Are you one of the many companies who were caught off guard by 2020? If so, do not worry; it is okay to have a plan B.
The sudden pivot into pandemic mode was something most businesses weren’t prepared for and indeed some did not survive. Even with good revenue operations plans and a dedicated team, who generally helped the company increase revenue by as much as 55% year-over-year, many of these businesses still struggled to weather the circumstances. With over half of all businesses shutting down due to lack of preparation (and often without warning), now more than ever we must be vigilant when preparing our company’s next move in case another crisis hits – or worse yet: if there isn’t time at all left before disaster strikes again…
The number one thing we have all learned: always have a plan B.
How the Pandemic Changed RevOps
We were all looking forward to a promising year, but by March 2020 we realized the potential of COVID-19 wasn’t just temporary. It had rapidly become clear that it was going to take longer than expected for us to deal with this pandemic and its effects weren’t only about toilet paper or milk shortages anymore. Things got real at work when companies furloughed entire teams without any plans to bring them back.
Companies that could adapt to having a new target audience did well. Some, of course, thrived. Zoom, for example, was perfectly poised to become a pandemic success story. But any company without a solid strategy was left scrambling, although some found a way to get through it by chance.
Now, we are starting to think about the other side of the pandemic, at least in the United States. Although new variants and a slowing pace of vaccination mean we aren’t out of the woods quite yet, a re-opened economy and pent-up demand is likely to support a boom. Which means you need to look into pivoting back into a different way of operating.
Some trends are likely to remain. The number of people working from home will likely drop, but perhaps not to the levels seen in 2019. Some companies have realized the savings of not having a large office, and have opted to remain completely or largely virtual.
But the fact remains that, no matter what vertical a business competes in, pandemic-related adjustments became an immediate concern. Overnight, companies needed to develop the kind of digital infrastructure needed to support a remote workforce. Security was a concern since CRM platforms and other vital tools were moved from closed networks to the cloud. Live events, a substantial revenue stream for some companies, were either relegated to Zoom conferences or cancelled altogether.
And then there is the psychological impact of conducting business during a pandemic. Companies needed to support the wellbeing of employees who weren’t accustomed to working from home. The stress of potential layoffs combined with a technology learning curve created job vacancies that companies had to scramble to fill. All this while trying to maintain a high level of customer service and a healthy sales pipeline made for a perfect storm of chaos no one had planned for.
Ultimately, the pandemic separated the agile from the not-so-agile, and provided important lessons to everyone.
What we see today are RevOps leaders who are in a position to pick up the pieces where it was left off and accelerate high growth with limited resources.
What Should RevOps Leaders Do?
We already mentioned the first lesson to take from this one: Always have a plan B. And this means understanding exactly how a calamity like this pandemic might impact your business.
Most disasters aren’t as widespread or as slow to resolve as this pandemic. They aren’t going to require a massive pivot in the way you run your business, but you could likely benefit from knowing exactly what to do in order to recover from an unexpected disaster such as a hurricane, fire, or data breach.
The second lesson is that you need to anticipate your customer’s needs. I doubt the people running Zoom anticipated all of the ways it was going to be used over the last year; in fact, it would be almost impossible. So, this isn’t about listing out specific needs, but rather about building a culture where needs can be identified and addressed quickly.
The third lesson? Don’t panic. Out of necessity, some businesses were forced to slash their budget, lay off employees, and otherwise cut costs as much as possible. The immediate onset of the pandemic made these measures unavoidable for some companies, but with an alternate RevOps plan – a plan B – such drastic measures may not be necessary should something like this happen again.
Your team needs to sit down with this in mind, and start coming up with ways to make your RevOps plan pandemic-proof.
Features of a Pandemic-Proof RevOps Plan
Some people think there might be another pandemic on the horizon or a wave three. Others are more optimistic; the last time there was a pandemic on this scale before this was a hundred or so years ago. But you should be thinking broader. Your “pandemic-proof” plan is really not even just “disaster-proof” but “disruption-proof.”
Remember the old joke about buggy whip manufacturers and cars? It goes on the assumption that all of the buggy whip companies went out of business when the car came along. In fact, most did, but not all of them. For example, in Westfield, Massachusetts, only one of the 42 buggy whip manufacturers survived (and only because there’s still a demand for horse whips for equestrian activities). But this all goes to show that companies which make one single product don’t do well when that product becomes obsolete. On the other hand, companies that made carriage parts survived perfectly well during the transition to cars, because they were able to adapt to change.
So, here are some things to consider:
- Avoid the buggy whip trap of becoming so dependent on one product or service that if it becomes obsolete, you go out of business. Restaurants that already had a thriving delivery service did a lot better during the pandemic than ones which did not.
- Get all of the data you need so you know exactly what is going on and can spot useful trends. Automating all of your data capture is the best way to do it, with a platform such as SalesForce. Use this to build a dashboard that shows your bottlenecks.
- Continuously be thinking about the next thing. I suspect there were some companies who did indeed see that a major disruption was coming back in February 2020, and those were the ones who have done well.
- Don’t let inertia creep in. Yes, you absolutely should have a 12-month plan, but you should also put together a list of all the ways you anticipate it going wrong and prescriptive solutions.
- Have regular meetings to keep your team thinking about ways to continue to improve and diversify.
Keep in the back of your mind that, yes, the economy could grind to a halt again and you need to make sure that you can survive by having an agile RevOps strategy. But also remember that the next issue might be as hard to predict as this one was.
This means you may need some outside expertise. If you are having difficulty coming up with a plan B to help you survive the next disruption, our RevOps experts can help. Contact Delegate and we will help you brainstorm a RevOps plan and choose the right tools to support it as we move forward into whatever happens next.