3 Ways to Prepare Your Sales Team for Slow Economic Growth
With buying behaviors turning more conservative, sales velocity has slowed, presenting new challenges for sales leaders. Amid whispers that the anticipated recession hasn't hit, many organizations have shifted their focus. Now, sales leaders are once again on the hunt for strategies to adapt and thrive. Let's delve into three actionable ways to guide your team back toward strong revenue growth.
1. Stay in Touch with Your Current, Former, and Prospective Customers
Relationships are fundamental to selling, including developing rapport, building trust, and demonstrating expertise.
Sales professionals can leverage Zoom calls, webinars, content offerings, and social connections to enhance these relationships. The goal here is not to "sell" but to "connect" personally and professionally.
2. Requalify Every Opportunity in Your Sales Pipeline
Sales pipelines have changed as buyers take on new priorities, budget constraints, and a more cautious approach to new initiatives. In reviewing each opportunity, it is essential to consider the following:
- Business need, budget, and timing
- Decision-making criteria and process
- Solution alignment and value creation
- Competitive landscape and win themes
You will likely discover many opportunities are much further from closing than initially anticipated. While this isn't welcome news, it does provide a reality check. More importantly, it allows the sales team to think about what actions they need to take to advance each opportunity.
3. Rebuild Your Pipeline
Consider segmenting your account base so that it is clear what you are striving to accomplish and can align your messaging accordingly. As an example:
- Active customers – expand your presence within these accounts
- Former customers – reconnect and determine what has changed
- Target accounts – take the time to map the organization, research priorities, and develop direct contact and referral strategies
Accurately understanding the pipeline will differentiate companies that leap forward when buyers are ready over those that wait to start the sales cycle at "all clear."
Navigating the Current Economy
Leveraging the opportunities presented by the current economy requires a proactive approach that addresses the landscape and positions your team for long-term success.
Here are three things you can do to go beyond the Preparation stage and ensure ongoing success.
1. Stay Flexible
Foster a culture that encourages adaptability and quick thinking. Provide them with the training to assess evolving customer needs and align their strategies accordingly.
By embracing flexibility, your team can swiftly change their approach and tap into emerging markets or trends, ensuring that your sales organization remains at the forefront.
2. Understand Evolved Needs
Elevate your sales team's customer-centric approach by arming them with the skills to better understand evolved needs.
By tailoring your training programs to include techniques that uncover the hidden pain points of customers and demonstrate how your products or services align with their new requirements, your sales team will learn to forge stronger relationships and position themselves as trusted advisors.
3. Make Informed Decisions
Empower your team to identify emerging buying patterns, forecast demands, and proactively address potential challenges.
By leveraging data-driven insights, CRM tools, and market trend analysis, your sales team can make accurate predictions, optimize their strategies, and stay ahead of the economic challenges.
Keeping Your Sales Team Shine
As you manage the current landscape, your sales team's journey is far from over. In fact, this is where the real challenge begins – maintaining the momentum.
Staying on top requires a constant commitment to learning and refinement. Just as continuous training was pivotal during slow economic growth, it remains even more crucial for maintaining a competitive advantage.
As we navigate today's market conditions, preparing your sales team for success requires a multifaceted approach.
Your team can build lasting relationships grounded in trust and expertise by connecting with current, former, and prospective customers through various channels. Requalifying opportunities in your sales pipeline enables a realistic perspective, guiding strategic actions, and fostering progress while rebuilding your pipeline sets the stage for growth.
To truly shine in the aftermath, fostering flexibility, understanding evolved customer needs, and making informed decisions are paramount. Empowering your team through training and tools ensures they stay ahead of the market and maintain their role as trusted advisors.
About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is a Managing Director at the Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI. He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications, including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.