Poor sales execution is often covered up when the economy is booming. Crisis and sudden shocks to the economy can expose sales and marketing leaders as they will have to overcome more obstacles than they have had to in recent years. A clear sales continuity plan can help clean up inefficiency and keep revenue stable.
Here are some thoughts for a sales continuity plan:
- Build morale – teams can become anxious and think more about job insecurity and income decreases. But remember, this anxiety will be present when they speak to customers. Not good. Don’t cut back on expenses for team building despite concerns that may exist over budget cuts. Get creative. Customers want to buy from upbeat sales and marketers.
- Focus on solutions and don’t panic – salespeople that are panicking push and can become too aggressive. In a slowdown, customers are not so easily lured by BIG gains but rather safety and security.
- Leverage your efforts – In soft markets, it can be a tendency of salespeople to chase the easy stuff. In tough markets, you must leverage all your efforts. Always ask for and mine your network for referrals. Contact dormant accounts and increase your number of required touches per lead from 12 to 16-18. (12 is the average needed for people to respond in a stable market). Follow up on leads relentlessly. Increase daily activity standards and measure effectively and consistently.
- Get proactive and stay positive – negativity destroys activity and sales results. Get in the trenches with your teams and do the hard work with them. Make calls, mine your own network extensively for referrals, etc. Show teams, daily you are standing beside them and not above them.
- Upgrade your teams – Underperformers will be exposed during soft markets and this is an opportunity to reorganize your team to maximize potential. Reassign or think about if there is a good fit. Double down on training your teams and making them better. Assign coaches, mentors and meet regularly to strategize, get feedback from the field, and move forward.
Jay Revels, AI for Sales (email@example.com)