The COVID-19 pandemic changed the business world overnight. Not only did it upend the economy, but it also forced businesses everywhere to make rapid changes in the way they operate. This is certainly true at Logical Position. In early March, we transitioned our entire workforce out of our offices around the country and into working from home in a matter of days. Many other businesses are also facing unique challenges. Social distancing guidelines have forced some to close their doors altogether. Others are searching for new marketing strategies that are appropriate in a radically different environment.
As the vice president of sales and marketing, I approached our challenges with a bit of apprehension. How would our sales teams respond to working outside their traditional structure? More importantly, how would our clients react to the increased uncertainty in the world? However, after a few weeks of working under our new normal, I find myself surprised and reassured by what I’m seeing.
Our Client’s Reaction
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, governors and mayors across the country issued stay-at-home orders, which require people to limit their time outside to only the most essential tasks. At the end of March, nearly half of all Americans are under one of these orders. If the virus continues spreading, that number may continue to increase.
Shopping Habits are Changing
This new stay-at-home lifestyle is altering consumer’s spending habits. We’re tracking large revenue increases for certain kinds of online sellers. As people have more time on their hands and also face more limited options because of Covid-19, they’re increasingly turning towards online shopping and home delivery. This has been a significant opportunity for many of our clients to double-down on their existing digital strategy and meet their customer’s new needs.
Many brick-and-mortar stores have been forced to temporarily close their doors. As a result, the foot traffic they once relied on has dried up, and owners now realize that an online presence may be the key to their survival during these tough times. We’re finding business owners are more open than ever to discuss their operations and explore the ways digital marketing can help. In these instances, our team is working hard to quickly build the infrastructure these owners need to succeed.
New Opportunities Against Amazon
As you might imagine, Amazon order traffic has been very high during this unusual time. However, that’s resulted in some surprising developments: Amazon recently announced it was suspending certain shipments to its warehouses to focus on delivering “household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products.” This means many third-party sellers will not be able to use Amazon’s fulfillment to ship their products.
This change represents a big opportunity for other online retailers. When customers can’t get the products they’d typically buy through Amazon, they’ll turn to other online sellers. That means now is an excellent time for businesses to get their search engine optimization and pay-per-click strategies nailed down.
The LP Team is Rising to the Occasion
Of course, we’re helping our customers face these new challenges as we’re spread out among more than 600 home offices. As we were planning this big Covid-19 adjustment, I was concerned most about the disconnection, especially unsure about how my team would execute functions that have always been done in a group environment.
Efficiency is Still High
While I always assumed our sales team would be more productive working from their LP office location, this is not necessarily true. In reality, the office has some distractions our employees don’t have at home. Now, they work just as efficiently, and at a rhythm that better suits their lives. We’re finding some team members are working unique hours, but, so far, everyone’s been able to reach lots of business owners and set qualified appointments with very little dip in production.
Because of this change, our team leaders are also more proactive with their feedback and coaching. Working remotely is forcing us all to communicate more, and our managers are better for it.
Finding New Ways to Communicate
Because we’re no longer able to fall back on the comfort of in-person communication, the LP sales team is being much more intentional about using video tools. Each week I’m sending out a video “State of the Union” message, which I used to send over email. Each team also begins every day with a team video chat to align their daily goals.
We’re also using other tools like Microsoft Teams for real-time communication. We’ve created large groups where our people are now adding information they think will be helpful for the rest of the team. We’re also sharing images of our work from home stations and deciding which one is the coolest.
Real-team chats also help fuel the competition and teamwork that made us a successful in-person team. Our digital sales dashboard continues to be our North Star. Now, whenever a team member accomplishes something meaningful, everyone sees it, and they chime in and celebrate the wins together.
Strategizing to Meet Customer Needs
Our sales teams are also doing a lot more industry brainstorming. For example, most travel and hotel businesses aren’t operating, so their marketing needs will be much different from other industries. We’re putting our heads together to find appropriate ways to contact business owners while offering solutions that will help them meet this unique moment.
We’ll Get Through This Together
While I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how both our sales team and customers have responded to the challenges of COVID-19, I recognize much is still unknown. There’s no way to predict how this event will change business or the way we work together. All we can do is stick together and create solutions for our clients that help them drive revenue.
No matter what’s to come, I’m confident that the LP team can accomplish this. In the face of tremendous challenges, they rose to the occasion and kept pushing forward. In the process, we’ve learned how to communicate better and empower our employees in new ways, all while sticking to our core values. We’ll keep moving ahead in the face of the current pandemic, and when it’s finally passed, I believe we’ll be in a better position than we were before.
Eric Scriven is the VP of sales and marketing at Logical Position, an Inc. 500, Google Premier Partner headquartered in Oregon with offices nationwide. The agency offers full-service PPC management, SEO, and website design solutions for businesses large and small, and was ranked as the third best place to work in America by Inc. Magazine.