During this time of isolation, every business can benefit from a redirection of attention, whether you’re a local Fortune 500 company or a small business. It begins by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I need to do to change my business model?
  • Can I still sell my products and deliver them?
  • Shall I let my employees work from home? How can I assist them to do so?
  • Have I invested in a virtual meeting/video conference software? And is it available from my team?
  • What can I do today to make a difference?

These aren’t easy questions to answer so it’s important to start developing your strategy immediately if you haven’t already done so. We are in this for the long haul because many of us can not go back to our offices in the next week or two. So ask your employees to help brainstorm ideas, and to focus as much time and energy as possible to figure out their role in a post-Covid-19 world, and how you can best fill it.

Also, in a time of global crisis, it’s important to still reach out and invest in customer relationships. Customers are the glue that keeps your business together and is your fundamental footing for success. But how do you safeguard that your customers are happy at this time when your sales team cannot visit face-to-face. Using your data in Salesforce can help evoke deeper connections.

There are several ways that your remote sales can be loyal, provide insights into your products and services, and share their own experiences at this time. Scheduling sales calls via video conferencing, such as Zoom, or WebEx is one and not just providing a sales pitch but showing real concern over your customer’s wellbeing. This can provide visual cues that they normally would have with a face-to-face meeting. Have your team ask questions, not just pitch, but be more personable. Your team just might find a lot more about your customers than they thought they ever knew.

By adding that data to your CRM will inevitably help with your customer relationships in the future. As this crisis continues, on the next phone call or video conference your sales team will then know how to ask questions again on how your customer’s family is fairing or what may have changed in their business model. This creates a bond much deeper and can become more profitable for future sales.

Another suggestion is using email. Create marketing campaigns that keep in touch with your customers and letting them know you understand and are here for them. A regular note that wishes them well goes a lot further than when you are trying to sell them something that they may not be able to use at this time. Again, a sincere message will go a lot further and will become more profitable for future sales. Especially if you encourage your sales team to send out personal messages too.

Also, as a manager, your challenge will be understanding your sales teams’ needs. If available, it may be best to use face-to-face video conferencing daily or at least every few days to motivate your team and avoid the sense of abandonment or loss of informal social interaction that they are used to in an office setting. Not just using Slack, texts or email alone is adequate. Helping them understand the tools available to them will help avoid the feeling of a lack of information. Now is the time they can use to easily build the database in CRM to propel you in the future.

Remember, most CRM systems include platforms built to manage marketing, sales, customer service, and support, all connected to help companies work more effectively and all teams need to use the above recommendations to increase your data. All of these platforms can easily be managed by a remote team and will keep your business running smoothly.

Last but not least, I recommended that all the managers in your company establish Rules of Engagement not just for your customers but with your staff. Research on emotional intelligence and emotional contagion tells us that employees look to their managers for cues about how to react to sudden changes or crises. If the manager is communicating stress and helplessness, so will your teams project to your customers. Add a note of encouragement and support to have a positive effect on both your teams and customers.

If your company doesn’t have the technology in place to accomplish your new goals, there are inexpensive ways to obtain simple versions of these tools for your team, as a short-term fix.

If you haven’t already started trying to answer these questions, you’re properly already too late. The effects on businesses could last much longer than that–several months, or even years.

This post was originally published here.