Doing More With Less: Is Coronavirus Sparking a New Normal?
Navigating these recent tough times has been challenging and it seems it will only get more difficult in the coming months. On a personal level, I can’t help but feel like this is a sign to slow down, enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with a loved one, pick up that book that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand again, breathe, and reflect. But, that’s a post for another day.
I’m most concerned and focused on how businesses, small and large, will need to get creative to figure out how to do more with less to stay afloat, or better yet try to sustain growth through this. As stated in the latest Gartner Insight Report, “This unexpected and unprecedented event has forced brands to develop innovative and sometimes unexpected responses. The outbreak has also brought changes in consumer behavior, media consumption and social and e-commerce platforms that require brands to reprioritize digital investments.” There are several aspects of this new reality that may seem totally dismal right now, but if you squint really hard you may be able to see some opportunities too.
Scale Faster, with Fewer People
It’s a sad truth that many companies across the globe will be laying off employees in large numbers in the next couple of weeks. Goldman Sachs predicts that more than 2 million Americans will file for unemployment claims by next week, pointing to "an unprecedented surge in layoffs this week." (source) It’s something I never thought I’d see on this scale in my lifetime… so, how can a company continue to deliver with such a lean team? With fewer sales reps, fewer marketers, and fewer customer success managers on payroll it’s absolutely critical to lean into automated digital tools.
According to one of the largest platforms for the global advisory industry, “In today’s rapidly digitizing world, organizations can no longer disregard automation and the adoption of technologies, and digital is key for any business to survive in a post Coronavirus world.” It will be important to build out strategic, thoughtful, effective automated touchpoints to nurture leads, to facilitate sales cycles, and to deliver important information/instructions to customers.
Be Empathetic, with Digital Outreach
As social distancing becomes more and more critical, there are fewer opportunities for face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers. Cultivating your brand’s digital presence is now a must-have. Consumers are spending more time in their email inboxes and on their social media channels, so take this time to reflect on the go-to-market materials you have in place right now. What are you currently sharing or planning to share through these channels? It will be important to infuse a heightened level of empathy, supportive messaging, and perhaps softer calls-to-action. Tread lightly, and “read the room” so to speak. It’s one thing to have touchpoints going out, but it’s another to have the RIGHT touchpoints going out.
Remain Agile, with Experts by Your Side
There will be new technology, new strategies and new approaches to pretty much everything as organizations cut costs and operationalize in a new way. It’s essential to remain agile during this time. Put a team of experts from various fields around you to help navigate your next move. Instead of your powerhouse sales & marketing team you had in place last month, you may need to now find confidence in leaning into the expertise of a consultant or an outsourced marketing team.
Jordan Strauss, a risk consultant interviewed by CNBC recently said, “While it’s normal to focus on what is happening right now, especially in light of the constantly changing situation, small business owners also need to spend time thinking about how to rebuild once this is all over.” It can be difficult to discern what to do next or how to appropriately plan for what’s ahead so ask for help from those who can jump right in and provide it.