Corona and Sales: 5 Questions for Owners and CEOs

Photo: Lital Paz and Assaf Luxembourg (taken long before Corona crisis).
Photo: Lital Paz and Assaf Luxembourg (taken long before Corona crisis).

Here are five key questions which every business owner, CEO and sales executive should ask themselves during the current Corona crisis.

Co-written with Lital Paz, MBA, Sales, Biz-Dev and Marketing Consultant & Trainer. Head of Biz-Dev Retail, Manufacturing & Haifa Cluster at BDO Israel.

Just like all over the world, also in Israel, most markets, industries and businesses are taking a huge hit right now. Aside of specific markets such as food distributors and medical equipment, in most industries uncertainty generates tension, and the unknowns bring many to cut any costs, and enclose themselves as a company, waiting for better times.

This is well understood, and even necessary. But it’s not a growth strategy. Following the previous post about how not to miss the current Corona opportunity, Realizing that nothing good will happen in the short-term (not even when things go back to normal, as it will take some time) is exactly the key to unlock your opportunity for the long-term.

  1. Which new needs have already risen in your market? Your customers are undergoing major changes right now. The best sales will come from figuring out how can you help them deal with those changes. Envisioning yourself as their trusted adviser – their challenge is your challenge.
    • Digital transformation – If you still don’t know how to digitally engage with your customers – it could be the best thing Corona will do to your business. Online sales operation, backed by live video/chat advisory and customer success and support is not a short-term solution for Corona, but a long-term investment in growth. Consider it as such. If you have customers who fall into that category – helping them undergo this inevitable transformation as a service may be the best thing you ever do for them…
    • Live video service – If investing in digital transformation is out of the question right now, you could use free tools such as video conference or even phone calls to engage with your customers, use WhatsApp to demo your products, and think unconventional. These are unconventional times.
  2. Do you have products and services worth putting at the front right now? Probably yes. Communicate with your customers and get them comfortable to share their current situation, needs, pains and concerns. It could be that all they need right now is a should to cry upon. Even if it’s not “sales”, you want that shoulder to be yours. If you can strengthen them and give them some security and hope – it’s a great reputation amplifier. If you discover needs you cannot fulfill, you may want to be the person who found the answer for them. And if you do know how to address their needs  – well, you know what to do…
  3. Can you quickly develop and offer a solution to discovered needs? Look at products and services which are at the front right now. Do you have a capability, potential service or a product which could come in tangent with them? Consider collaboration with those who are at the front right now, and how can you help them do better. Can such a collaboration be relevant to the market also after the Corona crisis is over?
  4. Do you have a current opportunity to enter new markets? For most of us, the answer is probably “yes.” If you are able to acquire new kinds of customers and reach new target audiences, ask yourself: will this be relevant also after the Corona crisis is over? If “yes” – go for it. If “no”, but the investment right now is minimal – go for it.
  5. Which new needs are likely to rise in your market? This one goes back to the first question, but instead of present-facing, be also future-facing. Corona is not likely to terminate the human race, and the current (almost) global lockdown is not likely to survive for long. It just can’t. Also, time has this physical tendency of moving forward at a pace of one minute per minute… Looking ahead, Passover is coming, Winter will end in the northern hemisphere, markets will take time to recover after going back to normal – where does that put you? How can you use the current take to create a competitive advantage for the day after tomorrow?

To follow up on the previous post about how not to miss the current Corona opportunity, where it said “don’t make strategic long-term decisions based on short-term circumstances” – also know to take advantage of those short-term circumstances to advance your strategic long-term goals.

Stay healthy!

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Originally posted by Lital Paz on LinkedIn.

Co-written with Lital Paz, MBA. Lital is a sales, business development and marketing consultant & trainer. Lital also heads the Business Development Retail, Manufacturing & Haifa Cluster at BDO Israel.

About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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