How to create demand in times of uncertainty

July 28, 2020 Emily Ward

This is a time for reinvention and value proposition strengthening, but most importantly, it’s a time for empathy. You can do all of this while creating demand to ensure your business remains relevant to customers and comes out of this pandemic strong. As uncertain as these times are, we need to keep up with the momentum of moving forward.

Here’s what we recommend to start your journey on reconnecting with your customers and creating demand.

Connect.

Since none of us have all of the answers around this pandemic right now, it’s best to make meaningful connections with customers. It could be just to say hello and see how they’re coping during these times. This may not be the conversation to start talking business, the less “ambulance chasing,” the better. But, it’s a start to let the customer know you’re thinking of them, which will leave a lasting impression—at the same time, connecting with the customer, either the first contact or after a series of connections. If there’s an opening by the customer to talk business, put yourself into their shoes – empathize – to help understand their pain points from their perspective. Listening to them at this point is key, and proposed solutions or next steps shared later. The customer will want to know that you truly have their best interests at heart. In return, you can expect increased trust and loyalty.

Sales.

The above practices can apply to your sales organization as well. How are they coping? What challenges are they facing when connecting with customers? This is an area for discovery as well since they’ll hear directly from customers what their challenges are and how you can potentially help them. Ensure the approach with customers is unified across the organization for consistent customer experience.

Marketing. 

This is the team that can help you with organizing and propelling your efforts for a better customer experience. Have them sit in discussions around the new sales strategy, as this is their chance to provide you with opportunities to engage with customers. Some of the ways we’re doing this with customers are:

  • Having a virtual lunch-and-learn and then following up with an e-gift card for them to order from any food delivery service for lunch.
  • Hosting a digital campfire. If you’re using Zoom or Microsoft teams, use a background with a fireplace to give it that cozy feel. You can host this as a Q&A session or invite an existing customer for an interview on a solution you facilitated for them.
  • Sending a personalized yet straightforward email with a request for feedback. You can use a form with no more than 3-4 questions and offer an incentive for completion. You can follow up with customized emails based on their feedback (Account Based Marketing).
  • Having some fun with your customers and hosting a happy hour. You can send them their beverage of choice, a charcuterie board, etc., in advance. Avoid lulls in conversation with some fun ice-breaker questions.

Get Ahead.

This is also an ideal time to complete projects that you’ve had to put on hold. Here are some examples:

  • Look into your customer insights and data. How are you building this information and, what sort of analytics do you have to build targeted campaigns for Account-Based Marketing?
  • Does your website need a refresh? Is it collecting leads? A website audit is a good idea to ensure content is relevant and updated. Do you have clear CTAs (Call-to-Actions) for partners to drive leads?
  • Refresh your social media sites and blogs, remove old content and images.
  • Take some training! Check up on your and your organization's certifications to ensure they're up to date. Encourage associates to update their skills in areas anywhere from project management, to marketing, finance, development, and more. There are lots of free courses available online, but you'll want to make sure they're credible and up with industry trends. Skills platforms like Pluralsight have a large variety of courses to select from with a Skills IQ to test your knowledge and get you started on the right learning path.

Ingram Micro can facilitate any of the solutions or activities above for you and your customers.

About the Author

Emily Ward

Digital Marketing & Event Services Manager at Ingram Micro Canada

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