Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Read the Guide Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close
The IMPACT Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center
learning_center_grey__What is They Ask, You Answer-v2-black

What is They Ask, You Answer?

What is <span>They Ask, You Answer?</span>
Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, <span>& Updates</span>
learning_center_grey__Free Courses and Certifications.svg

Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & <span>Certifications</span>
On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand <span>Keynotes & Sessions</span>
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
... Inbound Marketing Marketing Strategy
Close
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Read the Guide
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

How to still serve your clients and customers during COVID-19 [Interview]

By John Becker

John Becker also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022.

How to still serve your clients and customers during COVID-19 [Interview] Blog Feature

How can you continue to serve your customers and clients well when every day brings new uncertainty and challenges? How can you steward your relationships through unfamiliar terrain?

IMPACT’s VP of Client Services Tom DiScipio offers his thoughts on the unique challenges facing all businesses right now.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Taking the pulse of the nation

John: First off, talk to me about how you think companies are feeling right now. 

Tom: Over the last few weeks, I’ve had many conversations with our clients across many industries and business types, and at this point in the game, it’s been a similar story across the board.

They (and we) have faced the initial wave of all these economic changes and have landed in some sort of “middle ground.”

A better way to phrase it might be that we’re entering the eye of the storm now where the gravity of everything that’s happened has sunk in, and it’s now time to operate the business in the “new normal.”

And when combined with the fact that there isn’t a solid time table for how long our companies or the economy will have to endure it, it creates uncertainty.

I think that would be the one word I’d use to describe how companies are feeling right now.

At the same time though, this “new normal” is giving companies time to look inward — and for growing companies, it’s never easy to find time to "work on” the business.

As physical becomes virtual, companies of the older generation are forced to adopt modern ways of doing things, and companies that have rested on the merit of their products and services thus far have no choice but to rethink how it could be consumed or delivered.

So, I also feel many companies are sensing opportunity at their doorsteps, but probably not in the way that they wanted it to appear.

John: In hard times, the relationships we've built can be tested. How has this crisis impacted your work with clients?

Tom: When it comes to our client relationships specifically, I think it comes down to balancing both the short-term, protective measures we have to take as an organization for the sake of sustainability, along with the long-term, opportunistic measures we have to take for the future-state of these relationships.

This balance is extremely hard — and there really isn’t a formula for this. 

Ultimately, it comes down to being flexible, but with a commitment to our own sustainability and stability first — the short-term stuff.

The one thing we have to remember is that without our own stability, we’d lack the ability to deliver in a way that our clients need us to, especially in these times.

As humans, it feels a bit selfish and weird to think this way, but it’s the best way to ensure we (our whole team) can continue working effectively with clients.

On the long-term side, we’re constantly thinking about all of the tough decisions our clients have to make, which again, as a human, is heart-wrenching.

This is the flexibility I talked about before that helps us to ask the right questions like, “if we extended their payment terms, would it help them make payroll over the next month or two?” or “could we temporarily deliver these same services in a different way that would be more cost-effective?”

The word I like to use here is “creative.” How can we get creative about navigating these tough situations together?

What stays the same during a crisis

John: Amid such upheaval, what hasn't changed in the way that we're working with clients right now?

Tom: Peter Drucker said it best: “Business has only two major functions: marketing and innovation.” Pandemic or not, that isn’t going to change.

Our clients, and businesses in general, are still wanting (and needing) to invest in building trust through their marketing efforts and innovating from a sales perspective to win more.

It mirrors investing in general. It can be scary to invest in a down-market, but committing to do so is what nets the greatest long-term outcomes.

The challenges businesses are facing

John: Can you talk to me about the real challenges that businesses have right now?

Tom: I’ve talked to so many companies across all industries and the specific challenges vary pretty dramatically, but if I were to think about some of the common threads, there’s nothing more real and challenging than making the shift from physical to virtual or digital.

It can mean life or death for a business in a time like this.

Companies that operated 90-100% in a physical environment, whether it be from an operations, sales, production or whatever other standpoint, are now forced to operate virtually or digitally

This is a major challenge, especially for companies with an older workforce, those that operate out of physical locations like retail, or those who have yet to establish a digital version of their company culture.

And yes, going virtual will really put your company’s culture to the test.

I think the other common challenge that they and we are all facing here is making sense of how the government can support us and the economy.

There’s a lot happening right now, especially in terms of this stimulus bill, among other things.

With it, comes stipulations, and rules, and guidelines, and requirements that businesses are having to navigate and unpack for the first time — and having to do it quickly!

I mean, we've had economic uncertainty before, but this feels different and I think companies are struggling to know how to plan for the changes they need to make and how they can be supported in doing so.

The COVID-19 pandemic as compared to previous downturns

John: How does this current situation feel different than what we would consider a more standard economic slowdown?

