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About This Episode
Businesses have had 4 responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’re thriving, struggling, pausing, or adapting.
Knowing which bucket the company on the other end of the call belongs to should affect the approach your sales team takes.
On a recent podcast episode, I was joined by Bryan Rutcofsky, the VP of Global Sales at Wix Answers.
We talked about how to conduct business in this time of crisis — using empathy but recognizing that business can’t just end until the crisis does.
Bryan has been with Wix Answers for about 6 months, about half of which has been during COVID-19. “Even though we’re in this crazy world right now, we are still pushing forward, aggressively hiring, and I’m excited to be a part of this team,” Bryan said.
The 4 buckets
From his home office, Bryan strategized a system for navigating sales in this new world.
“What’s the right approach that we can take as a business while being empathetic to both the companies that are thriving in this pandemic and the companies that are struggling?” Bryan said.
Business can’t just stop progressing altogether. “We have to make sure that we’re still pushing into new markets, pushing for new business, trying to close or open as many opportunities as we can during this time,” he said.
Bryan drilled down into defining the 4 responses that businesses have had to the circumstances of the pandemic.
Without judgment, it’s important to note that some businesses are simply thriving during COVID-19.
Zoom went from 10 million subscribers to something like 200 million active users.
Blue Apron delivery shot up from $2/share by about 8 times.
Or the telemedicine industry — and Disney+, right?
“There are industries right now that are absolutely having phenomenal success,” Bryan pointed out.
“These are companies that, because travel and dining and restaurants have just completely halted, are in a lot of trouble,” Bryan said.
Examples include Yelp, Toast, and TripActions.
When you’re in a sales conversation, you want to know which bucket you’re talking to. “If a business is struggling, we’ll offer pieces of our solution at no cost just to help them try and get through this,” he said.
Even if a business is seeing great success, it still needs to spread the message to let customers know how they’re handling it and what’s happening.
“We want to know going in, is this the path that I think I’m going to be leading the customer down during the course of this engagement?” Bryan pointed out.
3. Business as Normal: Paused
The last two buckets refer to businesses that are at least not being actively hindered by COVID-19. They’re maintaining a more or less business as normal mentality.
“They’re going to get through this, but they’re also on pause,” Bryan explained.
These businesses aren’t going to be making any crazy changes. They won’t be launching something big and new in the near future.
Third bucket businesses are important to connect with now to open the opportunity for Q3 or Q4 when society returns to greater normalcy. It’s a longer term nurture that will absolutely pay off in 6 months.
4. Business as Normal: Adapting
Businesses in the fourth bucket aren’t struggling per se, but they aren’t waiting around, either.
“They have come to the realization that this is the new normal,” Bryan said. “While everyone is sequestered and sheltered in place, there’s a way that we can function as a business, and we can’t let that stop us from moving forward and progressing.”
Businesses in this category are actively seeking ways to do business differently than they did before so that they can adapt to the current situation.
Personal example: Bryan is learning how to do remote onboarding of new reps, and even though it’s necessarily different than it was before, he’s pressing on with finding the best way to function in the circumstances.
Application of the 4 buckets
So, you’ve worked out the segments with your team. What now?
- Understand which bucket a potential opportunity belongs to before you reach out
- Spend the first moments of the call expressing empathy
- Gain an understanding of whether your research identified the correct bucket
- Adapt your approach if necessary based on the needs and goals of that company
“Tailoring your conversation based on the type of business you believe you’re speaking to, and getting the truer understanding of what segment they fit into after the initial conversation helps us understand where we can be a little bit more aggressive, where we might want to pull back, and where we can focus on help,” Bryan said.
“It helps us engage with the customer, be empathetic to the current situation, and offer true assistance and true help,” he explained.
Develop a teamwide hypothesis to bucket all your new ICPs into these 4 segments. On the front lines, have your BD team reach out with that tailored approach based on each bucket and their unique business.
As always, listen to feedback so you can iterate and adapt your approaches with even more understanding.
“While business may run differently today than it did 2 or 3 months ago, it still needs to run,” Bryan said. “You have to iterate. You have to adjust. You have to adapt.”
For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.
About The Podcast
The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.
Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.
The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.
Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.