Steps Distributors Should Take Now to Emerge Stronger When Recovery Arrives

Robert Kravitz examines what distributors and other B2B organizations should be doing to retain jobs, maintain operations and hold on to customers.

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Many in the professional cleaning industry report they are swamped right now, with end-customers asking them to help them sanitize their facilities.

However, at the same time, they realize our country has come to a virtual standstill, and no one knows when some semblance of normality will return.

So, what should distributors and other B2B organizations be doing right now to retain jobs, maintain operations and, most importantly, hold on to customers?

KravitzKravitzAccording to Robert Kravitz, president of AlturaSolutions, a marketing content communications firm serving the foodservice industry, among the steps are the following: 

Keep the marketing momentum going: There is case after case where companies stopped advertising and stopped marketing in a downturn and never resurfaced. They went dark. Consumers forgot about them.

Shift marketing tactics: Many marketers are sending out mass emails, addressing the crisis, and ways their products can tackle the challenges it has created. Consider other tactics as well, such as video. Videos tend to be more personal, show you care, and want to help during this difficult time.

Stay in touch: Many suppliers have sent emails to customers stating the many implications of the virus and current shutdown. But don’t stop there. Send occasional updates, words of encouragement, and news that may impact your customers’ businesses or the industry.

Cut through the chatter: There is a lot of noise out there right now about the virus, and many end-customers are starting to tune out. While it is essential to stay in touch, make sure communications have a purpose and are timely. Occasional means occasional: updates every few weeks should be fine.

Get personal: Select a handful of customers every day and contact them by phone or email, to ask how they are doing. One-to-one correspondence can be very powerful in times like this.

Handle anticipated cancellations: Some end-customers may be putting a hold on purchasing new products or services. Many times, sending them a discount toward a future product or service can help keep operations going.

“Be sure not to come across as opportunistic,” adds Kravitz. “Stay helpful, show you are concerned and offer a helping hand if you can.”

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