Guest Post by Stacey Wonder From the news coverage in past several months, it may seem that the world is on fire and the global economy is about to collapse. Granted, a part of the world was on fire (poor Aussies) and the global economy has taken a big hit, but we’re far from Hollywood movie levels of the apocalypse. While some industries like aviation and construction have been hit the hardest, some, like the food industry, is actually thriving. If you’re an eCommerce business, the odds are your sales figures are now in the middle. You may not be hit the hardest, but the sales are down enough for you to start looking for a solution. While we’re not approaching the end of times, consumer behavior sure changed due to the global lockdown. We as businesspeople just need to adjust to that. Here’s how to survive and thrive in the lockdown economy. Managing the team Working with customers during the times of the global pandemic is hard, but managing your team may prove even harder. Even though it feels necessary to focus primarily on handling your sales funnel. The problem is, with a team in disarray, you can’t really sell much. Ensure employee safety Mental health is the first thing that takes a hit when you get quarantined alone in your house. You need to keep on working, but you’re constantly surrounded by news telling you that unemployment numbers are on the rise. It can be hard to keep calm in this situation, and anxiety about being fired may be keeping you from being productive. The first thing you should do to keep your team on track is to be frank with them. Tell them exactly how well the business is doing right now and whether you’ll need to lay people off. Make sure you stress that you’re not going to fire people out of the blue and that remote work is not a mild step towards being let go. That alone will strengthen their trust and make them more productive. Supply hardware if needed Sales are not the most technically complicated job. However, if you want to be on top of your game in sales, you do need at least a fast laptop, a quality headset for voice calls, and a fast internet connection. If one of your team members doesn’t have access to that at home, they’re not giving it 100% even if they work harder. Make sure everybody in the team has the right hardware to tackle their job remotely and let them borrow something from the office if they don’t have it at home. Learn to work remotely Remote work can become even more productive than working from the office, but you do need to adjust to it first. Here are some helpful tips for staying productive as you manage your team: Hold meetings over video conference software Check up on employees who lack self-motivation Stay in touch to provide feedback and support to the team Use text chat software like Slack to use for fast communication Make sure each time has its own chatroom to handle minor details Create a general chatroom where employees can check the main goals for the week Create an off-topic chatroom where employees can socialize to keep the team bonded Maintain regular working hours, not to overwork employees Managing the sales process Now that you have a grip on managing the sales team remotely, let’s look at how you can improve sales growth. Share the burden with the customer The lockdown that currently influencers just about everyone can’t go unnoticed. You can’t keep up the same messaging that you had before the coronavirus. You need to address the elephant in the room and adjust accordingly. Do it by offering something exclusive to help your clients stay afloat during the pandemic. This can be anything that takes the pressure off. For instance, you can hold personal coaching sessions to help them master an aspect of the business you’re helping them with, a yearly license with delayed payment, or an exclusive guide for customers. Here is a great example of promoting special offers at the times of a lockdown: Amanda, a leading sales manager at Diamond Wish, suggests that throwing a sizable discount is a great way to keep customers engaged in these difficult times. You can facilitate more sales by prompting urgency. State that your offer is valid for a limited time only or suggest a deadline when the offer expires. This approach may not give you the best revenue figures for the months of quarantine, but will definitely build trust with your customers and generate cash flow that’s absolutely vital for your business right now. Turn to video presentation If your sales process is mainly focused on presenting something in person, there’s bad news for you. Most of the human interaction has to cease for the upcoming months, and there’s not much information on whether the lockdown will have to be repeated in the future. This means you need to adapt and move in-person interactions online. Invest in a good camera that you can stream with. This may help with client acquisition a lot. Whether you’re a real estate agent or a salesperson for a factory, you can effectively stream most of the showdowns to your clients, reducing the need for actual contact. Focus on client retention Even before the coronavirus pandemic, client retention has been a huge point for growth. Now that new qualified leads are harder to come by as budgets are shrinking, it becomes essential. Double down on retaining clients and reducing customer churn, and you may still have the cash flow needed to pull through this tough period. To that end, sales reps from Diamond Studs suggest that promotions and discounts are particularly effective for improving sales scripts to turn people that want to cancel into long-term customers. Create new content One of the positive sides of people all across the board being quarantined is that they tend to have a lot more free time on their hands. They may use it to gain some extra knowledge, so tap into this trend and double down on content creation. Create stellar content that will show the online community you’re an expert in your industry and draw people to your brand. This may not translate into sales right now, but surely has great long-term potential. Managing the challenges ahead Sure, managing the sales process during the pandemic can be difficult, but it's not impossible. If you optimize your workflow for remote work, and help your clients cope with the pandemic as well, you may come out of it stronger than you were before. Use this time of crisis to strengthen the bond of your team, create better business solutions, and put your name out there by content marketing. Stacey Wonder is a content marketer who enjoys sharing best practices for self-development and careers with others. In her free time, Stacey is fond of contemporary dance and classic French movies.