The story may be apocryphal.

But in the aftermath of World War II, as he worked to form the United Nations, Winston Churchill is widely believed to have drily observed, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste!’

Which is really just another way of saying that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.

That is, of course, for those who can find it and put it to use.

Pivot and prospect

Which brings us to prospecting.
(You knew we were going to get here fairly shortly, didn’t you?)

What sets prospecting apart as a marketing channel is how agile it can be. Compared to other channels – such as inbound – there is an instant rolling boil without any of the slow simmer.

This unique agility of email prospecting makes it ideal for performing the much-vaunted pivot.
It is ideally positioned to:

• Respond to a crisis
• Announce a change of direction
• Capitalise on a change of message
• Launch a new initiative
• Reach a new audience

And it can do so with a speed that leaves other channels standing.

So, should your world change all around you – do not despair.
Repeat this mantra and give us a call.

1. Take stock
2. Re-evaluate
3. Pivot and prospect

Pandemic and peer-to-peer

Here’s a great example of a business using prospecting to make the most out of a good crisis.

In March 2020, Bob Bradley reacted to the news of a COVID-19 lockdown with a sense of doom-laden dismay and rising panic.

His business, MD2MD, relied on the power of face-to-face meetings to create connections and engagement among its community of business leaders.

It ensured that it was never lonely at the top through regular meetings and speaker events.

Lockdown effectively pulled the rug from under its well-established feet.

Once the initial shock subsided, Bob decided to do what he always does. He made sure he understood exactly what the new situation needed.

Placing prospecting and any other form of marketing on hold, he devoted his time to reaching out to his existing audience to understand what they needed now the ground had shifted so violently.

What Bob discovered was that the need for a peer-to-peer group was stronger than ever. It was just his ability to deliver it that had been knocked for six.

His members, again and again, told him that:

‘We are in uncharted territory.

No MBA, no management training and no amount of leadership experience has prepared us for what we are facing now. And there are no formulaic, black and white answers.
As business leaders we urgently need to compare notes to understand what’s happening and to share ideas on how we can deal with it.
If we can learn from each other we can save time and save our businesses.’

This was a crisis we all could learn from.

Bob moved his operations online and, having made the switch by April, his members were asking for more regular meetings because the situation around them was changing so fast.

He discovered that online meetings may lack the strong sense of connection that face to face has but they did confer several other benefits.

• The pool of speakers available to Bob went global.
• The scheduling of meetings was simplified.
• New members could be introduced and onboarded with greater ease.

Commenting on the effects of COVID-19 on his business, Bob observed:

‘This was a crisis I could not waste. I’d been telling myself for 10 years that I should be doing something online – but I never got around to it. COVID forced my hand – and it’s really exciting what happened when I turned a crisis into an opportunity.
Having established that what we had was even more attractive to business leaders, we tripled our spend on prospecting. A year on we have tripled our membership. We’ve recruited twice as many members in the last nine months as we did in the previous 15 years!

We spotted the moment and timing in business is critical. As they say, the only sustainable competitive advantage is your agility, your ability to respond effectively to opportunities.

This year we look forward to folding back in face to face into our offering. But it will be alongside – not instead of – online.’

Pulling away

Prospecting offers you with the chance to take advantage quickly of new situations.

These may be situations that you have created or that have fallen out of the sky and landed rather heavily in your lap.

Whenever things change it is those businesses that can use speed of action to gain a sustainable competitive advantage that will pull away.

And these businesses rely on prospecting.

If you want to know more about how prospecting works, watch our video below or get in touch and have a chat with our team.

Watch our explainer video to learn more about SoPro