Focus on Sales: Blog Series – Executive Insights for Q1 2021 Part 3
Focus on Sales: Every quarter, we’ll present insights from top executives from different backgrounds and functions. To help you prepare for Q1 2021, here are sales insights from James Boudreau, an experienced sales, branding, and product strategy executive, and member of the Cerius network.
Read Part 2 of this series: Focus on Finance with John Tunison
A Q&A with James Boudreau
Focus on Sales: What do you envision as the biggest challenges companies will face in Q1 2021?
Much of this depends on the particular effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on a given company’s business in 2020. We’ve seen the vast majority of companies fall into three categories. First, those whose business was enhanced in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, those who decided to adapt and/or pivot. And third, those that hunkered down to wait for the storm to pass. I’ll focus on the latter two of these categories.
For companies that decided to adapt or pivot, the key decision to make is whether or not to make the temporary changes permanent. For those that decided to hunker down, the big question is when to emerge from hibernation, if they are continuing to survive. In all cases, it will come down to not only their cash position, but also that of their customers.
Focus on Sales: What’s your recommend strategy for addressing these challenges?
First and foremost, be honest with yourself about the situation your business is in. Realize that things are never going “back to normal”—at least not the “normal” prior to COVID-19. Also, talk to your customers to understand their situation as it pertains to their need for and ability to purchase your products and services.
Armed with these insights you have some decisions to make. As unfortunate as it is, many of your competitors, particularly those that “hunkered down,” may not survive. This creates an opportunity to gain market share. Double-down on marketing and sales efforts and even to purchase competitors and/or smaller market participants. But also make sure your product and service offerings are relevant in the new environment.
Focus on Sales: What are the critical skill sets companies will need to survive and thrive in Q1 2021?
Resilience, determination, objectivity and creativity. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but these are among the most difficult times businesses have had to endure in recent history. Some companies will thrive, some will barely survive, and other will fade away. If you want to come out of these circumstances better than when you went in, you’ll need to be willing to keep battling and stay the course. You’ll also need to find ways to add to or enhance your product and service portfolio to adapt to customer needs that are evolving daily. And you’ll need to invest in whatever means necessary to continue the dialogue with your customers, and to find new ways to help them overcome their challenges.
James is a seasoned executive with 35+ years of experience in the launch of new ventures, brands, companies and strategic business units. He’s considered an expert in strategic planning, product strategy, marketing, sales and leadership development. He holds an MBA from Northeastern University, where he also taught Marketing & Entrepreneurship for more than 10 years. Find James on LinkedIn.
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