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Pandemic Prospecting

by David Brock on April 24th, 2020

I don’t mean to be insensitive to the challenges we all face in dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic. We all are struggling, individually, community-wise, and organizationally to stay healthy, to cope, and understand how to move forward.

As we look at our own companies, every organization has had to reset their plans to adjust to the new realities presented by this global health and economic crisis.

In many ways, the pandemic has created an opportunity rich environment for us. Our customers, like us, are struggling to understand, to cope, to develop strategies to move forward. Their issues are less about “if we change,” but more that “change is mandatory, but how/what do we change?” For many, the ability to do this means their survival as enterprises and businesses.

They are facing circumstances they have never faced before. They must adapt and change, but, again, they struggle with what that means, how to change, how to recover, how to manage the risks–both to their people, their organizations, and their own customers/suppliers.

But while we face an opportunity rich environment, we need to be very focused and selective with those we prospect. This may seem counter to what managers and executives may be directing sales people to do. As each of our companies struggle to cope, to recover and start rebuilding revenue growth, the temptation is to cast a wider net. Of course this is not new, it seems the solution to building pipeline has always been casting a wider net, getting further away from our ideal customers, despite continued evidence that it doesn’t work.

But as we prospect now, it’s even more important to be hyper-focused. Customers are struggling, they need and want help. They are moving from cost reduction and cash preservation to revenue generation, risk management, and cash-flow management.

Our customers are very focused on the projects that have the greatest impact on their short term recovery goals. At the same time, they are still trying to figure out what those goals might be and which projects they might prioritize.

We become much more impactful and effective by viciously narrowing our focus. We must focus on the problems we are the best in the world at solving, and those customers having the highest sense of urgency in addressing these problems now. Customers are changing, they are buying, but they are focused only on those things most critical now.

Of course, none of this is new. Focusing on our ideal customers and those who are committed to change has always been the cornerstone of effective prospecting. But the intensity of our customers’ focus and the urgency they have to act create huge opportunities for them, and as a result for us.

Revenue recovery, risk management, cash-flow management is the highest priority for our customers and us. We have a huge opportunity, but we capture it by narrowing our focus and helping the customer learn how we help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

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