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Retaining customers and talent while preparing for post-crisis emergence

In the face of ongoing “shelter in place” orders and facing at least a month of continued social distancing, Alexander Group gathered more than 40 leaders in a virtual roundtable to continue the discussion regarding issues and potential actions. As a backdrop, we reviewed recent results from Alexander Group’s Sales Compensation Flash Survey, of which 18% of the 203 respondents work within the Healthcare industry. We closed the conversation with a few thoughts on navigating a post COVID-19 recovery.

Several key themes emerged during the wide-ranging and interactive discussion:

  1. Prepare for Uneven Recovery: Use national guidance from the CDC, Federal government and projected unemployment figures to inform your business planning on a regular basis. Consider the fact that speed of recovery might vary by such factors as geography and market segment. Contact colleagues in places such as China to better understand the speed and nature of recovery.
  2. Manage Cash Flow But Retain Talent: Balance a need to conserve cash with the desire to retain talent. Make necessary reductions in non-essential spend and suspend hiring while instituting equitable practices to retain talent. Be conservative in assessing worst case scenarios and the likelihood of delayed or non-payment from customers. Keeping your commercial organization intact will shorten the time to post-crisis recovery.
  3. Update Sales Compensation Programs: Abandon the use of territory level quotas in such uncertain times. Tie commercial pay plans or guarantees to a combination of individual performance and/or overall company performance. Consider changing crediting rules to reward closer to the time of sales and remove pay curve features such as thresholds. Shorten pay and performance periods to allow for adjustment as uncertainty subsides.
  4. Be a Good Partner: Recognize and empathize with the challenges your customers are experiencing. Where appropriate, consider extending credit terms and/or eliminate fees for late payment. Provide resources such as virtual product or procedure training as a means to enhance and retain customer loyalty.
  5. Prepare to Win in the Post-Pandemic Marketplace: As soon as possible, begin identifying sectors or regions of your business that are most likely to recover the fastest. Plan to re-direct resources as necessary to maximize results in a post-crisis environment. Be ready to execute when the opportunity presents itself.

In such uncertain times, we find forums such as our weekly COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable a valuable venue for the sharing of ideas and concerns while also providing a little sense of community; particularly in these days of social distancing.

We encourage you to register for our upcoming virtual event. If you are unable to attend, or would simply prefer to speak with someone directly, please contact us for an individual discussion. Finally, you may also visit our website for our latest articles on the COVID-19 crisis. Please stay safe and healthy.

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