On top of the devastating health impact of COVID-19 is the economic impact. Most businesses are going down one of two paths right now: hunkering down and simply awaiting a return to normalcy to operate business as usual, or leaning into resiliency, adapting and making the decision to change. Well, we know “normal” isn’t coming anytime soon, so it’s time to be bold, push fear aside, and go forward with growth as the goal.

As companies are cutting workers and trimming budgets, there are ways Indiana businesses can uncover new customers, new ways to reach them and ultimately new ways to help. If most people can only see what they’ve already seen, it’s time to conclude you’re not most people. Become pragmatic and strategic enough to let data guide your decisions and open-minded enough to see potential in new areas, through new methods.

Ensure Sales Team are Fueling Growth, Not Just Retention: Profit, cash and discipline are a fundamental defense against recession. The sales team is crucial in this defense. The company that leads sales results both from close percentage and revenue per deal will crush the competition. Take a look at the sales teams and drill in on those who are excelling. Determine methods they’re using to win that their colleagues may not be utilizing. Implement winning sales strategies across the board. 

Release Stored Energy in Operations: There is money to be saved and efficiencies to adopt in your company’s operations. Check the performance of these areas: call center efficiency, company/product review capabilities, service agreement conversion, service agreement retention, tech capacity, cross-selling/up-selling opportunities and recruiting. The numbers will tell the stories of the successes in each area. Implement change as needed. 

Manage Your Reputation: Your reputation matters. Not just to you and your customers and your business, but to the ever-powerful Google. Google local services, pay-per-click, Google my Business listings and organic search results are all affected by review quality and quantity. According to research from BrightLocal, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they’d trust a recommendation from a friend. Address any negative reviews out there to the best of your ability (this is something you should be doing regularly) and encourage customers to leave a review for your business. A simple email after a service or sale is complete is a good way to solicit a review. 

Adjust Marketing Budget: Many companies are pulling back marketing spend right now. While that might seem like the answer to keep a business afloat, here’s a piece of advice: have an unlimited budget for marketing spend that works. When you use marketing tactics based on strategy, it’s typically simple to determine return on investment. Use data to inform strategy. Use results to determine budget. If a tactic is not providing the return you need, scrap it. If something’s working – whether it’s advertisements, pay-per-click, etc. – keep investing. You don’t have to do everything when it comes to marketing, but you owe it to your business to do what is working.

Test Versus Try Marketing: For marketing to grow business, it should be done based on data, not based on what other people are doing or what some person on the team read somewhere. Marketing should be strategic at all times, but especially when facing economic factors like we’re seeing today. Ask yourself these questions when considering a marketing tactic: can it be measured? If so, how? What are the campaign goals? Can I forecast outcomes? If a test works, can it be repeated? Can it be scaled in my market? Another market? Analyze the likelihood of success. An experienced marketing partner can help, as the answer to each question is different based on a company’s business, size and goals. 

Author and business expert Jim Collins says, “The good-to-great companies understand a simple truth: tremendous power exists in the fact of continued improvement and the delivery of results.” Let’s all take a deep breath, push fear aside, and continue to improve and grow for ourselves, our partners and our customers. 

Marcia Barnes is the CEO of Valve+Meter, a performance marketing agency based in Indianapolis that works with B2B, B2C and home services clients across the country. 

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