There’s no shortage right now of tips for how to work from home and how to run virtual events (including ours). But more and more companies are taking on the bigger story, which is that these are uncertain times and that should change how we use our time and resources. Though it’s tempting to say “business as usual” because that should create stability, it’s not our best bet. In fact, it may be impossible. Instead, you must consider ways you and your team can use time differently and support physical, mental and business health in the days ahead.
Since at Engagio, we’re most qualified to make suggestions for revenue teams about growth and engagement, that’s what we’ll do. We say a big thank you to those who are sharing ideas and resources for other areas of life and work, and we encourage everyone to find your own ways to help.
For now, here are four ideas from us.
Make Time for Projects in the “Upper Right” Quadrant
What’s an “upper right” project? If you create a four-box model with time (low to high) on the x-axis, and impact (low to high) on the y-axis, the projects that take a longer time but have a bigger impact fall in the upper-right box. Often, these are projects we put off because we don’t believe we have the time right now, even if the payoff could be significant. This is a moment to reconsider those projects, especially if they are more about people and time than extra money.
When distraction is unavoidable, whether from the news cycle or caregiving responsibilities, it’s a perfect time to kick off projects that let your team manage their time in a flexible way. Large projects can allow for that, especially if they’re not being done with a looming deadline that adds stress. The other benefit can be allowing teams to adopt an internal project they’re passionate about but have had trouble gaining support to begin. It helps people stay connected to meaningful work, while also building something important for the business.
Data clean up– we all have this work to do!
Comprehensive content audit by industry, business need, buying stage, etc.
Training/learning content audit and update
Target account selection process update and refresh (check out our Marketing Operations pro Tom Keefe’s post on 7 Steps to Build the Best Target Account Model)
Updated Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Total Addressable Market (TAM) refresh
Customer lifecycle journey mapping for post-sale, by customer persona
Buyers journey update/refresh by buyer persona that reflects a no-event view for the time being
Buyer and customer persona refresh (and providing enablement on them)
Vertical market prioritization/expansion and readiness analysis
Customer advocacy program and reference process update
Chat bot or other interactive experience improvement
Competitive intelligence content and delivery refresh
Report and dashboard house cleaning and update
Performance and budget benchmarking
Large-scale primary research or long-form content development
Amplify Efforts Around Account and Contact Research
It may be tempting to keep up a high level of outbound marketing and social sharing, but beware. If your industry and audience dynamics say that’s a smart and ethical choice, then go for it. But for many of us, a pause may be in order. Let’s give our buying communities a chance to wrap their heads and lives around the sudden changes affecting us all. At the same time, we hear smart marketing and sales leaders noting that if the need for your business’s solution hasn’t gone away, it’s not beyond the pale to keep up the messaging and outreach. If you choose to keep going, then by all means make that outreach worthwhile.
Help your marketers, business development reps (BDRs) and account teams make their efforts more effective by improving the insights they have about prospects and customers. Rather than a generic message of any kind, show your teams how to do quality research on companies and the contacts in them that you want to engage. Take advantage of the data you have to create more complete profiles of your target audience, then craft meaningful messages and offers that speak to their needs.
Make sure to find a way to document and share what is learned across the revenue team. Insights only help if everyone can find them. If BDRs have to slow down outbound calling, consider asking that team to put some time toward gathering extensive account and people insights.Don’t forget to add fields for reporting and the ability to take action when needed. If this is normally a rushed effort with limited impact on messaging, investing more in learning about customers and the market will be time well spent and will help the entire revenue team when it’s appropriate to start engaging again.
Make Time for Revenue Team Learning and Development
Most leaders know it is essential to help our teams stay curious and keep learning. Whether it’s training on a new technology or other tool, taking an (online) course or simply making time to be part of a learning community to develop skills, this is a perfect moment. Learning is an act of hope. Give your team the space to do this work. Learning together can help sustain your community while they’re not co-located and help each team member find an optimistic narrative in trying times.
One example of a low-cost but high-value option: Read together. At Engagio, we have a book club that meets every month (ask Brandon Redlinger about that!). The team chooses a book and makes time to discuss how to apply what they’ve learned. Some of the books we’ve read include Turn the Ship Around, Never Split the Difference, and Trillion Dollar Coach. I’ve seen whole leadership teams, companies, even my own little town in Connecticut, invite the community to read the same book and find ways to reflect and share insights.
Another idea: Encourage collaboration and connection around sharing what works (and what doesn’t). Ask each team member to talk through a stroy where they learned something that day or week, depending on how often you meet. At Engagio, we’re holding daily standups for each function and that’s a perfect opportunity to formalize what we call “Knowledge Share” and celebrate the wins they highlight, too.
Finally, one more suggestion: Use this time to build the “soft” skills that can mean everything to team and company success. Many revenue team professionals want to improve their ability to communicate, whether in writing, public speaking or how to improve conversations with executives. Ask internal people already skilled in these areas to set up learning groups as another way to foster engagement with remote workers and help those asked to share their knowledge pay it forward to their team members.
Focus On Helping Customers Succeed
Right now is an ideal time to focus as much as you possibly can on helping your customers succeed. They bought your solution for a reason and hopefully the current world hasn’t made that reason irrelevant. Remember, retention is a growth strategy. Help your account teams, including customer success and service/support, do their best to be extra observant about disconnects between what a customer is currently doing with your solution and what they could be doing. Ask for and celebrate examples of account teams who go the extra mile to understand client needs and connect them to how your solution can help– without trying to sell anything.
Set up an early warning system. Make sure to pay attention to changes in product or service usage. Make sure new customers complete all the onboarding and learning you offer. Monitor customer feedback via all channels, from surveys to social media to review sites. Do additional insight gathering on your customers’ company, industries and initiatives. While it may be harder for account teams to look for growth right now, they can use this time to learn and engage with clients to make sure they’re getting the most from their current investments.
Don’t forget that doubling down on retention efforts should include asking product management and development teams to focus an increasing share of time on fixing problems and improving user experience. Right now, making someone’s day just a little better by making your solution better seems like the right thing to do.