The impact of the pandemic on our businesses and the economy has been catastrophic. Small businesses are distressed, and as a result, nearly 40 million Americans have been estimated to have lost their jobs.
While we still haven’t fully recovered from the damage, economic activity will slowly crawl back to pre-COVID levels and sales teams need to brace themselves for it. But unlike other recessions, the market will have changed quite a bit. There has been a shift in consumer behavior due to quarantines and they’re likely to stay that way once restrictions are lifted.
Through this article, we’ll explore these changes, and accordingly how you should reconnect with your leads post-pandemic.
Things to keep in mind while reconnecting with leads
Like we mentioned — new purchasing habits and behaviors have taken over the markets during quarantines. If your target audience falls into the group of businesses that will no longer be relevant post-pandemic, your teams will need to shift their focus to new markets.
Even though businesses might be shutting down, people running them won’t. Recessions are great opportunities to start new businesses and go after new markets. Entrepreneurs whose businesses might have failed during the pandemic might be moving on to a new venture, and they could still be a potential customer.
There’ll also be a lot of effort to support new businesses. Founders will be active in peer networks seeking resources, connections, and general help to kickstart and grow their businesses. So getting introduced and participating in such communities will help you generate new leads and engage with existing ones in new ways.
Scarcity or lack of capital will also be the theme across these new and existing companies. If you can offer attractive financing or a value-based, pay as you go pricing structure, it will be helpful in reconnecting with your leads.
Keeping these points in mind let’s now move forward with strategies and tips to re-engage and connect with your leads post-pandemic.
7 steps to reconnect with leads post-pandemic
1. Pivot to selling over online channels
Travel restrictions are in effect and online conferencing tools are increasingly becoming the new norm for one-on-one interactions. Your leads are likely getting used to this too, and are the most comfortable in using those channels. If any part of your sales involved offline mediums, communicating using those would be more intrusive than ever, apart from not getting you enough attention.
With the prospecting and outreach tools like SalesHandy available today, this is easier than ever. Once you have the means to get in touch and engage with them, get to know them before you actually reach out.
2. Dig into leads’ businesses before reaching out
Before you reach out, it is essential to look into your lead’s business for context. Check their website, LinkedIn, Yelp reviews, Google Business, Social media handles like Twitter, Facebook, etc. to look for hints as to how they’re doing. Look for what their customers are talking about them on review platforms like Yelp, Google Business, or G2, Facebook user posts, comments, Reddit, etc.
You can also look into website traffic data using sites like Ahrefs, SimilarWeb, Alexa, etc. Using Linkedin’s Sales Navigator, you can also see trends around hiring and team strength — these are things that indirectly tie to a businesses’ health.
Looking through these social and web profiles on your leads will give you hints on how they’ve been doing during the Pandemic. For example, dropping traffic shows they themselves aren’t generating as many leads. If they haven’t published a blog for a while, they’re probably cutting down on Marketing spends, and so on. This will help you restart the conversion with some context and direction.
3. Reach out to update and take stock
Once you’ve done research on your lead’s businesses and their status during the pandemic, it’s time you reach out. The first email as part of the re-engagement campaign should be regarding updates on your side. This could include things like growth/declines in your business, updates from other customers, Covid safety measures, new initiatives and measures you’re taking for your customers to recover from losses, etc. After you’re done with that, you should move on to ask how they’ve been doing. If you found something concerning during your research, what they’re doing about it, if they need help with it, and so on.
4. Expedite connecting to decision-makers
By now you’ll know if your lead’s business is operational based on responses to your outreach. If they’re doing well, your next step has to be to take the deal forward by discussing the specifics around it. If your point of contact (POC) is the decision-maker, introduce the idea of moving toward the next steps(Demos, Integrations, Trials, etc) to them.
If they aren’t the decision-maker, either ask for an introduction on priority or directly reach out to them with your POC in the loop. Business leaders will be busy during times like these, so it is essential that you get their attention and buy-in to move the deal further towards closure, or risk getting stuck.
5. Create urgency, frame new value statements
While you’re engaging with the decision-makers, reckon what might appeal to them in order to get convinced to move further. Per your initial research and engagements with your POC, you’ll have context on their priorities. Use it to create urgency and new value propositions that fall in line with these priorities. Like mentioned earlier, decision-makers are likely to be busier and more anxious, and you’ll have to fight a little to get their attention.
With value propositions that directly align with their business priorities post-pandemic, you’ll make it easier for both parties to engage and close as early as possible.
Part of creating urgency and being in your lead’s mind space has to do with regular follow-ups. If you’ve decided to move forward but notice a delay between responses, make sure you’re following-up. This is especially important given your leads might not be focused on procuring new solutions, but instead intend to save costs while recovering from the pandemic.
Following-up with them shows them your commitment and care along with helping you stay on top of their inbox. Use the tried and tested methods to follow-up, and it will ensure your deals aren’t stuck in the pipeline and extending past your sales cycle.
7. Respect timelines and re-engage later
Despite following-up multiple times, you’ll always find leads that don’t respond and drop off the radar. Either that or you’ll be told that they’re no longer interested in proceeding, despite their commitments in the past. This is normal — not every lead you come across is supposed to convert.
You will see leads dropping off at every stage of the sales cycle, and past certain timelines, you’ll have to let go and re-engage with such leads later. This will help both parties save on time and heartbreak. Having strict timelines for deal closure and moving on to engaging new leads will enable you to engage with leads who’re more likely to convert, rather than vice versa.
Reach out, follow-up and be resourceful
Whether your leads’ business is operational or has had to shut down – reaching out to them and offering them help will give you the chance of being part of their new ventures. Follow-up with them, offer them alternative pricing or payment options, or whatever else it might take to keep the relationship going. You can also offer to introduce them to your network and peers, who could be resourceful to your leads in their own ways and get them back on track.
Recessions and setbacks are part of business, but that doesn’t have to end your relationships with your leads. Be resourceful to them in any viable way possible, and you’re likely to retain them or get referred by them over the long term.