All companies have ups and downs. There are times when new deals are closed daily, new prospects seem to be competing for your attention, and the phone just won’t stop ringing.
Then, there are those other times — when things are moving slowly, leads are scarce and you suddenly find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands, perhaps not even knowing what to do with it.
It’s easy to get caught up in worry when business and lead gen slows down. That concern might also be valid, and it can help you make the right decisions for your business. A slow down in sales can be a kick in the butt to get more creative with the strategies you use to increase sales.
But if it's a case of waiting out the slow period, why not also look for and take advantage of any opportunities during this time?
What to Do When Business Is Slow
If your business is temporarily generating fewer leads, it could be the ideal moment to fine-tune your routines and processes to get your company in perfect shape for when the tide turns.
Here are nine areas to focus on that will set your business up for long-term success.
1. Clean up your email list.
When was the last time you updated your email list? How many of the contacts there are real and verified, and how many are invalid or outdated emails?
We all know that feeling when what we thought was a precious lead turned out to be firstname.lastname@example.org. Well, now is the time to clean your email lists from all those fake accounts, misspelled addresses, and redundancies.
Keeping your email list accurate and up to date will lower your bounce rate and improve your overall email campaign performance. Making sure your email list is in good shape also protects your IP reputation and increases deliverability.
2. Enrich and update your contact data.
What's the state of your CRM system? Is your data fresh? Are all the contact details neatly filled out and updated recently? If so, great job! Your business is one of the exceptions to the rule that most salespeople aren’t big fans of admin tasks.
But what if your CRM system is in a bit of a mess? Well, you're not the only one.
Considering that B2B data is a bit like fresh produce — decaying at a rate of 70% (!) per year — this is a task that many businesses struggle with.
The good news is that if you enrich and update your customer data, it will pay off big time once the wheels start moving again. Reliable customer data is crucial for the sales process and will help your team operate much more efficiently.
Now might also be the time to integrate your CRM with other systems, such as your marketing automation app, customer support platform, or VoIP provider.
3. Optimize your business strategy.
It can be easy to forget about your brand, marketing, and overall business strategies. However, they're extremely valuable to update and remind your team of every so often.
When business is slow, it’s a great time to take a step back and re-evaluate your offer and positioning.
As part of your strategy check-in, you can also do a quick competitor analysis. Take care to identify the gaps in your competitors’ offerings. Those gaps might present new opportunities for your company.
Understanding exactly what it is your competitor is offering will put you in a better position — both in sales conversations and when you’re tailoring your own offerings.
You could even publish your comparison content on your blog or website to help your prospects make the best decision for their goals and pain points.
And remember, your competition is not static; new players bring new challenges and the market landscape is ever-changing.
4. Improve your SEO.
Whenever you have a little extra time on your hands, spending it on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is always a good investment. Doing so will improve your website’s ranking on Google and thereby bring new, relevant traffic to your site.
Start by doing a thorough content audit of your website to identify all opportunities to improve it. Review your existing blog posts and update them with internal links to new content and landing pages. A technical SEO audit will help your page perform even better.
Fix any broken links and add CTAs with new content offers. Make sure all your pages are in good shape with optimized page titles, meta descriptions, and alt texts for your images. SEMrush or Ahrefs are great tools for analyzing and optimizing your website.
5. Talk to your customers.
When was the last time you called up one of your existing customers to have a chat? Doing so is a sadly underestimated habit that has the potential of revolutionizing your business.
Communicating with your customers enables you to see your product through the eyes of your target group and often brings new and essential insights.
Book some calls with people using your product and listen to what they have to say. Chances are you’ll be surprised by the amount of useful information this simple gesture will generate.
Of course, praise is always welcome and when you do come across those who love your product, make sure to ask for a testimonial. But, there is even more to be learned from the customers who are less than happy.
Why are they not satisfied? Is there a problem with the product, or are they a bad fit for your offer? Perhaps it’s time to update your customer personas?
6. Improve your email workflows.
Ok, so lead generation may have slowed down. That doesn’t mean your nurturing emails have to do the same. Now is the perfect opportunity to optimize and build out your email workflows and make sure you’re doing everything you can to move your leads further down the funnel.
The fewer new leads coming in, the more important is it to take care of the ones you’ve already gathered.
Review your email analytics to figure out where in the customer journey you tend to lose most of your leads. That’s where you want to focus on improving performance.
Tweak your email content, experiment with your subject lines, and test out different CTAs to see what happens. Sometimes small changes can make a surprisingly big difference.
7. Expand your business network.
Business is all about relationships. And, when things are a bit slow, that’s when you want to get out there and form new ones. This can be done physically by attending networking events and by grabbing lunch with old colleagues. But it can also be done digitally, and that’s where you can scale your networking.
Get involved in business groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, invite new people to your network, and start conversations by posting content and interacting with other people’s posts.
Feeding and expanding your business network might be the quickest, most effective, and also the most enjoyable way to get new leads and deals. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to start reaching out to peers and interact with people in your industry.
8. Guest post on other blogs.
Are there other companies that share your target group without being competitors of yours? Find businesses with offers complementing yours and reach out to them with guest articles for their blogs.
You don’t have to write everything from scratch. Remix your old content and pitch to publications and business blogs and guest posts.
Don’t be overly salesy, but make sure your bio links back to your website. This backlinking will strengthen your website's domain authority. Being seen in quality publications and next to well-known brands will also promote your business and help to position you as a thought leader in your industry.
9. Set SMART goals.
When the pace slows, it’s an opportunity to revisit your business strategy and your goals. Ask yourself and your team:
- Is there a need for changes?
- Is your team aligned around your goals?
- Have you managed to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals?
If not, now is the time. With a well-structured strategy and clear goals, you will find your way back to business more quickly and effectively.
It’s easy to get stressed when business seems to slow down and lead generation drops. But with the right mindset, you can use this time to improve your business. By focusing on these nine strategies, you will build a healthier and more resilient organization so that when things pick up again, you can really hit the ground running.