Prepare Your Sales Org for Recession

A recession could happen shortly. Recession risk has increased in many countries as a result of record inflation, supply chain shocks, unpredictable energy costs, and rising interest rates.

According to research by The Financial Times, more than two-thirds of economists think that an economic recession is imminent. The possibility of budget cuts, financial losses, layoffs, and other consequences may be faced by certain businesses while they wait to see how things turn out.

Executives are discussing how to sell more effectively and efficiently because growth and revenues are being squeezed at many business-to-business enterprises. Additionally, the sales executives may have gone through a practice recession, a lot has changed in the sales management environment since the last recession. A more effective response plan is required so that they can develop one right away that emphasizes investing in tools, training, and effective sales tactics.

Recessions surprise many firms, forcing them to adopt dramatic measures to survive. Digital planning tools and analytical techniques have advanced recently, opening new go-to-market approaches for companies to thrive during a recession.

Ways to Prepare Your Sales Organization for Recession

Ways to Prepare Your Sales Organization for Recession

Reorient your efforts toward providing value rather than quotas

Customers may be anxious due to rumours of an upcoming recession. Find ways to provide additional value and assistance to your current customer base so they know their investment is valued and won’t disappear rather than stressing over quota fulfilment. Consider how you can deliver value rather than how you can go more quickly. Most customers demand high-quality work, but they also want it done immediately and with rapidity.

Your responsibility is to comprehend the value being created with the investment, not only to add value to your planning and software.

According to She Sells CEO and creator Elyse Archer, this should begin with the needs of the customer: “What can you modify in your processes, systems, and delivery to serve them best now?” The financial worries of customers can also be addressed by making minor changes to the payment alternatives and contract terms.

A few quick value gains were offered by Donald Kelly, the creator of The Sales Evangelist: “Can you convert a three-year contract into a one-year contract? Can you provide a reduced [package] so [the customer] receives the assistance they require right away and allows them to add on later?

“You will gain more business if you are perceived as the group that can help others right now,” Kelly added. Be recognized as a business that is still in operation and available to help.

Improve and diversify the skills of your troops

Whenever there are market changes, a resilient sales organization can react immediately. But you can only do that if you spend money on cross-training and upskilling to make sure your workforce can accept new tasks or responsibilities as you adjust to changing market circumstances.

  • Spend money on training materials
  • Tie up with New Skills in Everyday Activities
  • Search for customized online resources
  • Encourage your employees to share their learning goals with you
  • Facilitate cross-training among teams
  • Hire Employees with the Proper Skill Sets

“Invest in your teams’ talents so they can effectively succeed regardless of the marketplace conditions,” advised Marcus Chan, founder, and CEO of Venli Consulting Group.

Fortunately, this workout doesn’t need to involve a huge project. Close Brothers business partner for learning and development Juliette Evans utilizes Salesforce Trailhead to assist in the continuous training of her workforce. Evans said, “We want to ensure our people have the skills and tools they need to be successful.”

As an economic recession approaches, identify trouble spots in your sales engine to make sure you’re covering the proper training subjects. Whatever a delayed ramp time, too many difficult deals, a lengthy sales cycle, or a sales process obstacle prevents you from meeting your quota? Create training modules for rep coaching that include instruction, quizzes, examples, or interactive tasks using these insights. Make sure that the training is cross-functional as well. To avoid having consumers switch between departments, for instance, teach your AEs to answer simple billing inquiries.

Give them the tools they need to respond to important queries like “Where can I view my bill and how can I pay it?” by walking them through a typical billing conversation.

Be explicit about your performance standards, and then live up to them

Setting clear expectations for your reps will help them understand what is required of them and how they fit into the larger picture of the company’s success. Fundamentals are key in a lot of stuff; make sure that your primary sales tasks are clear.

Given the impending economic downturn, you must demonstrate to them that they can do it. Chan advised “Help set clear guidelines for performance and cultural expectations then model them,” said Chan.” “Leaders must be present and lead from the front.”

For instance, be explicit that you want your reps to focus even more on pipeline upkeep, continuing training, and team alignment. Then, take the initiative by keeping (and planning for) weekly pipeline reviews to show accountability, including upskilling and training in your weekly to-do list, and regularly synchronizing with other teams to highlight the significance of alignment.

