Managing in Uncertain Times: A Roundup of Advice for Seeing Your Business Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing in Uncertain Times: A Roundup of Advice for Seeing Your Business Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has created a great deal of instability around the world. For those of us leading organizations, it means changes to every facet of the way we run our business.

With so many shifts coming at us so quickly, we took time this month to reflect on some of the biggest issues business leaders are facing. From how to approach your marketing budget and what to do about those canceled events to how to keep your team happy and engaged from afar, we’ve put together a series of articles to help you tackle your most pressing issues.

Take Your Selling Fully Online

All of our customers just moved online. Even the big guys in the e-commerce space, like Amazon, are struggling to keep pace with the major jump in online demand.

How can you keep your business well-positioned to succeed? And are there investments you can make now in your digital transformation that will help you continue to grow once the crisis is over? We discuss how to maintain a great customer experience online, so you’re well-situated in the current landscape and beyond.

Managing External Communications in Times of Crisis

We’ve all received at least one cringe-worthy email from a brand we know and like during the crisis. And bad communications can really erode our trust in an organization. “If we can’t trust them to get their message right, what else can we not trust them to do properly?”

We share practical tips for avoiding tactless messaging. These moves will keep your audience informed during the pandemic and will leave them wanting to do business with you once we make it to the other side.

Our Events Are Cancelled. What Do We Do Now?

In-person events are a huge focus for many marketing teams; the majority of companies dedicate about a quarter of their marketing budget each year to conferences and gatherings. With social distancing measures in effect, we’ve all had to pivot away from these events we’ve come to rely on for building community and connection with our audience.

Given our new reality, we take a closer look at the best ways to shift your events budget towards new marketing initiatives that allow you to achieve some of the same goals without bringing everyone together in the same physical space.

Work from Home Tips from a CTO Who’s Managed Remote Teams for Years

For those who are used to the daily commute into the office, the abrupt shift to working from home has been jarring and difficult to manage. Our team at the Sterling Woods Group has been partly-remote for years, so our CTO knows a thing or two about facilitating happy and efficient remote teams.

He provides practical advice, from technical tips—like what kind of microphone to use—to leadership skills—like how to boost spirits and build camaraderie from afar.

Five Rules for Smart Budget Cuts

With the majority of businesses experiencing a disruption in Q2 revenue, it’s not realistic to think we can stick to the same budgets we created at the start of 2020. You likely will have to make cuts (unless you work for Zoom or another business that aids remote work, in which case, you’re probably having a strong Q2).

But not all budget cuts are created equal. Slashing costs across the board and without any deeper strategic thought is a bad idea at a time like this. Organizations that can hone in on the proper places to make cuts, while investing in their most promising areas, are the ones who will come out on top when this pandemic is over.

What to Do When No One Takes Your Sales Call

People are not in a buying mood right now. Tens of millions of Americans are facing unemployment, and businesses are reevaluating their budgets and scaling back on unnecessary costs. All this means that many sales teams are struggling even to capture the attention of prospects, let alone pitch them with a shiny new product or service. 

If your sales team is striking out with the tactics and strategies that typically work well, it’s time to try something new. We asked some experts to weigh in on the new approaches they’re trying within their organizations to build relationships with prospects now so that they’re well-positioned to flourish when folks are ready to buy again.

Staying Strategic in Times of Uncertainty

There’s been an awful lot of panic out there over the past few weeks. We’ve seen the stock market swing from historic low to meteoric climbs, and that’s indicative of the massive uncertainty in the business world. How can you make plans for your business when you don’t even know what things are going to look like next week, let alone next month? 

Check out our Scout Customer Value Matrix, which is designed to help you make the right decisions about the types of relationships you should be focusing on and investing in right now.

Creating Community and Collaboratively Solving Challenges: A Look Back at Our First Campfire Chat

One of the biggest challenges to leading through this pandemic is that there is no business playbook for this. Sure, we’ve led through other forms of disruption. But a global pandemic? That’s uncharted territory for us all.

There’s an old African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We think embracing that spirit is the only way for us business leaders to make it through this unprecedented time. So we’ve established a series of Campfire Chats to bring together leaders in our circle. It’s an opportunity for us to share the challenges we face and the strategies we’re testing out in this strange new business environment.

This look back at our first chat provides a summary of discoveries leaders have made about successful ways to target new segments, stay in touch with existing customers, and continue to add value for their audiences.

About the Sterling Woods Group, LLC

The Sterling Woods Group’s mission is to help clients make sense of their data to predictably grow sales. We apply data science to help you optimize your sales funnel, improve your marketing ROI, launch new products successfully, and enter new markets profitably.

We use a hypothesis-driven, data-supported methodology to discover insights that no one else is paying attention to. Then, we help you assemble the right sales strategies, marketing plans, technologies, and resources to seize this opportunity.

About the Author

Rob Ristagno, founder and CEO of the Sterling Woods Group, previously served as a senior executive at several digital media and e-commerce businesses, including as COO of America’s Test Kitchen. Starting his career at McKinsey, his focus has always been on embracing digital technology and data science to spur strategic growth.

Rob is the author of A Member is Worth a Thousand Visitors and is a regular keynote speaker at conferences around the world. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Digiday.

He holds degrees from the Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College and has taught at both Harvard and Boston College.

Rob lives outside Boston, MA with his wife, Kate; daughter, Leni; and black lab, Royce.