Do you also feel that some of the effects of “social distancing” are unexpected and strongly change our everyday image?
Last week, when the weather was spring-like, I saw more fathers outside with their children than ever before. Families are cycling together. On a weekday afternoon outside the holidays. In the gardens, fathers supervise their children playing. Couples and individuals go for walks during the day – and not just with dogs. I found that quite striking here in my neighbourhood, a village in southern Bavaria. I wish that some of this family closeness would be preserved.
Surely the situation is different in conurbations. There, the street scene changes with shops now closed, hardly any cars on the streets, empty street cafés and parks.
I have already experienced two crises in my consultancy work, but this one has quite unusual facets.
Expected internet capacity problems due to streaming, online gaming, online work and much more video conferencing. I expected panic buying and problematic situations in families no longer used to spending much time together. I expected a lack of understanding on the part of many people for the measures and also resistance to orders. The camp collapse is yet to come. I wonder how families with children and young people will cope with the curfews. We are only at the beginning of this period in which almost nothing is the same as before. Even if everyone around is still healthy.
What is to come in the next few months is probably not something anyone can foresee. I was pointed to this article today, which gives us a somewhat unusual and surprisingly optimistic perspective: “The world after Corona – How we will be surprised when the crisis is over”.
What does the current situation mean for planning and strategy?
We currently have to rethink from week to week, sometimes from day to day. Planning is becoming extremely difficult. It is like looking into a crystal ball. After the measures to enforce social distance, the task now is to keep the economy going, secure jobs and protect society from permanent damage.
In the software industry, we have the advantage that we are not dependent on deliveries of goods and production is not dependent on stationary machines. So we were able to decentralise the team early on and send everyone who had and has a lot of contact with larger groups of people to the home office weeks ago. So far, everyone has remained healthy and “the shop is running”. After the developments of the last week, only one core team now remains in the office, all the others work from home.
The management is confronted with completely new challenges
This means rethinking management as well. As a manager, I have to lead my team in a completely different way, I have to perceive the concerns and worries of my employees from a distance and react to them. I have to motivate the young employees in particular to perform all by themselves at home on their laptops, because thankfully our industry has not yet been affected by the big changes. We look after our customers, handle our programming tasks and manage our projects. And of course we also have many tasks in sales and marketing.
Those who thought digitisation was “nice to have” in the last few years are now being taught a better lesson
We are even seeing a trend reversal among companies that have hesitated for a long time whether investing in a CRM makes sense for them at all. Although there are actually investment stops in many companies, far-sighted managers recognise that the time is just right to take care of digitalisation in sales as well.
- Salespeople are no longer allowed to visit their customers. Trade fairs, congresses, networking events are eliminated.
- Employees are supposed to work in a home office and have no access to the information on their clients.
- The management is physically separated from the team and still has to monitor who is doing what in the home office.
Those who have web-enabled tools in use today have a clear competitive advantage in the crisis
Many software tools in use today can only be operated at the office workstation and the information is missing for strategic decisions.
- Which customer is still there? Where are orders falling away?
- Where is there suddenly more to do?
- How are turnover and profit developing?
- Where does management have to intervene?
At this point, all companies that have pushed ahead with the digitalisation of their processes and data in good time and have committed their team to using the software tools will benefit.
In order to support our customers even better in the current situation, we have included a video chat in our software free of charge for all LOGO customers. This means that customer advisors and sales staff can visit their customers virtually and conduct a video call with them, even if the other person does not have the software. Simply from LOGO for all contacts that are stored there.
Of course, this also applies to colleagues. Those who do not yet have team software with video capability can simply use the LOGO video chat for internal discussions.
Companies that do not yet have a professional CRM should seize the opportunity and decide on one now.
A fairly new client said to me on the phone at the beginning of last week: “I’m so glad we decided to introduce an overarching CRM last year. We will need new clients. Not all current clients will survive this year”. My joy at the positive feedback literally stuck in my throat.
But of course, he is absolutely right. A bitter truth.
All the more game-changing now is to retain existing customers, to understand where their pain is right now and where you can support them.
The order load is currently decreasing? Then now is the time to use resources for digitisation
Another managing director gave me this thought in a phone call this week. He said: “Now my sales team has time. Now they can structure and capture their information. When it starts again, we will be in the best position if we use the time now and drive digitalisation in sales.”
Another phone call with a sales manager: “Who knows if I can keep the whole sales team in the long run. Now it becomes especially important to have the knowledge about the customers in the CRM database and still be able to use it after the crisis.”
Come out of the crisis stronger and use the competitive advantage through transparency and cooperation in CRM
Make an individual counselling appointment here (video chat is also welcome) and let us know how we can help you in the crisis!