As we are tightening our belts and strapping in, we started thinking ahead. What are the potential post virus scenarios that will impact our consulting business and the businesses of our clients (mostly B2B Technology companies and Private Equity firms)? This is a time with direct consequences. Many markets have real cashflow problems, delayed or canceled expenses and purchases, and a concern that the market will never be the same again. In this environment, the basic question is this: “How do I best get prepared for a new kind of market?”
Our way to understand a market is by doing primary research. Sounds complex, but it is all about asking the right questions and finding the right people to answer them. Especially in a changing market it is of vital importance to stay in touch and ensure you understand your clients and market behavior.
In our experience, a time of change is exactly the time to step up your customer experience programs, to (re)-evaluate your big investments and to ensure that your market has not shifted on you. Now is the prudent time to make sure your go-to-market strategies and product investments will hold up and remain worthwhile.
These are typical questions we often ask when investigating a fluctuating market:
- Are the current clients going to be there for the long term?
- Will potential new clients change their spending behavior?
- Will the competitive landscape shift?
- Is the general market opportunity still the same as before?
Do your current clients really know? Well, some of these are unknowable this week, but people, businesses and markets adapt quickly. The one sure-fired way to validate that something is different is by asking your target audience for feedback. Not just once, but routinely and in depth. Kind of like political polling, but with a smaller dedicated audience. Our customer experience engagements are great barometers for our clients in good times and bad.
The pessimist sees a long period where the Hoovers and D&B databases are completely unreliable, but the optimist sees a connected world via Zoom, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn where understanding market changes are much more countable and measurable in real time than ever before. Are we not obligated to get prepared and continue to stay in touch?
Where some see an extended period of nothing, we see an obligation to ensure you are confirming your understanding of your core market at regular intervals in the upcoming months. And who knows, you may uncover new opportunities where you can solve new problems that propel your business forward again.