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Five priorities for rapid revenue recovery during COVID-19

The muscles that companies can build to bring back revenues amid the COVID-19 crisis can also help accelerate growth. This McKinsey Live webinar covers the fundamentals of achieving new levels of speed and agility.

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, consumers and customers have begun to alter their buying patterns and shift to digital channels, products, and services—opening up entirely new fronts in the competition for customers. In this context, it’s not enough for businesses to reposition their brands. They can also benefit from rethinking their customer experiences, value propositions, go-to-market strategies, and operations. In this McKinsey Live webinar, held on June 8, McKinsey senior partners Brian Gregg and Kelly Ungerman discussed how companies can quickly recover their revenues, speed growth, and gain agility by focusing on these five fundamentals:

Multi-speed management. To respond effectively to the COVID-19 crisis, companies should consider making a deliberate effort to look beyond the immediate challenges and issues that the crisis creates. That means not only planning for the recovery period that is likely to begin as businesses reopen, consumers resume more of their usual activities, and demand returns, but also engage in long-term planning for the “next normal”. For some companies this will mean setting up a dedicated planning team.

Business reimagination. The current crisis has created an impetus for companies to reimagine their business models and quickly adapt their offerings and operations to temporary conditions like lockdowns, travel restrictions, and workplace closures. They might begin by refreshing their understanding of customers’ expectations and needs and rethinking their value propositions in line with those priorities. Similarly, leaders can reconsider where new sources of growth might be found, beyond their current offerings.

Granular granularity. Putting a business back on a growth trajectory during and after the pandemic will require businesses to identify reliable markers of demand and quickly pursue emerging opportunities. This requires them to develop a fine-grained understanding of customer-level insights. For example, a company can use a granular growth-forecasting model to locate pockets of growth by analyzing data at three levels: the market level (industries and customer segments), the local geographic level (ZIP or postal codes), and the individual-customer level (household income, loyalty status, spending history).

Virtual agility. Faced with a sudden shift in market conditions and consumer behaviors, including a mass move to virtual channels, companies are rewiring for speed and agility, implementing major changes that might have taken them months or years prior to the crisis. Many have implemented these changes, even with large numbers of their employees working remotely, by using new technology and tools to collaborate in real time. This has shown the possibility for accelerating agile transformations, even though their operations are now largely virtual—but executives must also make crucial adjustments that will allow their agile teams to be effective even while spread out.

Self-banked growth. Many companies have embarked on cost-savings efforts so they can better navigate the crisis, spending less of their free cash in nonessential areas and using those funds on more effective channels and campaigns. The next level of effort focuses on strategic, technology-powered efficiency gains, which are grounded in the use of analytics and automation to enable smarter, data-driven decisions. Lastly, executives should look for possible breakthroughs in productivity: for example, rebalancing their activities between those performed in-house and those that are outsourced.

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