The novel coronavirus has brought fears of a global recession to everyone’s mind. Although market analysts are still divided on whether the recession would eventually happen or not, it would be proactive on the part of sales managers and executives to ensure their teams are recession-proof.
Before we read any further, it is important to remember here that sales teams tend to get demotivated, stressed, and clumsy B2B sales going down during a recession. Companies then put enormous pressure on their salespeople so they can close as many deals as possible.
However, sales leaders should instead coach their teams on a consistent basis during a recession. Furthermore, they should provide them with better software and automation tools. Truth be told, companies should invest in minimizing customer attrition and retain their most valuable salespeople ahead of a possible recession.
Let’s discuss everything in more detail.
Now comes the interesting part – is the cost of sales an investment or expense during a recession? Well, the answer is, just keep yours under control. All you need is to take good and responsible care of your cash before or during a recession.
Similarly, keeping the cost of sales under vigil doesn’t amount to not making investments in sales. Saving cash means emphasizing on those customers or prospects with better chances of succeeding.
For instance, you should find an innovative way to close deals with half the effort if your key account manager requires an average of 100 calls to close ten sales.
The point is to prioritize the customers and prospects with higher probabilities of buying now and to invest the valuable time of your salespeople on research and the closure of deals.
Predictive Sales Analytics plays a critical role. Predictive sales software through ERP and CRM data can identify customers with cross-selling potential or high attrition risk. This should be utilized for supporting the synchronized efforts of your teams before and during a period of recession.
Coach your sales team more often
There is no denying the fact that your sales team will be stretched to the limits during a recession. The fact that customers are not as friendly as usual and reaching sales goals become distant dreams adds to the woes.
It is important for you and all members of your sales team to know and remember that no period of recession has lasted forever. Therefore, it becomes all-important to learn from the rejections and failures of the past and respect the priorities of the existing as well as potential customers.
It is equally important for everyone to stay concentrated on the individual as well as collective goals while educating and helping customers to create brand awareness and help customers to reach their own objectives.
In addition to these tips, it is important to help your Key Account Managers to emphasize on the accounts, sales opportunities, and projects that are vital to sail the recession ahead of you. During rough times, prioritization of the few new sales opportunities with higher chances of closing, the customers at risk of churning, and setting the right prices becomes critical.
Give the right tools to your salespeople
Trust me on this, having the right software tools makes a huge difference during tough times. Unfortunately, a big majority of sales leaders misunderstand this “truth” and instead try to put a heavy load on the shoulders of already overworked sales representatives.
It is critical to note here that using the right software tools is not about increasing the count of CRM sales reports that your Key account management (KAM) requires to fulfill. Instead, it means making the existing software “smarter and intelligent” and proactive at the same time. In many cases, it means less CRM.
Now comes an important question – How can you make your sales team more successful with less CRM? The answer is simple – by prioritizing and streamlining sales workflows and by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy. Moreover, Predictive Sales Analytics play a crucial role in making CRM intelligent.
Invest in customer retention activities
For most businesses, recession is the only time to take customer attrition seriously. Companies that live to rosy growth phases tend to ignore the simple fact that a proportion of their current customers will churn. A churn risk software must be utilized by sales executives during a recession to predict and retain customers at risk of churning.
Logically, there will be a surge in customer churn and attrition during a recession. This could be a possible indicator of the issue of more aggressive competitors, your customers, or cost-cutting initiatives.
It is crucial to adopt appropriate retention approaches after you have comprehensively defined and measured customer attrition. Companies can expect to cope with bearish times with ease by successfully planning and implementing a retention strategy. Moreover, it becomes easy for these companies to outlive a recession if they are quick to identify the customers at risk of defecting.
The effects of a recession can be felt in B2B sales before it actually happens. These effects can also be noticed long after it is gone.
Companies should minimize sales costs during an economic slump by prioritizing accounts and prospects based on present buying-potential of customers, customer lifetime value, and risk of attrition. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, Sales forecasting and Predictive Analytics are critical to performing this prioritization and cost-reduction.
All in all, sales managers should be ready to coach and assist their teams more often so they can easily sail the tough times, challenges, and failures. Furthermore, management should offer the appropriate predictive sales software for discovering potential and reducing customer churn.