COVID-19: Why We Shouldn't Stop
Sales Prospecting During The Crisis

As we all know, most of the world is in an emergency state and it feels like we're stuck in a real-life horror film. While health is the main issue we're concerned about, many businesses are struggling to make enough sales, which is why we want to address one common misconception - that you should decrease your prospecting activities because of the crisis.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected, even completely altered our reality. There are changes in our everyday life like social distancing and working from home, but the way we do business is changing as well. It's time to address the elephant in the room - how is the Covid-19 outbreak affecting your pipeline and what does it mean for outbound sales? In this article, we aim to help you come up with a feasible lead generation strategy during this testing time.

We are all human and prospects have fears of their own too - about their health, families, companies and about the future. So now we need to adapt to the new "normal". Your first intuition might be to shut all outbound prospecting down and wait it out. And that's fair - most marketers and salespeople haven't experienced a situation like this before, so acting with caution is justified. It would also be absurd to carry on your usual activities as if nothing has happened and the world isn't turned upside down. BUT… don't just cancel marketing. In fact, we argue that you should double down on your lead generation budget and here's why.

You need to put in more effort now than ever

It's undeniable the situation is difficult for everybody, so it's likely that you will have to try harder to reach your goals as long as the crisis continues. The circumstances are unique, however, targets for salespeople are hardly adjusted, making it even more stressful. With events, trade shows and conferences being cancelled due to a global lockdown, the way you connect and communicate with your prospects digitally becomes more and more crucial. Today more than ever before you need to put your time and efforts into educating your prospects on their challenges which will help you demonstrate the relevance of your solution. Organizing a free webinar or creating a playbook can be both good examples. They require a huge involvement of your marketing team to design valuable content and distribute it across multiple social media channels. But your sales team has an access to the most powerful asset - your existing database of prospects and clients, who can all benefit from free learning experience provided by your team.

Tip: Use this time to develop valuable ungated content to nurture your prospects and support them with navigating the situation.

It's a good time to build relationships

Loyal customers might stick with you during the hard times, others might not, and warm leads might cool down. Nevertheless, you should keep reaching out to your prospects consistently and connecting with them on a human level, so you can reap the benefits from that connection when the crisis is over. Even though it might be a slower time, it's important to build stable relationships for the active period that will follow. Besides, if you don't do that, your competitors probably will and you risk falling behind.

Here are several examples of questions you can ask your customers and prospects to strengthen your personal relationships:

- How are you holding up these days?
- How are you and your team dealing with this new WFH reality?
- How did Coronavirus affect your business?
- How have your priorities shifted since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The most important thing here is to approach prospects with empathy and to completely forget about pushy call-to-actions. As mentioned above, it's a sensitive time and nobody wants to receive just another salesy message. The truth is, prospects might not be in buying mode right now, but they will remember you and that you showed them empathy, which will pay off later.

Tip: Work on your listening skills and make sure your prospects feel cared about.

Get valuable feedback

Prospects are home where you can easily reach them and where they feel more comfortable and ready to talk. Not to underestimate busy home-office schedules, but you can try to engage leads in a conversation about your product or service and ask for some honest feedback. The point is not to deliver a sales pitch, but to have a simple human-to-human conversation that will help you understand your market better.

In a challenging situation such as the Covid-19 pandemic, that is affecting small businesses in many ways, it might become clearer to prospects what solutions they need right now and also possibly in a post-Covid-19 world. You can use that information to improve your offering to fit the current customer needs and the time for communication is now. If you drop your prospecting activities, you risk getting detached from your prospective customers altogether.

Tip: Genuinely connect with your prospects, showing your intention to learn and make your solution better, not sell.

We understand how tough it is to adjust to the current situation and we're here to help. Just reach out to our team and we'll support you however we can.

In the meantime we hope that you stay safe, healthy and positive!
The Author:
Nia Ilieva, Marketing Manager at Prosply
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