Vasyl Soloshchuk
CEO at INSART
1 December 2020

The Lockdown Winter Is Coming: What to Expect and How to Prepare

The lockdown. When it first came, it was an unexpected hit—a death punch, in a way. The panic and uncertainty have contributed to the chaos around financial markets, which has had a ruinous impact on many fintech firms throughout the market. Today we are entering the first winter with coronavirus, which means the threat is returning. Except now we already know what quarantine looks like. I’ve wondered whether it’s possible to prepare for a possible new lockdown and its consequences while using the experience we’ve gained during the first one.

Today I’ve gathered the opinions, observations, and secret sauces from the leaders of the fintech companies with which we’ve partnered to summarize what worked well during the first lockdown or didn’t work at all. This piece will be interesting for product leaders because their combined efforts are required to make their companies stand out in such a crisis.

Ryan Russell, Twenty Over Ten

Communication strategy is going to be one of the most influential factors for business resilience this winter. Ryan Russell represents a marketing and communications technology company for financial advisors. Unsurprisingly, they experienced a dramatic increase in their product usage when the lockdown occurred for the first time. To keep up with the increased usage, they had to expand quickly. With this in mind, we can conclude that the ability to scale can make the lockdown less stressful for your business.

Since March we’ve seen an unprecedented shift to digital communication for everyone, including advisors. Our user base for our inbound marketing platform, Lead Pilot, has grown more than 80%. Clients are now beginning to see the immediate need and importance of a digital communication strategy to help communicate directly with their clients, prospects, and networks efficiently and effectively.

The other point Ryan highlights is keeping your clients informed and supplying them with relevant and time-sensitive information.

We created a specially assembled content team that rapidly deployed content relevant to the current pandemic and market downturn weekly for advisors to deploy via blog posts, social media, email, and automated comprehensive campaigns.

Corey Westphal, MobileAssistant

Because communications massively migrated to online mediums, the necessity to store and manage results arose. When you have many meetings per day, it can be problematic to remember what you discussed and manage action plans. One of the solutions to the problem is the use of effective meeting documenting software. This is exactly what Corey Westphal and his MobileAssistant product offer to Fintech clients.

In March, the beginning of the pandemic hit the financial advisor community with uncertainty and a market drop that resulted in a tremendous spike in client interactions. The increase in client interactions needed to be documented, and MobileAssistant stepped up by increasing production to ensure advisors received their dictated notes back quickly. Recognizing the urgency for client meeting documentation from advisors during the pandemic was critical for our response and our quick adjustment in production capacity.

Stephen Huppert, SCH Consulting

The first lockdown should have pushed you to solve all your organizational problems concerned with accommodation and provision of workers—if not, then your decision-making will continue to be postponed and slowed down. Stephen Huppert points out that making important decisions is impossible when you constantly have urgent issues to solve.

The focus has been adjusting to having everyone working from home and dealing with the huge increase in member activity. It has meant delays in decision-making, which means that opportunities are taking longer to move through the pipeline or are deferred to next year. Decision-making has slowed whilst organizations deal with the urgent matters of adjusting to working from home and the impact of the pandemic on their customers.

Adrian Johnstone, PractiFi

Anticipating problems is also something Adrian Johnstone emphasizes: because PractiFi had communication functionality before the coronavirus lockdown, it didn’t have to make a lot of preparations and adjustments.

Our embedded collaboration features have been exceptionally beneficial as our clients shift to having a remote workforce.

Unlike Stephen, Adrian goes beyond creating a comfortable environment for work by ensuring that workers have enough social interaction within their workplace and outside it.

We have ensured everyone had ergonomic work environments, social gatherings, and increased support through HR where needed. We dedicated a team member to speak with everyone on the team at least weekly to make sure they had everything they needed during the first 12 weeks.

Michael Williams, Levelset

The global health crisis included economic issues for every company in the world. Businesses had to cut costs and find sources to fund efforts to mitigate pandemic-related problems. Michael Williams from Levelset notes that building custom products for clients has proven to be an efficient and guaranteed way to secure more revenue during uncertain times.

We shifted our focus towards our à la carte products that help with immediate money collection pains and bring in daily revenue. We traditionally focused on a SaaS offering that promises ongoing peace of mind, but businesses were hyper-focused on immediate and concrete outcomes.

Moreover, in the business-to-business environment, it’s particularly important to help your clients and partners grow their businesses and secure financing to overcome lockdown challenges. So delayed payments and similar features become a holy grail for companies during crises like these.

We also offered deferred payments to our SaaS customers to prove our dedication to help without asking for them to take on an experimental risk. We operate in the construction industry, so the biggest changes are canceled projects and delayed supply chains. In some ways, we help companies deal with the increased legal and financial fallout, but some of our current or potential markets for customers will go under due to lack of work.

Takeaways

Arranging remote workplaces, keeping in touch online, managing communication outcomes, and providing an ability to get money fast were extremely beneficial product features during the first lockdown. Because we stand at the precipice of a new coronavirus surge, the success of the products will be influenced by the ability of market players to learn from failures and leverage acquired knowledge.