How to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full During a Global Crisis
If you’re like most business owners or leaders, you’re concerned about how your sales pipeline can survive a global lockdown.
You’ve seen how your business is being affected by the coronavirus outbreak in both direct and indirect ways, and you’re probably worried about the future of your sales.
Many stakeholders have stopped making purchase decisions—they’ve pressed “pause” on their buying journey. As a result, your prospects may not be responding to your emails. How can you keep your pipeline full when many people are exiting it at the same time? In this article, we’re going to share some tips and strategies to help you through not only during the current crisis, but any crises to come.
Drive leads to your sales pipeline with content marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate new leads for your business.
If your current leads are jumping ship, you need to start attracting new leads. When was the last time you released new content like a blog post, podcast episode, YouTube video, ebook, white paper, or case study? All of these draw attention to you, your business, and, ultimately, your sales funnel, both from organic traffic and by letting Google know you’re still producing relevant, timely content.
Now is the ideal time to create something new and share it via social media, email, and any other suitable channel. Some types of content have been proven to gain more backlinks, which increases your Google authority and the shareability of your articles. Instructional/informative ebooks, “How-To” articles, and opinion pieces that take a firm (even semi-controversial) stand are all great ideas for content you should be creating right now.
People are hungry for information and guidance, and they’ll likely eat up your content. That content leads to more awareness, which creates more leads, keeping your sales pipeline moving along.
Reach out to past customers and improve your documentation
Have you been paying attention to past customers? Until this point, you may have been so busy with new leads that you forgot about people from your past. This is an excellent time to re-engage with them since they’re already familiar with your business and don’t need as much priming.
One of the keys to re-engaging old customers is a strong system for sales documentation. Leads and prospects get lost easily, especially as your company becomes larger. Emails slip through the cracks, key bits of information from sales calls get forgotten, and even contact info gets lost in the daily shuffle. You may have also lost a prospect in the past because your software or service didn’t have a particular feature they wanted. Sales documentation involves almost obsessive levels of note-taking and note-sharing about every aspect of a sales call or potential lead, which can help you avoid these lost opportunities.
If you’ve since added such a feature, you can check your comprehensive sales documentation for deal-breakers that are now irrelevant.
You may think that these past customers are done with you, but circumstances and needs change over time. Additionally, they may know someone else who could benefit from your product or service.
Embrace new customer engagement technology
Have you been avoiding video marketing, or are you worried about technologies like chatbots and automation? Now is the best time to start experimenting with new tech tools, which can help you gain a competitive advantage and keep you relevant.
Chatbots catch leads you might miss. Chatbots and ecommerce have practically become inseparable, but almost any business can benefit from at least dipping a toe in the chatbot pool. Chatbots can engage customers just as they’re thinking of clicking away from your site by offering to answer questions that potential leads may have been thinking about (but hesitant to ask a person).
Chatbots aren’t just the traditional pop-up on your website anymore, either. Large, successful companies are using chatbot technology in combination with existing message apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s no surprise that courting messenger apps is paying off: chat apps have recently surpassed social media in popularity for the first time.
Conversational AI can augment your lead qualification process. More than a chatbot, conversational AI tools like Exceed can respond to outreach emails effectively, answer questions for clients, and follow up on leads that may have slipped through the cracks. They do this through an advanced heuristic program called a virtual sales development rep, which can respond to and reply back in naturalistic language to handle the beginning of most customer/client relationships.
Now is the best time to start experimenting with new tech tools, which can help you gain a competitive advantage and keep you relevant. If your pipelines are looking empty, then you likely have more time on your hands to focus on tasks like professional development and innovation. Take the time to explore these new possibilities and discover how they could potentially help you build your business.
Turn your focus to internal development
If your pipelines are looking empty, you likely have more time on your hands to focus on tasks like professional development and innovation.
An internally-facing strategy focused on your employees and sales practices, along with a little R&D on new tactics and tools, is always a good investment. Sales skills can be taught, and using this pause to set up further training for your team will increase the efficacy of your sales pipeline over the long term.
Take the time to explore these new possibilities and discover their potential to help you build your business.
Now is the time to experiment
The businesses that are savvy about rebuilding now are the ones that will endure for the next 10 years or more.
If you’re simply waiting for this difficult period to pass, you’re wasting precious time you could be using to fill your pipeline and redefine your brand. Seize the opportunity!