Pivoting: Selling Northeast Indiana during COVID-19

By: Brandon Noll on June 5th, 2020

No Slowing Down during COVID-19

On March 11, I was on a flight back from Atlanta after attending the Site Selectors Guild. I was motivated by the conversations we had and the relationships we established. 

The year was off to a fantastic start with a tremendous amount of momentum! In the first 10 weeks of 2020, our team completed seven of our planned 55 trips for the year. On top of that, we also announced a huge collaborative win for Northeast Indiana, as Inteva Products expanded operations to Wells County.

Warm leads and projects were moving forward. Then, suddenly, the week of March 16 our office was closed, and we started working from home with no idea of how long we would be working remotely due to the historic pandemic of COVID-19.

While maybe our optimism came to a screeching halt, nothing could slow our momentum.   

Quickly, we understood that working from home and adjusting to a complete halt on travel was going to last longer than we anticipated. It was that moment when we quickly pivoted our business attraction strategy. 

Pivoting required us to make a dramatic change. We were no longer spending over 50% of our time traveling outside of our 11-county region. So, with roughly 30 conferences, trade shows, or sales trips canceled and our interactions with companies and consultants coming in the form of Zoom meetings and phone calls, we pivoted. 

We directed our focus on ite Consultant relationships, internal processes, external marketing and market understanding (pre-and post-COVID).   

During the COVID-19 stay-at-home order by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, our team fought to keep the momentum moving forward.

Here is a list of what we accomplished:

  • Issued 5 projects to the local economic developers in our 11-county region
  • Made introductions and/or further strengthened relationships with roughly 50 site consultants via virtual interactions
  • Attended expert-led webinars on topics from learning about virtual site tours to attracting talent and business from major metros.
  • Participated in Consultant Connect’s Virtual Site Consultant Encounter, which provided the opportunity to learn from nearly 200 economic developers and site consultants
  • Conducted outreach on past and present projects in our pipeline
  • Worked with our marketing team to enhance business attraction marketing material
  • Updated internal processes and enhanced our regional knowledge about sites and buildings available throughout our region
  • Conducted over 20 sales meetings with companies interested in Northeast Indiana

It’s officially June, and I am back in the office. I am not sure what the next 7 months look like, quite frankly, no one does. But what I do know is the resilience of our business development team is unmatched, and we will continue to pivot as to not allow our momentum to slow. 

In the words of John Sampson, “Onward!”