In the best of times, marketing and sales teams need to work together in order to produce the best results. This means openly and clearly communicating with each other as well as sharing customer data. That way, marketing can properly attract, qualify, and nurture leads and then hand them over for sales to take across the finish line.
When a crisis or disaster occurs, you’ll need to adjust to disruptions on multiple fronts, whether it’s having most of or all of your teams work remotely, revising your marketing campaigns, or rethinking your messaging.
It will become important for marketing and sales to be there for their customers as well as for each other. Having the right support and stability can play key roles in helping organizations and teams remain calm and assess what needs to be done both long and short term.
That will require strong leadership, prioritized objectives, and teamwork.
Here are five things marketing and sales teams should do:
1) Show empathy and sensitivity for your customers.
Remember that people might be experiencing huge disruptions to their careers and lives in general. Some industries might be particularly affected by a crisis or disaster, and there could be ripple effects that resonate throughout the business world (and economy itself). Communications and outreach from marketing and sales should show the right amount of sensitivity and acknowledge that everyone could be experiencing stress and anxiety. As a recent HBR article stated, you want to be honest, upfront, and genuine in what communicating what is going on. You should be focused on helping your customers with some of the business problems they are now experiencing and showing how they can adapt their plans for what is going on.
2) Show empathy and sensitivity for each other.
Marketing and sales should always show empathy and sensitivity for each other and for everyone on their teams. This becomes even more important during a difficult time. Everybody might be facing hardships, and it’s important to cut each other at least a little slack, since someone could be having trouble in their personal lives, health issues, trying to raise and reassure their children, and just dealing with uncertainties in general. Therefore, teams should stay connected, communicate as clearly as possible about whatever difficulties they’re facing to see if anyone can help, and try not to be too hard on each other and themselves.
3) Do not push and try to make a hard sell about anything.
Marketing’s unapologetic truth teller Katie Martell recently said that marketers should not try to capitalize on this crisis in any way and instead act ethically. This means now is not the time to be attempting to do a hard sell. People have a great many other things on their minds. A sales email or huge push to make a conversion are probably not the way to go when customers are worried about many other things in both their personal and professional lives. A softer sell and just providing support are the smarter plays. Both marketing and sales should strive to offer information and solutions that are relevant and useful to customers during an uncertain time. Even just a blog or newsletter that might help distract someone from current events or give an insight into their jobs are fine so long as they are more trying to inform and educate an audience rather than outright sell something to them.
4) Strike the right tone.
Many businesses are reassessing their messaging and communication strategy during this crisis. You must strike an appropriate tone for outreaches from both marketing and sales. The tone has to be consistent and clear to prevent confusion and let customers know they can rely on you. Some light humor might be appropriate, but only if it suits the circumstances and doesn’t try to too hard to be funny. Like any other communication, it would have to be sensitive and, thus, something to be careful about. Many times, it might be best to not any attempt at humor at all. The right tone, in fact, can change on a case-by-case basis and from event to event, but overall, it might be respectful, helpful, and understanding.
5) Put the relationship first.
Strong relationships take time to build and nurture. When one side is in distress, the other works to provide comfort and support. This takes showing sensitivity and empathy, striking the right tone when communicating, and trying to be helpful and understanding. A hard sell or inappropriate humor could undermine the relationship you have with your customers due to the lack of sensitivity and understanding you might be showing. Over time, you have built up trust on both sides, and be there for them in a difficult moment rather than only trying to make a conversion or be overly clever. Right now, you should concentrate on how you can help your customers get through this, even if it’s only as small as checking in on them, as their well-being, and that of your marketing and sales teams, comes first.
During a crisis or world event, it’s not business as usual, especially when it comes to the content you provide. Find out more about “Content Marketing During a Crisis or World Event.”
Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.