How to manage your B2B sales during coronavirus outbreak?
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In B2B businesses, business continuity is mostly a formality or just one of those clauses that you need to formulate a policy for. However, we are actually in one of those phases today, and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has had its impact on everyone. B2B businesses are no exceptions and many are struggling to keep their clients as the panic is taking over.
In this post, we will talk about the impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on the B2B sales world and give you some tips to ensure your customers stay calm, and you manage your b2B sales in a better manner.
How does coronavirus impact the world of B2B sales?
The biggest factor that has emerged to put a dent in B2B sales is the low level of confidence in the consumers. Face-to-face appointments and events are no longer an option, not for a long time and the cost of cancellation of all these events is not a small one. This means there are missed opportunities in partnerships and investments.
There is no way to determine how long this pandemic is going to do the rounds. Though the SARS outbreak was way smaller, but it still cost the global economy an alarming $40 billion.
Apart from the events being canceled, most of the businesses have closed up and are managing with remote working options. However, not all companies can function through remote working. This is why most of the B2B clients too have a strong concern about delays in production along with lowered consumer confidence and inventory shortages in the months to follow. Even the US stock market and the global economy is taking a blow, the coronavirus scare only seems to feed on it and get stronger.
Leads are pulling out from promising situations, as people are securing their budgets and tightening their proverbial purse strings.
All this, and more paints a pretty bleak picture of the future. However, that does not mean you should simply let prospects and clients go! In fact, this is the time to become more proactive, regroup and make sure that you make your customers feel secure.
How to manage your B2B sales during coronavirus outbreak?
Yes, it is a pandemic that is causing unpredictable, insurmountable loss, of human life and businesses. However, that should not mean you should simply give up. It can be a little overwhelming as you try and decide whether you should give up on getting new leads, should you go to your customer database, and how are you going to address the face to face meetings with potential buyers that are now all canceled!
Here are a few tips to help you keep your customers (and yourself) calm and easily manage your B2B sales during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Keep calm
- Move your customers online
- Look after & communicate with your existing customers
- Put your employees first
- Secure liquidity
Obvious, I know. Still it is important that you consciously make an effort to take things in a calm composed manner so that you do not lose sight of what needs to be done instead of becoming panicky and impulsive.
This has happened before, maybe not on this scale, but we did face SARS and H1N1 and came out of it. We will come out of this as well. Keep faith and keep calm. This is the time to figure out ways in which you shall resume work during and after the pandemic is over.
Let’s face it! Almost the entire world is in a lock down. It is important that you offer your customers a way out. Your customers and the end consumers are really low on confidence. No one is going to step out for a face to face meeting or even invite you over for one. It is prudent to act responsibly, and practice social distancing as advised by WHO.
This is the perfect time to encourage your customers to move online. Whether they are ordering from you, selling their goods, or are planning to get together for a meeting. The idea is to make it possible for you and the customers to conduct the business, as usual, but online.
This means they need not come to your physical address, nor do you need to step out. Let them order online, make video calls and conferences and encourage them to see that it does work!
One great way to do this is by creating an ecommerce app that your customers can use, and adding a chatbot to it, so that your customers do not lose confidence in you!
You are having a tough time keeping your business up and running, guess what? So are your customers. Loads of businesses are taking care of their customers like streaming companies are giving away free content, banks are waiving off delay charges, restaurants are offering takeaways or deliveries. You must also make sure that you are doing something for your customers.
Identify the areas that are affected the worst with the pandemic. In these areas you can offer additional discounts or benefits like free delivery to help them out.
Make sure that your stock caters to your existing customers instead of shipping out to new, one time buyers.
Extend your invoice payment dates for the companies that are facing financial troubles. Make sure that these companies get all their orders in time and extend any benefits possible to help them manage their finances better.
Yes, you must make your clients comfortable, but this is also the time to make sure that your employees do not feel insecure or abandoned. Understand that there is a lot of mental and emotional stress on everyone. Not only are they trying to keep the work going but are facing unexpected situations. You must educate the team on how to keep themselves safe and try every measure possible to keep your employees calm.
As a business owner, it is imperative that you have clarity about what you can sacrifice when the going gets tough. To make sure that happens, have multiple scenarios laid out ahead of time. In each one of this scenario, make sure to include
- The variables that affect your revenue including the numbers, analytics, and the inputs or insights from the experts.
- A financial outline including the balance sheet, profit earned, loss incurred, cash flow etc.
- Any triggers that may impact liquidity and the means to address them, including account optimization, divestments, strategies for any possible merger or acquisition, cost cutting, and more.
The sooner you start working on preparing for these scenarios, better are your chances of having a clear view of the liquidity even as the coronavirus outbreak is taking over.
Get a handle on your supply chain
Since the outbreak started in China, there was an obvious disruption in the supply chains that were connected to them. Numerous factories had to shut down and the impact is yet to surface. Though the bigger companies are back to working full steam ahead, still there are going to be delays and certain disruptions.
The important thing here is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of the effect the coronavirus community transmission has had on your supply chain. Only when you have this clarity would you be able to sail through this pandemic, and also prepare for the next phase.
Create more content
This is the golden period for your marketing efforts. Explore new strategies, create content in multiple formats including visuals, blogs, short form content, videos, social campaigns and more. Research and come up with materials your audience will relate to. Add value to your brand and make it rich, memorable, and visible to the right audience.
To sum it up, the most important thing is to make sure that you stay informed, communicate with all the stakeholders including your employees, your customers, and your vendors. This is a pandemic, naturally there is going to be an impact, however, you can plan in a way that you come out of it, unharmed and on the top.
This is a great time to upgrade. Learn a new skill or polish up a skill you already have. Appy Pie Academy has a range of courses across multiple categories that can help you learn new things and add weight to your portfolio. Check it out and enroll now!