By Brian Giese, CEO of True Influence.
Returning to business after COVID-19 will be a gradual process, I believe. I don’t think it will be accomplished by the government giving us a date and declaring we are “open for business.” Stages will vary, depending on the sector, but now that companies are in the middle of reopening, focusing on these four things will help you prepare:
• Rethink revenue
• Re-imagine the organization
• Operations effectiveness
• Data will rule
For each of these objectives in the return to business, speed is our friend, and getting there fast means creating a deliberate, step-by-step process that builds on these four concepts.
1 – Rethink Revenue
Speed is your friend, so having a start-up mindset is critical, as is favoring action over research and testing over analysis. Establish a brisk cadence with all your employees and teams, and encourage agility and accountability. Try daily group check-ins, weekly CEO briefings, and frequent business continuity reviews.
For now, focus on primary sources of revenue, and on that basis, make the “now or never” moves that need to happen before the recovery fully starts. These include:
Launch targeted campaigns to retain loyal customers
Develop Zoom customer experiences to better engage on the digital plane
Adjust pricing or promotions based on new trends from intent-based data
Re-allocate spending to proven growth sources like re-skilling the sales force for remote selling and automating processes to free up teams to sell more.
2 – Reimagine the Organization
The relationship between employee and employer has fundamentally changed. During this shutdown, what matters is whether you actually acted to put the safety of employees and communities first, or settled for just saying you cared. Right now, it’s critical to have a strong sense of identity, a shared sense of purpose, and a common performance culture. It’s important for all to know what the company stands for beyond shareholder value, and how to get things done right. At True Influence, we created a company “Manifesto” to tell the world how we get things done. You should, too.
At True Influence, we also created small, nimble “task forces” built in a hurry to deal with the COVID-19 emergency and make important decisions faster and better. What we’ve learned cannot be unlearned – namely, that a flatter organization that delegates decision making down to a dynamic network of teams is more effective. This rewiring of circuits to make decisions faster with less data creates an agility that was missing before. In a world of “speed is our friend,” companies that can institutionalize these forms of speedy, effective decentralization will jump ahead of the competition.
3 – Operationalize Effectiveness
The coronavirus pandemic has radically changed demand patterns for products and services across many sectors, while exposing points of fragility in global supply chains. At the same time, it’s striking how fast many companies have adapted, creating radical, new levels of visibility, agility, productivity, and connectivity. Now leaders are asking themselves: How can we sustain this fast-paced performance and increase profits? Better companies have operationally reinvented the way they work and positioned themselves for the next normal.
As I keep saying, to keep up during COVID-19, companies must move fast. Sales and operations planning used to be done weekly or even monthly; now a daily cadence is common. To build on this progress, speed will continue to be of the essence. Companies that recognize this and are willing to set new standards and upend old paradigms, will earn a terrific long-term strategic advantage.
4 – Data Will Rule
We all know the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the shift to digital. But the best companies are going further, using advanced analytics to combine new sources of data such as buying intent, with their internal insights. As a result, they make better and faster decisions and strengthen links to customers.
At True Influence, we use data and AI to better manage sales and operations. In parallel, we show customers how to incorporate fresh data and create new models to enable near-real-time decision making. In the same way that many risk and financial models had to be rebuilt after the 2008 financial crisis, the use of data and analytics will need to be re-calibrated to reflect the post-COVID-19 reality. This will involve:
• Rapidly validating models
• Enhancing modeling techniques
• Creating new data sets
Companies that get this right will successfully navigate demand forecasting, asset management, and organizational change. For example, True Influence uses our data to identify support trends for investment and recalibration of marketing campaigns.
Ready to get back to business? All you have to do is re-imagine it.