I’m getting that feeling right now that I am living in a movie. Big events are happening so quickly it’s hard to keep up.
One of the lessons I’ve learned is a crisis is not the time to get stuck. It’s time to take action…and to do so soon.
In the sales realm I believe we may be about to see a big shift.
The global crisis is taking up everyone’s mindshare. This includes your prospects. It’s time for business owners and sales leaders to take action to make sure you can sell effectively if we enter a downtown.
Stalled deals and radio silence
Do not be surprised if deals in your pipeline don’t close. Don’t be surprised if prospects associated with these deals don’t respond to your team’s emails or phone calls anymore. Don’t be surprised if more of your proposals go to “Neverland”. Things may be about to get weird.
Your prospecting numbers may drop too. Your top of funnel may dry up. Your potential prospects have other things on their mind right now. Long-term investments may start to be pushed down the priority list to be replaced with short-term survival.
Is this all unfair? Should you just give up and stay home with your canned goods and paper products? Hopefully not. If you’re planning to fight on in true Churchillian style, here are some thoughts.
Shine a light on your sales environment
If you start seeing deterioration in your pipeline and prospecting, it’s a great time to shine a light on your sales environment.
One of the problems with the good times is that we can succeed without being that careful. Lots of sloppiness can creep into the way we do business. When the going gets tough, all the gremlins in your approach are going to start to make themselves known.
If you are a proactive type, now is the time to start looking at your sales environment. Some initial areas to look at include:
- Sales people: How is each sales person doing vs. your top performers and your expectations? Look especially at where there are “leaks” in your pipeline or lack of leads in the first place. How are different sales team members doing vs. each metric in your pipeline? Do any reps need coaching? Are they following your sales playbook(s)/processes? Do some salespeople lack relationships in the market? What is keeping them back from success?
- Sales process: Do you have a playbook? Does everyone follow it? Can your process be improved so that your metrics improve? Is the process malleable so each rep can leverage their own strengths? Is the process able to adapt to the changing economy’s realities? Are you using prospecting and stay-in-touch approaches that can weather a downturn?
- Sales tools: Do you have too few sales tools, or too many? Are your tools actually being used by your sales team (CRM for example)? Do your tools support your sales process? Are reps spending too much time mucking around with your tools rather than selling? Do you have adequate support/operations in place to support them?
They say a recession is a great thing to waste. We may be about to experience one. Those that want to emerge as winners from a recession, would do well to look at how they will keep their revenue coming in–now.