Tom: Well I think the main difference here is that the current economic slowdown was driven by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

This is in contrast to the last major pandemic which was the Swine Flu (H1N1) back in 2008 / 2009 where the country was already in the midst of a downturn (The Great Recession), and beginning the road to recovery

And so, the feeling of this current situation, as a business owner, or anyone in general, is like you’re battling on two fronts instead of one.

The first is navigating a complex pandemic safely, while the second is preparing for the long road of economic recovery.

With these two things happening almost simultaneously, it goes back to what I mentioned earlier which is the feeling of uncertainty.

We can look back at the historical data of economic downturns and forecast, in some way, an expectation of when the markets would return,  but when you add in the coronavirus as the catalyst, it’s important to use our levels of “uncertainty” to adjust our timelines and plan more conservatively in order to sustain.

Should this be ‘business as usual’?

John: To what extent do you think companies should operate with the business as usual mindset during these times?

Tom: I don't think businesses should operate business as usual right now. I think it’s about recognizing the elephant in the room and committing to becoming the absolute best planners they can be over the next 18 months.

Leadership and management should be meeting more often to get ahead of everything that is going on, and we should be doing more to enforce the culture of the organization and connect people. 

I think of it as “business as usual plus.” It’s an amplification of business as usual. It's going above and beyond business as usual in times like this. You're still following the same principles, just even more adamantly than you did before.

One of my major takeaways from this pandemic so far is to remind ourselves, once this is all done, to continue to ask the question, “what would we do in a COVID scenario?” This helps us think in ways that force us to innovate and make smarter decisions. 

What we can’t allow to happen is that we become complacent when this is over and go back to business as usual. I would hope this forces us all to become better.

Advice for SMBs

John: What's one piece of advice you have for all businesses out there? 

Tom: I would say that your community is more important now than ever.

We’ve leaned so heavily on the expertise of our coaches, mentors, industry experts, and our audience because we know that the best advice and results come from an amalgamation of everyone's knowledge. 

At the same time, it’s our duty (and yours) to be that coach or mentor for others. Community is what will bring us all through this.

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Topics:

Interviews
Marketing Strategy
Published on April 27, 2020

Recent Articles

Inbound Marketing Success: A How-To Guide to Conducting Content Interviews
September 15, 2021 • 4 min read
Yes, HubSpot can change your business — but it’s not a marketing strategy
February 24, 2021 • 10 min read
Is your marketing still relevant in 2021?
February 11, 2021 • 6 min read
Sure, They Ask, You Answer Works in Other Industries — But Will It Work in Mine?
February 10, 2021 • 7 min read
How to best use your 2021 marketing budget so your company rebounds
February 8, 2021 • 4 min read
Virtual sales training with IMPACT: Will it really help my team?
January 18, 2021 • 5 min read
How did small businesses respond to pandemic challenges? [New research]
December 18, 2020 • 6 min read
What does a virtual event consultant actually do?
November 17, 2020 • 6 min read
Virtual event technology: What does the future hold for marketers?
November 5, 2020 • 15 min read
Should you hire a paid media agency for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns?
September 18, 2020 • 6 min read
How PosterMyWall used COVID-19 to really listen to its customers [Interview]
September 17, 2020 • 6 min read
I’ve read They Ask, You Answer, why do I need your help to build my strategy? [Interview]
September 3, 2020 • 6 min read
We're not new to paid ads; what can we expect in our first 6 months with IMPACT? [Interview]
September 3, 2020 • 8 min read
2 things sales teams need to be focused on going into the end of 2020 [Interview]
August 24, 2020 • 6 min read
How to turn strangers into customers (and friends) with Facebook Ads [AdvertiseMint CEO Brian Meert Interview]
August 19, 2020 • 5 min read
How to make your company rebrand go smoothly, according to a graphic designer [Interview]
August 5, 2020 • 7 min read
How to use LinkedIn as a powerful B2B lead generating tool [Interview]
July 21, 2020 • 7 min read
How to leave feedback about your IMPACT experience (and why you should)
July 17, 2020 • 9 min read
How to succeed with introverted leadership [Interview]
July 14, 2020 • 6 min read
How agencies can better use data to prep for post-COVID success [Interview]
July 10, 2020 • 11 min read
How artificial intelligence is already influencing the digital sales process [Interview]
July 1, 2020 • 8 min read
Why growing as a specialist often doesn't mean scaling the ladder [Interview]
July 1, 2020 • 6 min read
How much does the HubSpot CMS cost — and is it worth it?
June 30, 2020 • 5 min read
Should I hire an agency or hire internal digital marketers? [Interview]
June 17, 2020 • 6 min read
How should you be spending your website redesign budget? [Interview]
June 5, 2020 • 7 min read