To ensure future success, businesses need to start planning and preparing to adapt during the next 18 months.
In a virtual meeting hosted by ActionIQ, executives from tech businesses discussed the new reality of managing B2B customer experiences and surviving the pandemic and social unrest, as the world tries to correct centuries-old racial injustice.
Jeff Weiser, an executive at venture capital firm Bessemer Partners and former CMO at Shopify and Shutterstock, along with Jeff Wright, global head of business strategy and operations at Dropbox, and former vice president, data analytics at Autodesk, participated in a discussion led by Ryan Greene, head of marketing at ActionIQ.
The discussion focused more on ways to calm volatility and emerge successfully from business closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategies can also apply to challenges faced during social unrest.
The No. 1 thing Weiser saw happen when the U.S. entered the pandemic crisis was that companies immediately moved into a defensive role. Businesses tried to correct themselves, to be sensitive about events and to avoid coming across as tone deaf.
Weiser said companies that once charged for services now offer them for free or have waived fees. However, some have gone too far. It’s not necessary to implement what he refers to as “accessibly, permissive policies, particularly when it comes to pricing for fear of losing the whole customer base.”
Previous silos and separation between marketing, creative, IT and other business functions must close and connect to work well together. Business now requires a culture that supports unity.
The dual crisis — pandemic and social unrest — shines a light on companies that are ill-prepared to weather the storm, those that do not have the correct technology, Wright said.
It’s easy during the early days of a crisis to “fall into the mode of being on the lowest rung of Maslow's hierarchy,” Wright said. He cautioned not to fall into a defensive mode, but ensure a company is properly playing defense. Also make sure there are people in the organization whose job it is to focus on playing offense.
“You can do this simultaneously,” he said, suggesting that it's also important to expand into new sectors that can accelerate change.