The natural temptation for many firms in a time of market crisis will be to batten down the hatches and wait for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to fade. The problem with this approach is that it is unclear how long the disruption will last and many firms will not have the resources or staying power to survive it. More importantly, if you lock down your activities – and strip out costs – it will be extremely difficult to restart the engine and generate momentum in the future.
CEOs, especially of smaller fintech firms, should consider doing the opposite. In times of stress, your true colors are most visible, and clients will remember you for how you act and the support you show them. This is an opportunity to build strong relationships that turn into sales by establishing (or confirming) the value of your products and services, especially in turbulent markets.
Top tips for CEOs
1. Consider providing ‘free’ add-on services to clients
If you provide modular, low-to-no incremental cost (to you) cloud-based technologies, why not offer a free upgrade to all clients for the next six months? If these are easily offered or delivered, you will be providing a valuable service while building proof of your value and strengthening your relationship with clients.
2. Concentrate your sales efforts
There is little point trying to pursue major enterprise-wide deals unless there is an immediate application or need. Focus on communicating your value where it is perceived as being an essential business aid at this time; the other sales efforts can wait.
3. Communicate actively with status updates
Provide regular news and information on your services, including any enhancements that specifically might be of use to firms at this time. At the worst, it demonstrates that you are actively engaged in the business and not frozen in the headlights.
4. Dial-up your marketing and communications activities
For some clients, business has never been better as their services are even more helpful at this time. For others, it is an extreme challenge. Either way, it is never going to be more important to make your role in supporting the industry heard. Now is the time to be relevant; marketing and communication more generally helps make this happen and also can increase your ‘share of voice’. The sales may not come tomorrow, but you will be best positioned for when the markets normalize.
5. Be digital
The coronavirus is likely to leave a longer-term impact of tele-working and this will increase the role of digital communication. Investing in the way you engage digitally would be smart, as you can almost certainly be assured that this is one way you will always be able to impact your clients.
6. Rethink your business
It’s a great time to re-assess the fundamental positioning of your business. It’s going to be a while before the next ‘new normal’ is reached. Take advantage of the opportunity to build a plan for the future as well as for today. Knee-jerk reactions, such as slashing costs, may make you think you are doing something, but a smart strategy for your business is what will reap longer-term benefits and ensure you stick around.
Does your firm need assistance with your communications strategy during these turbulent times? Contact us.
Tags: Business Continuity, communications, Coronavirus, COVID19, Marketing, PR