You’re working from home for the foreseable future because of the Coronavirus. What’s going to happen to your day-to-day operations if you can’t meet with people face-to-face from your own team? And what’s going to happen if you need to do business with people from other companies?
While being stuck at home might seem like it could put a stop to your business for the time being, you can also take this as an opportunity to try and get ready for when businesses are up and running again. And by leveraging the myriad of online video meeting and conferencing tools, you might get more done than you think.
While regular operations of your business might be slowing down, this is an opportunity to get a broader view and take stock of your current business and where you can expand it. You might find yourself with more time on your hands to look into the markets you’re trying to serve and think of new ways to reach them or new potential customers to reach.
Other people will be home like you and are probably spending more time on their screens than normal. You can absolutely stay engaged with your audience through social media, and maybe get your name in front of new people while remaining tasteful and respectful of the circumstances in the world. Maybe you have some extra money that would have been spent at a trade show or conference. Putting a portion of that toward boosting your social media or expanding your ad presence would be an effective use of funds that were already earmarked for marketing purposes. Staying at the back of people’s minds will have you in a good position to get your operations going again in the future.
Develop Your Ideal Customer Profile
This time is also an opportunity to expand your own contact list. Don’t break the ice with a new lead just now, but take a look at who you want to be reaching by examining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) personas. If you don’t think you’ve been reaching the right audience, this is a great time to reflect on who your audience is now and who you would like it to be.
Then take the next step by identifying the target personas you would like to reach out to. Leverage LinkedIn and your other professional and personal networks to see if there’s some connection you already have to someone who matches your ICP. Once you’ve compiled a list of leads and contacts, file it away for the time being and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running once you get in the office again.
Virtual Appointment Setting
Now what about your existing contacts and Sales Qualified Leads? Even though this is a stressful time, you should not go silent on them. With Zoom and Skype and all of the other ways you can still meet people from home, there’s no reason to lose touch with your current clients or with sales that you might close anytime soon.
Finding a time to call these people is important to reinforce your connection with them. Even if you don’t talk business, or decide that you want to put things on hold for the time being until this situation runs its course and you can get back to running like normal, making a call is better than not. Set up a time to talk on Zoom and just check in with them. If you call and someone is not ready to do business because of the uncertainty of the markets and how long their business might be disrupted, they’ll remember that you called and asked about how they were doing, which could be just as valuable in the future.
If people are ready and able to do some work, tools like Zoom still let you meet “face-to-face” (even if it’s really screen-to-screen). With more flexibility during your day at home you have more time to be able to set these calls up. Any time you can spend making contact with your network, whether for business or just to check in, is time well spent.
Using virtual meetings to check in with your team is also a good way to stay engaged with them and can be a morale boost. It can be pretty isolating to go from seeing people five days a week to not at all, so having group check-ins is a positive way to keep people engaged and productive even when working remotely.
Maintain A Predictable Pipeline
Ultimately, the two preceding sections of this piece are about how to try and maintain a predictable pipeline during what is a very unpredictable time. Even if you’re investing limited resources in outreach as you try to weather this storm, you’d still want the best return on those investments that you can get, even if those returns aren’t being seen for a few months.
Continuing to procure leads will keep your pipeline open for the future. While some office work is much more difficult (or impossible) to do at home, researching ICPs and the appropriate Target Personas at them is easy work that can be done from home. And if someone on your team gets really into it, they can build out a sizable contact list in little to no time at all.
Setting up virtual appointments to build out your existing relationships is one way to ensure they don’t deteriorate over time and can stay in your pipeline. And that is the most important thing you can do right now. While it’s unclear how long you might be working from home, there’s plenty that you can do to make that time productive, and to be prepared for when your office opens back up. Keep your clients close and your pipeline stocked, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running on the other side with leads ready to go and a team ready to get your pipeline moving again.