Retrospect: What do you do when your industry panics?

In 2020 we had a problem. Our clients were panicking.

The first lockdown had already gone into effect and a lot of people were waiting to see what happens before they made any move. People just didn’t know what to expect.

In a conventional tech company, when you see the sales sentiment going conservative it’s a sign for your company. But as a sales development agency and working with a lot of tech company’s sales departments we could see the fear in the entire sector at that time.

Companies on our waiting list were postponing their campaigns with us even though they had waited for months for this chance. And new potential clients’ interest had dwindled.

 

What happens when an industry panics?

Industry panics are very dangerous as they put everybody in an organization on high alert. Risk-taking goes down and short-term thinking overrides long-term goals and processes.

In other words – why prepare for tomorrow when you think your house is burning down tonight.

In terms of sales this could strangle new lead generation which is needed in order to feed the sales funnel. Even if not immediately apparent this will have long-term consequences down the road.

 

So what do you do when your industry panics?

The same vantage point that let us see the panic in the sector also allowed us to notice that things were not all bad. The sales campaigns that were already in action were showing us that there is interest in the market.

So we decided to lead. We figured that in this case we needed to bite the bullet and showcase the opportunities still out there. To get our clients and potential clients out of the downward spiral.

In the span of several months we worked hard and overdelivered by a staggering amount. In some cases 3-5x more than what was expected. Just to show that there was business out there and to help our clients feel more comfortable that there were still many opportunities for deals.

 

The result

Looking back we were fortunate that this was a short-term phenomenon. Tech emerged as one of the beneficiaries of the COVID lockdown and as per the State of IT Sales in Bulgaria 2020 report 56% of all companies saw an increase in revenue vs. pre-COVID, yet only 30% of the companies reached their client acquisition targets. The companies that didn’t forget about lead generation needed those leads sooner than they thought as the industry rebounded in a staggering way. And the others that didn’t, needed to start ASAP.

The companies we’d worked with during that crisis already had a nice backlog of leads they could work with and 2020 resulted in an average of 20 new business opportunities we have generated for every one of them.

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