The Business Development Response to Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Since the advent of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we’ve all come to learn about a new concept called “social distancing.” But what is social distancing and what effect does it have on business development and the sales pipeline?


Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins tells us that social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19 1. Social distancing has reverberated through communities globally and resulted in a complete shift in businesses across all industries. Large gatherings are now being treated as a danger to public safety and in some cases, even unlawful. This has led to more people working from home, the cancellation or postponement of sporting events and concerts, and even limiting business gatherings to no more than 10 people.

 

The Sales Response

Like me, I am sure you’ve seen firsthand some impact from COVID-19 and social distancing on lead generation and business growth. But, it is not a time to panic. There are still ways to cultivate the leads and relationships you have built, and even the possibility of successful business development. Here are some of the best ways to move the meter during this time:

 

1. Acknowledge Your Organization's Response and Preparedness with Leads and Customers

By communicating your response to this global pandemic, you reassure the world (more importantly your clients and leads) of your preparedness and the action you will be taking to strengthen your business against potential threats. This should be the first communication that is sent out during times of uncertainty.

 

2. Devote All Resources to Digital Outreach and Engagement

Like blogging for instance... During a time like this, you have the opportunity to spend more time on thought leadership, skills, and even virtual engagement. Just because offices are not open and people are not gathering does not mean that business is not moving forward in other ways. People are getting their information in other ways than they would normally so you should adjust your outreach accordingly.

 

3. Automate Your Sales Tasks and Optimize Your Client Relationship Management Systems(If You Haven't Already)

Since less time will be spent on in-person connecting and networking, you should visit repetitive sales tasks like documentation and initial outreach to determine if automation is possible. Examples include first-contact, confirmation follow-up and even touching base. It is quite possible you are already using a software suite that has this functionality. Common tools that can accommodate this are Salesforce, Hubspot, and other CRM tools that you currently use to manage and track your sales pipeline.

Expert Tip: Make sure to personalize any automated outreach so it is tailored to the recipient. This appears more personally crafted than a machine-generated communication.

 

4. Convey Support to Leads and Customers

It is a difficult time for all of us, and everyone has been affected in one way or another. Showing compassion and support at a time like this is more powerful than you think. This should be your second communication during this time.

 

5. Provide Solutions to Your Leads and Customers

What hardships are your clients and leads currently facing? Do you have suggested solutions or best practices to share with them? Providing solutions to your contacts can significantly improve strong relationships and build trust. Contacts remember this as times improve and progress becomes clearer.

 

Have any best practices that were not listed in this post? Share them with us on Twitter or LinkedIn. If you have any questions for the author, email obriena@foliofinancial.com.


1 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine

 

Topics: SRI, The SRI Conference

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