Maintaining a Sales Pipeline during a Crisis

While the fear, uncertainty and doubt of the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic are underway here in the United States, business professionals who are responsible for the sales and marketing of their companies are wondering how to maintain their sales pipeline.

Life and death decisions are always more important in times like these. In-person meetings, event marketing, and the economy take a different priority.

There are things that professionals can do to maintain their business sales pipeline during this uncertain time.

  • Working remotely from home
  • Communicate with customers
  • Communicate with employees
  • Maintain perspective
  • Build relationships and alliances where you have capabilities and others have needs
  • Make use of technology when it makes sense: Zoom, Skype

Depending on your products and services, it may not be an opportune time to communicate and your time would be better spent preparing for two, three months from now.

Training: Not sure how to use the technology? Lynda.com offers some very helpful videos. Many libraries have purchased a subscription to Lynda that you can access with your library card.

Regroup on business development: Time to work on refreshing your marketing materials, website, and more during these changing times. Now that your business travel has been curtailed, use the time to revise your planning and materials as needed.

 

Top Tips for Handling a PR Crisis

Getting exposure for a brand by building awareness with the target market is often one of the top goals of a marketing communication plan.

But what about when things go wrong and your brand gets exposure you haven’t expected?

Take a look at these top tips for handling a PR crisis so you can be prepared when the unexpected happens.

Your first instinct may not be the right one. Proper planning can help reduce damage.  Special thanks to NewsExposure for the use of their infographic.

Top Tips For Handling A PR Crisis from News Exposure

Using Color to Position Your Brand

Branding and Marketing professionals know that it’s important to understand color when selecting the right package, logo or to position for your brand.

You’ll want to know the feelings and meanings of colors when you are marketing your product, developing a logo to represent your brand or creating your website. There are so many color choices and they all communicate emotions. It’s important to know those feelings when choosing something that is a representation of your brand.

Looking at the competitors’ choices is one place to begin, but when selecting colors for your brand, whether it is for a website with call to action buttons or golf shirts for your trade show or the accent colors on your product, you must know the connotation and denotation of the colors.

Even when selecting the color pallet for your business office, you’ll want to consider the emotional connection of the color that your potential customers might feel, particularly in the areas where decisions will be made.

Some people scoff at hearing about the principles of decorating and color, but it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having your customers in the space and/or if you have employees working there that you want to keep happy and motivated.

Often small business owners feel that holding a market research study is way too expensive. Just asking your spouse or other family members if “they like it” isn’t enough. In this case, learning more about colors and their meanings before you start directing and choosing only makes sense.

I recently read a short article about color where I learned a few more meanings of colors that I hadn’t known before.

This article outlines the color meanings and symbolism of colors. It talks about the positives and negatives of each of the main colors. Even though I’ve been reading/writing about color meanings since 1981, I learned a few things from this article and it inspired this post.

When I think about being strategic about decorating, I can’t help but think about Feng Shui, the Chinese system of harmonizing with the environment, which includes not only color but object placement.

3 Ways to Use Your Story to Build Awareness

The other day I talked about tracking the results of your press release. Obviously, before you can track a story of yours, you have to get the story in the media. Does your company have a story? This helps to brand your company with your identity.

How did it start? Who does it help? How are you able to help your best customers solve their problems?

If you don’t have a background story for your business, product or service, its more difficult to get someone interested in writing about it. That’s usually one of the early questions in an interview. “Tell me about yourself and background.” A business story or a product story is no different. Why does it exist?

You don’t have a story about helping anyone? Maybe now is the time to start crafting your story. Problem. Solution. Results. Who else has that problem?

So, assuming you have your story, how can you use your story to build awareness?

1) Hashtags can be like breadcrumbs. Sometimes posting a link on Twitter or other social media with #hashtags helps reporters find something that is trending. It is often wishful thinking that they will actually contact you, but if they are looking for a story and need a source, it helps them to find you. Don’t forget LinkedIn.

2) Become a source -I follow a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and get 3 emails daily filled with topics that different reporters want to write about. I look for topics that my clients are experts on so that I can recommend the client. It is a service for journalists and for sources.

3) Newsjacking sounds bad, but isn’t. PublicityHound.com (run by Joan Stewart) is one of the best publicity “how to” websites and she offers lots of ways, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. She thinks like a reporter and usually recommends something called “newsjacking” where you tie your story into a current event (like an impending hurricanes or 9/11 connection or changes in the fall weather or whatever local angle to a current topic that a reporters is working on to write a story.) This is how your story becomes the example in their story.

She has a great article “Don’t Abandon the Press Release” which is particularly good about going after the press release slant – lead – angle to make it work for a particular media.

Have you had success with getting your story out there? What worked for you the best? What didn’t?

Leave a comment below to let me know.