Your Customers Are Coming Back: What Will That Mean?

After a long pause, customers are beginning to go back to their offices and resume the business at hand. Not all, but many — and it certainly depends on what part of the country you’re in. It would be wishful thinking to imagine that the sales pipeline will fill to capacity in the next few weeks. If your glass is more than half full, maybe it will. What will your pipeline look like and how will you prepare?

Refill The Pipeline

Some of your customers will come back at 100% of their past print spend, others at 50%, and some may not come back at all. The timing will be all across the board as well. Of those that do come back, there will be those who will act like nothing happened while others may see a slow, gradual build up to whatever their new print spend or print model will be. To make sure that your business has the work it needs, you shouldn’t simply wait on the sidelines and watch to see what happens — you need to get into the game.

Intel On The Path Forward

As Tony Soprano would say, “what do you see, what do you hear, what do you know?” Get your team engaged with all of your existing customers to learn what they are thinking in regards to their path forward. Factors that you’ll want to consider include timing, types of products or campaigns, people (are the same people still employed and in the same roles as before), and budgets. This may be a challenge for some sales teams, as they are hungry and motivated to begin writing up orders. Make no mistake, generating revenue will always be extremely important. At some point though, you will need to have a good analysis of what your customers’ new model will look like. Develop a plan with your client facing teams to quickly accumulate that intel. Accomplishing this will provide some sense of clarity for the short to mid-term.

What Choices Will You Make

Your customer choices include nurturing and building upon your existing customer base, looking for new customers that look like your ideal ones, or pivoting into new markets, verticals, and services offered. Who knows, maybe it’s all of the above! Making these decisions without the right feedback from your existing customers will be extremely difficult and unnerving. Not making one of these decisions may lead the future of your business to chance. I am not convinced that there is a right or wrong choice in looking at your options. But what I am convinced is that you need to make a choice — and take what you choose and do it on purpose.

Now Is The Time

Gather your team and determine what information you’ll need to make good decisions going forward. Create a plan that will allow you to accumulate this information, share it, update it, and act on it in the days ahead. As everyone has said, these are unprecedented times. There is no chapter in the CEO handbook that will tell you exactly what to do to guarantee success for your business in today’s environment. Changing the trajectory of your company is difficult to do. Changing direction while maintaining your existing business is even harder. There are strength in numbers and no bad ideas right now. Use the strength of your internal team and external advisors to illuminate your path forward. Do it now.

 

I welcome any thoughts or questions, please add them below or reach out to me directly.

 

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic counsel, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at mphilie@philiegroup.com.

 

The blog originally published in Printing Impressions

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