Make sure to provide your salespeople with the resources they need to succeed while you demonstrate these habits. Chan said, “Continue to coach and support reps to maximize their performance and provide transparency on all org changes,” urged Chan.”

Automate chores to increase productivity

Automation can let you focus on things that make a difference while lowering risk and reducing human error. Belal Batrawy, head of GTM (Go To Market) at GTM Buddy, is one example of a sales leader who uses technology to keep reps concentrated on high-impact selling activities rather than menial ones.

“We are investing in automation — we are investing in everything that allows us to automate stages in the marketing and sales funnel to deliver better outcomes,” said Batrawy.

Automation can help you grow your sales efforts without adding more reps when it comes to being prepared for economic downturns. Examples include workflows, scheduled communications, and automatic record updates seen in current CRMs.

Any automation solutions you choose must be mobile-friendly and available to the entire team. If you don’t already have one, think about implementing a real-time messaging platform like Slack that can link with your CRM so sales reps may modify deals, plan messages for team members, and communicate with clients while working remotely from home or the field.

Remember the fundamentals

If a recession occurs, it could be tempting to move quickly and dramatically, perhaps by changing your targets or your sales procedures. However, harsh measures aren’t always the best course of action. Going back to what made your business great in the first place is frequently the best remedy for a new problem.

“Revisiting your focus and foundations, such establishing your ideal client profile, target personas, territories, verticals, etc., is the best thing a sales org can do [during disruptions like a recession],” said Batrawy.
Regardless of market shifts, your team should be able to close deals confidently and effectively by retraining sales agents in the art of the sales call and consultative selling or by reverting to tried-and-true sales approaches. Look through your data to find call scripts, email templates, and other strategies that have previously been successful, then use the chance to retest them.

“Over the years, I have experienced both the ups and downs of our economy. Going back to the fundamentals will be important if there is a recession, said Lori Richardson, president of Women Sales Pros and CEO of Score More Sales. “Keep the noise out and concentrate on the tasks at hand.”

Give importance to representative support and wellness

In times of uncertainty, loyalty and morale can be tested to the limit. Richardson advises sales leaders to concentrate on assisting and motivating staff members because of this. She stated that sales representatives could leave if they don’t show empathy or empowerment and will go where they are appreciated, not just tolerated.

Provide representatives with office hours so they can stop by or call to discuss issues. Give your reps some downtime after the quarter-ending sprints so they can recover. Discover innovative ways to celebrate victories, such as kudo boards or handwritten congratulations, if you don’t have the funds for lavish rewards, outings, or team meals. Little compliments can have a big impact on morale.

“Going back to the fundamentals will be important if there is to be a recession. Keep your attention on the tasks at hand and block out distractions” – Lori Richardson, CEO of Score More Sales and president of Women Sales Pros

Acknowledge your knowledge and your ignorance

Economic recessions are complex and unique in their ways. The way you respond, however, should be as transparent as possible for the people you supervise. They want to know if they can rely on you to act in the best interests of the business and, more particularly, of everyone in the sales org. Transparency is the foundation of that trust.

According to Richard Harris, founder, and CEO of The Harris Consulting Group, “be 100% open and honest with your employees about what’s occurring in your organization, even if it means saying, “I don’t know.” “By saying you don’t know if you’re going to have layoffs or if targets will be changed, you will gain more loyalty and trust from your staff.”

Focus on what you can control

Even the most optimistic sales leaders might become uneasy due to changing client wants, inflation concerns, and the potential for corporate layoffs, which is why it’s so crucial to give the things you can control a priority. Although you have no control over the global financial system, you can concentrate on the areas where your company is doing well and where it is struggling. Spend some time determining the “why” in both situations so that deals don’t fall through the cracks.

For instance, if a transaction appears to be stagnating in the middle of contract negotiations, ascertain what deal modifications took place just before the most recent contact with the prospect. If anything doesn’t suit the needs and desires of the prospect, especially concerning key deal details like cost, contract length, and payment terms.

Investigate the potential customer to learn what might be happening in their company that might be delaying the deal. And wherever you can, get more details from the potential customer so you can tailor the deal to suit their requirements.

According to Harris, we lose agreements because we don’t ask the correct questions, not because of the economy or a rival. Examine your exit criteria and sales procedure. You need to figure out why more than 5% of your deals are failing and change it. Never let receiving that information come as a surprise.