This week has been another one full of dramatic change as we continue to adjust to a “new normal”. Clients have reached out and asked for help; pace of change and evolving unknowns have them feeling unsure about what to do next. Luckily, we have a technique that never changes and is built to adapt to seismic shifts like the one we’re experiencing.
Do you have a framework for managing change? Does it work in even the most extreme situations? We have one, it’s called the SEO Framework. SEO – Strategy – Environment – Organization; a framework that is simple enough to help you manage the specific complexities of your business goals by forcing you to look at the interactions of these three elements.
No one can deny that there has been a major shift in the environment. The COVID-19 crisis has forced us all to reevaluate goals and objectives, personal and professional. When you did your strategic planning at the end of last year, like any responsible business leader would, you probably had some bedrock assumptions about how you would meet your objectives. Think about how the fundamental components of those objectives have changed. Here’s a couple of real world examples:
“2020 is our year to make a real splash at <INDUSTRY TRADE SHOW>. We are doubling our budget from last year and focusing rolling out a marketing theme that will carry us through the entire year! I can’t wait! Woooo!”
“Getting out and meeting prospects is the key to our success. Whether you are discussing the terms of the deal, finalizing the implementation, or just dropping off donuts; showing up is where we make a difference. Our competitors have dialed back their investment in the sales team, and boy-howdy are they gonna regret that!”
“Driving traffic into our stores has got to be our number one goal. If we can get people in the store, we can hit our targets. Without foot traffic, we are nothing!”
You get it.
There needs to be a major re-tooling of strategic goals for 2020. We’ve seen many companies identify and adapt to these changes successfully. The key to the framework is managing the components you can control. Your strategy needs to pivot to reflect this new environment. Your organization should also change to match the new strategy. We help businesses re-frame these elements routinely, here’s some of the advice we offered in the situations mentioned:
“Yes, trade shows are probably not going to be a viable tactic for this year, but all is not lost! You can sponsor, host, and attend virtual events where you can continue to learn and connect with prospects. Additionally, the travel, entertainment, and other related expenses can be re-deployed in places like direct marketing or digital marketing where you can start to fill the gap left by this change in strategy.”
“Meeting and shaking hands is not a viable approach these days. If you’ve already invested in your sales force, empower them to develop their skills connecting via email and phone. This is a new normal, it’s not like you’re reaching out via phone to someone who doesn’t understand these issues exist. Pick up the phone!”
“Drive your store traffic to your online store. Have an e-commerce enabled website but have been hesitant to use it? Now is the time! Have you been waiting to invest in an online transaction processing tool? Now is the time! Have you looked at Amazon or other services and wondered ‘how do I do that?’ Now is the time!”
Creating a bridge between the analog world of last month, full of hand-shakes and crowded trade shows, with the safer, but more sterile digital world is not easy. But it is critically necessary, and should be the singular focus for your business in the short term. We’d love to help you understand how to apply our framework for change in your organization.