we at our strongest, most alive, most resilient and most human.

 

Same principles applies to the business world. Only when we are connected with stake holders in our businesses and care for each other’s success we are at our strongest, most alive and most human. Else we run the risk of becoming a platform run by some AI logic that purely exists for profits! More vulnerable to threats just like this pandemic hitting us unexpectedly.

 

Further more, this pandemic encourages us to pause and reflect because we are cut off from the bombardment of distractions and placed in environments (social distancing) where we depend on ourselves, customers who believe in us, employees, friends and family.

 

As we sit on this global social distancing movement, here are 10 things you could consider as a TechCEO to bounce back from this sobering moment in time:

 

  1. Gratitude – If you are reading this and have a running business, let’s be grateful to live in a country with skilled health-care workers we can trust to do the right thing in these situations. And for governments that are doing their best to provide for the needs of the most vulnerable. We are fortunate compared to many other countries. But for many others, the anxiety and suffering remains. Let’s pray for them and continue to show our sense of gratitude to our creator, our community, nation in protecting us during this time of the hour.
  2. Respond and do not react: Many of the uncertainties that people feel today in reacting to a pandemic are the same as they were centuries ago. You don’t have to react like people who are in a spree of panic buying, emptying supermarket shelves of toilet paper and other essentials. Lead from the front and from circle of control. Not circle of concern. The world is not going to end. We will all bounce back.
  3. Reflect on your purpose, vision and why you exist? Is your your business shaken just like the airlines who have nowhere else to go in a cut-throat world where they need to compete with rivals, to drive them out of business and make as much money as they can for shareholders? Or in these times you and your customers can help each other to hang in there, help each other out to move along?
  4. Don’t act like as if you know it all – Most of our client TechCEOs are confounded by these questions. Should I freeze, go slow or make careful moves? What should I do in the short term? Will the situation change in next 2-3 months? Or it’s going to be 8-10 months uphill? It’s natural to have these thoughts. If you are one of those leaders who believes that you must continuously show up as the one in control, be stoic and be perfect – you could be wrong! When you’re in a place of feeling like you have to be perfect, the last thing you think you can do is ask for help. This is the time to ask people for help. You need to be open to different kinds of help. This includes your customers, employees, partners, well wishers, families and friends.
  5. Add more value to your clients and deepen relationships – It’s more important to respect your relationships with and support for customers in an unprecedented time like now. Next few weeks (and months) your customers are going be confounded by same fears, uncertainty and turbulence in their businesses. Find out how you can help them regain confidence, believe in putting together hedges & plans and stay with them to support in executing it. Offer them value added services and communicate more than usual. How you treat your clients that are hit the hardest by this will directly impact the lifetime value you realise from that client. Build deeper relationships and enhance your social capital.
  6. Review your solution and product portfolio – We have one global common trigger event. A pandemic. For next few months, key driver for both public and business consumption will be basic essentials – food, shelter, healthcare, communication and few more needs that keep lights on. Ensure that your solution or product is geared to address those needs. Do not go to market with solutions that promise colonisation in mars or hyperloop travel. Message the market accordingly and reach out to customers to support their immediate needs. Positioning ‘work from solutions’, ‘remote sales team’, ‘mobile healthcare’ and many other solutions that facilitate distributed work modes and support social distancing will be well received. Not all industries and businesses have equipped themselves to handle such a sudden black swan event.
  7. Go to market in a meaningful manner – Some of the market segments that you serve may have been hit harder than others. You need to establish the right motions and approach to each of those segments. The ones that were hit harder may be the ones where you have to invest in helping them and lean in as an organization. At the same time, focus on segments (Eg: healthcare, security, communication, mortgage refinance, food) who are meaningfully supporting communities, businesses and individuals to hang in there. These segments will gorw and your services to them might be vastly needed.
  8. Stay agile – Set out a clear set of priorities and implement them with a high degree of autonomy and empowerment. In a dynamic situation, overly centralising decision making impedes your organization’s ability to respond quickly and effectively. Effective leadership is to empower employees to make the best decisions they can, bearing in mind a clear set of priorities, such as keeping everyone safe and behaving ethically toward customers. Responding quickly and meaningfully to clients, partners and important stake holders is more important that imposing command and hierarchical control.
  9. Take action – This is not the time to retreat. If you operate at this level you are taking actions in reverse. Businesses that retreat are probably trying to avoid the negative experience they imagine will come from the results of taking action and possibly risking everything. Some of our client TechCEOs are taking multiple actions roll out campaigns that support remote working (eg: AWS Workspace, Citrix, VMware Workspace One), enhance their go to market kits (customer case studies, EDMs, presentations, landing pages) and reviewing their market positioning and re-brand initiatives. This is a perfect time to focus on important initiatives that you have put in back burner and did not have the time to prioritise. This is the time to get those thing done in a hurry. Prioritise incremental organisational value addition projects when the market is in a lean mode.
  10. Show up everyday – Understand that this too will pass. Nothing lasts forever. Those who don’t quit but instead dig in and get through them will come out the other side with a better work ethic, an increased customer base, and a bigger piece of the market. Remember, any problem you face now is an opportunity in disguise. The question is, will you be better or worse when this event goes away?

 

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business:

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

Do TechCEOs Get ROI from Marketing Click here.

Should Tech firms consider Re-Branding to Drive New Demand – Click here.

 

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

 

3.    Join our TechCelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at TechCelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.