If six months back someone would have told us that an invisible virus will put the world on a standstill and our lives would never remain the same, we would have shrugged it off in a breath. But here we are – locked inside our homes – with little direction of the future, while the world’s economies struggle to recover and businesses, of all stature, try to find their stand.
These are difficult times – one that we weren’t prepared to deal with.
To keep businesses up and running – during this phase – is quite a challenge. However, a huge chunk of this challenge can be eliminated by adapting to the current times, adopting new strategies, and being open to experiments and changes. That’s because the pandemic has not only affected our present but also our future.
At a recent ET rise webinar, Kanika Tekriwal, Founder and CEO, JetSetGo, shared that – people are not going to remain the same post-pandemic. And that life won’t remain the same when the world reopens.
The fact of the matter is – the pandemic has changed the definition of ‘normal’. So the ways and strategies that used to work for businesses before may not work for them in the future. That means only the businesses that are willing to embrace the change and adapt proportionately will be able to thrive. This is especially true for Startups because of their very nature.
So, here are 5 actionable strategies to help your startup find its ‘new normal’ in COVID and beyond:
Get proactive with customer outreach:
You need to remember that the pandemic has forced your customers to be locked in their homes for too long now. Their tastes, spending habits, needs, and wants have gone through a seismic shift. They have been doing with ‘less’ in the lockdown. Also, with all the uncertainty, they are becoming used to thinking thoroughly before spending. As a startup, you need to get past their inhibitions and make them believe (show) that you can solve a certain problem. Now is not the time to wait for things to unfold – don’t wait for them to make the first move.
Be proactive when it comes to reaching your customers – work towards generating leads. Define your outbound strategy and generate leads from all the possible mediums. You also need to go all-in and leverage cold calls, email marketing, direct mails – do all there is to market yourself. Also, SEO, social media platforms, and digital marketing are your greatest ally during these times.
Basically, the steps that you need to follow religiously are: First, find out where your prospects are. Second, figure out the best ways you can reach and convert them.
Have a solid, consistent process:
The market has always been aggressively competitive but the intensity has increased multifold in this phase. In the new normal, you cannot afford to get complacent about your deals and prospects. Right now, each one of your customers is worth more than ever before. You need to have a seamless process to convert your prospects. You also need to put 10x efforts at every stage of your customers’ journey.
Be the best you can at all the stages of your customer’s journey – from discovery, speaking with a sales representative, product/service demo, to conversations with stakeholders, ROI calculations, discussion with decision-makers, and finally closing the deal.
Customize your customer’s journey and guide them through each step in order to get maximum returns in minimum time. Your goal must be to take your prospects from one stage to another with the least friction and to ultimately turn them into buying customers.
Revisit your “cold” sales leads:
There’s one common mistake many businesses make, and that is not following-up on cold leads. The idea is to leave no stone unturned to convert prospects during these times.
See, cold leads are a great untapped resource. So if you have prospects whom you didn’t follow-up, now is a good time to approach.
A lot has changed since the pandemic hit us. The prospects who weren’t ready earlier might have become interested in your products/services because their problems have changed. It’s better to reach out – even if they didn’t seem high-priority then – follow-up, and discuss the possibilities.
Adapt to a dynamic environment:
Identify how the business environment is changing, what your prospects actually need in these times, and how you can solve those specific concerns.
To make this more clear – The change in the business environment is that businesses are shutting down, being acquired, halting their operations temporarily. In such a scenario, your prospects may actually need to lower risks, cut down costs, streamline their business process, transform their marketing, or simply stand strong throughout. Now, to convert your prospects, you need to address all these needs and concerns. You need to show them how you can help them right now in this ‘new normal’.
Increasing traceability and transparency by sharing data:
These are unprecedented times and thus relevant measures that are specific to the current situation need to be taken.
For starters, you can leverage mobile apps, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to keep your prospects and customers informed, extend a sense of certainty, and minimize the hurdles that the pandemic has posed.
One of the best examples is the collaboration between Instagram and the WHO. Instagram partnered with WHO to keep their online community well-informed about the coronavirus. Instagram also took steps to remove misinformation regarding the virus from their platform.
Another example is that of telecom operators in India such as Jio, BSNL, Airtel, and more, who are leveraging the caller tunes to spread awareness about the virus.
Conclusion: In this uncertainty, the only point we can be sure of is that the post-COVID world will differ drastically from the world we live in. The aim of the aforementioned strategies, therefore, is to help your startup find it’s new normal – in the least possible time, with limited trial and error.
Varsha Solanki is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Space-O Canada, an app development company. She has 3 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. She spends her time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest technologies.