Following COVID-19, the approaches and tactics that once underpinned our growth strategies have been turned on their head, often leaving us feeling uncertain and exposed. We have been forced to look at alternative ways to generate revenue and retain valuable business connections from afar.
Many of these forced adjustments have brought unforeseen benefits: cost savings from less expensive digital channels, reduced office overheads from remote working, or extended reach as the deployment of virtual channels connected us with a wider, global audience. The value of remote sales also has come to the fore; increased productivity and agility achieved through the strategic use of high performance telesales and Inside Sales.
As we move slowly out of lockdown, we would ideally retain the best of all worlds with a mix of historical and new approaches. Using the Ansoff model framework we look at how a phone-based approach can help feed and strengthen four key growth strategies, providing an impactful and highly personal alternative to digital and a more flexible, cost-efficient channel than traditional field sales.
Increasing sales of existing products into existing markets
The ability to sell more of your existing products or services to your existing customer base is potentially the most profitable of all growth strategies. However, it relies heavily on building trust, relationships and an in-depth understanding of customer needs which has been more challenging in the absence of in-person meetings during COVID-19.
Direct, human-to-human interaction over the phone can build that trust, enable you to develop meaningful relationships and gain valuable customer insight that cannot be gleaned through digital channels. Whether you call it telemarketing, telesales, or ‘Inside Sales’, over the phone, skilled agents are able to make personal connections and nurture relationships whilst at the same time reaching more decision-makers and achieving higher productivity levels than their field or ‘Outside Sales’ counterparts.
Whether your goal is loyalty and retention; cross-sell or up-sell; account re-activation or strategically targeting your most profitable, high value accounts through ABM, a personal channel with the flexibility of the phone is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.
Entering a new market with existing products
If you are looking to develop a new market for your existing products and services, it isn’t necessarily the case that your existing approach will be as effective in new territories. Aside from cultural nuances, it is critical to take account of individual market characteristics; the competitive landscape; sector mix; levels of brand awareness; industry drivers and the associated customer challenges and perceptions.
A personal, data-led channel such as the phone gives you the ability to gather intelligence, build understanding and then test your proposition systematically from a distance without the need to invest in an expensive local presence. Once you have understood market requirements, you can intelligently target your efforts, tailoring your proposition and using the persuasive nature of voice to create an appealing offer that addresses the pain points and needs of that audience.
In addition, in a market where you may not enjoy high levels of brand recognition, a new audience needs to be nurtured to gain confidence in your brand and proposition. The personal nature of the channel and the quality of interaction it provides, enables you to build the trust and relationships that aren’t so easy to achieve through digital routes.
Introducing new products into existing markets
When launching new products, a data-led approach such as the phone can provide qualitative input into new product strategies in a consistent, measurable way. Person-to-person interaction allows you to stay close to your customers, gather insight into their needs, anticipate gaps in your existing product portfolio and evolve your offering accordingly.
Alongside insight gleaned through any day-to-day customer interactions, targeted phone-based research can feed new product development and go-to-market strategies in a number of ways:
Competitive and market intelligence to inform product and brand positioning.
Insight to enable you to tailor and craft messaging.
Testing and benchmarking your value proposition and messaging.
Deepening insight to gauge customer satisfaction and refine your proposition
Voice of the Customer – how is your product/brand perceived?
Understanding your customer’s experience and how can it be improved.
Testing in a structured way minimises the risks associated with new product launches and a phone-based approach can be easily scaled allowing you to ramp up quickly once your concept is proven.
Launching new products into new markets
If like many you’ve had to completely rethink your proposition and target market, it may feel daunting to be looking into new markets with new products or services. However, we have seen recently how smart, forward-thinking businesses have tapped into new opportunities created by market disruption and carved themselves out a profitable niche.
Phone-based research can give you deeper levels of insight to identify gaps and unmet needs not yet addressed by existing propositions or incumbent brands. This can then help you anticipate future needs, get ahead of the curve and open up growth opportunities not yet foreseen by others.
When trying to get traction with a new concept and disrupt the status quo, a direct, invasive channel such as the phone can get you the attention of the right people, those often not accessible through digital routes. Skilled, resilient agents can reach and qualify target prospects and engage those early-stage adopters and influencers that can help champion and grow your brand. What is more, the fluid and persuasive nature of a conversation allows you to educate and position benefits in an agile way, differentiating your proposition and creating the vision required to overcome buyer inertia.
If you are looking to feed your growth strategy post-COVID-19, there are a wealth of opportunities to be exploited through an agile, impactful channel such as the phone. Its agility enables you to strategically target different audiences and market segments and communicate a message tailored at each stage of the product and customer lifecycle. The personal nature of the channel allows you also to make meaningful connections and build relationships with audiences that have been overexposed to digital interactions and starved of human contact.
Our large online library of case studies provides many examples of how we have delivered insight and sales growth to clients in many sectors for over 30 years, including global engagements requiring multilingual support. If you would like to understand how we can help you accelerate your sales growth post-COVID-19, get in touch today.
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