Business to get into during the pandemic

Speakpipe 4 How to enter the market during the pandemic and high inflation rate? Anonymous

Thank you so much for your question, Ms. Anonymous. Historically, growth is born during tough times. The best way to figure out a business model in tough times is to look for a general problem you want to address.

Take Zoom, for instance. Zoom has grown exponentially during the pandemic. It solves the problem of companies that need to continue collaboration but in a remote environment. Work cannot stop during the pandemic. Collaboration, meetings, and brainstorming are still required.

Other companies that thrive in challenging times are; Slack, Github, Twilio, Okta, AppDynamics, Freshworks, Nutanix, Zscaler. Even my personal favorite, Netflix, grew exponentially.

Even though department store sales went down, grocery revenues skyrocketed. Sales of alcohol, face mask, toilet paper, and bottled water also had a good ride.

There will always be opportunities. I suggest you seek these opportunities through the lenses of problems you can solve. Please revert to the lean business model. A successful business solves a specific problem of a targeted set of customers using a unique approach (unique value proposition or UVP). Your solution is better if it’s uniquely different from competitors.

Difficulty produces better focus. You will need to be more careful about your strategies and use of resources. You are more cautious with your tactics and activities.

Challenging times develop better and more resilient entrepreneurs.

Find a problem to solve Ms. Anonymous for a target niche of customers. Solve it in a manner that’s different from your competitors.

Thank you for your question. Please feel free to send in more “voice in” questions as I enter the ones in the pipeline.

Have a good day Ms. Anonymous.

How do you create a brand image?

Thank you, Lance, for your question “how do you create a  brand image when you are still starting up?”

When you are starting up a business, you first need to get the basics in place. Your business model needs to be created before anything else. You will find it very difficult to create a brand personality if you are not clear about your business.

The sections from your business model that will help craft a good brand persona are the customer avatar, their problem statement, your solution to their problem, and what makes you different (your unique value proposition).

To create your brand, you need to understand your business very well. It will be created from the personality of the business and its founders.

If you were able to attend our Building your brand attribute workshop last July 19,  what I’m saying above falls under the first three steps;
1. Know yourself or your business
2. Choose to be a specialist over a generalist
3. Know your customer

Now that you have a clear business model, you can now go to step 4, define your brand identity.

After you accomplish the first four steps, you need to get the attention of your target customer.

You will then need to craft your origin story as step 5. The best story to write at this point is your origin. Why did you start the business? What’s your mission?

To get the attention of your target customers, you need to understand which channels they are in. As an example, let’s say you are a B2b company. Your prospects might be more on LinkedIn rather than on Facebook.

You need to have a framework to get your brand out there in the market. You need to create a marketing strategy and plans. You can use one of the best marketing frameworks fondly called AIDA.

This standard is for attention, interest, desire, and action. You get your prospect’s attention, get them interested in what you offer, get them to desire it, and get them to act on your call to action.

Let’s reserve the steps in crafting a marketing strategy and marketing plans for another time.

Thank you again Lance for your question. Please feel free to send more voice questions.

Voice in questions

Are great salespeople born?

Hi Carlo, thank you very much for your question “are great salespeople born?”. With billions spent on sales training programs in various industries, most companies would argue that great salespeople are developed.

I believe that great salespeople are born. These are natural communicators. I have an elder cousin who was born a great communicator. He applied for a sales position in an ice cream company many years ago. These are salespeople that are given a territory. They scour the territory with their small trucks with a freezer at the back. They go from sari-sari stores to supermarkets peddling their ice-creams. In less than a year, he became one of their top salespeople. Of course, he was provided collaterals and product orientations to pull off being at the top. He was born with great confidence and fantastic communication skill, which helped him.

However, raw sales talent still needs to be developed. It’s like finding a raw diamond. You need to chisel and polish until you get a perfectly cut diamond ring. 

However, a great sales organization needs development. There need to be clearly defined processes to ensure the right talent is recruited, trained, immersed in the company culture, coached, and given stretched goals. 

Check out recommendations from HBR on things worth considering when putting together a strong sales organization. 

  • Set a cohesive sales strategy that focuses sales effort on the right customer segments with a compelling value proposition.
  • Design a high-impact sales process for communicating and delivering value to customers.
  • Size the sales organization at a profitable investment level that provides ideal customer coverage.
  • Define a sales structure and sales roles that enable effectiveness (high sales for the effort) as well as efficiency (low cost for the effort).
  • Assign accounts to salespeople to enable good customer coverage and give all salespeople a fair chance to succeed.
  • Hire sales talent by identifying and attracting salespeople with the characteristics (innate capabilities and values) that drive success.
  • Train and coach that talent to continually develop the competencies (learned skills and knowledge) that salespeople need to add value for customers.
  • Provide data, tools and resources for enhancing sales force insight about customers and supporting the sales process.
  • Offer incentive compensation and recognition programs that encourage salespeople to work hard in pursuit of personal goals that align with company goals.
  • Set sales force goals that are challenging, fair, and well-understood by the sales force.
  • Manage performance by engaging a team of first line sales managers who can effectively direct sales activity and keep the sales force on course.
  • Create and sustain a sales culture of accountability, achievement and ethics.

Thank you very much for your question, Carlo. Thinking about the answer was quite interesting. Please feel free to keep sending in your voice questions.

P.S. – Please see below the link to the full article from HBR on ‘Silver Bullets won’t fix your sales force’.