When the markets go down, the competition for market share gets aggressive and companies are faced with decreasing revenues and forced budget cuts.
Now is the time to make sure that your sales growth efforts are stronger than ever. If you don’t put time, money, and resources into sales, then you will have a difficult time surviving. You might survive, but the climb back up will be long and painful. It is crunch time!
I recognize that “crunch time” might mean tightening the financial/budget belt and eliminating “non-essential” expenses. That list normally includes, but is not limited to:
- Travel and entertainment
As you go about crunching those numbers, consider the following:
- Be strategic – Think outside of the box and get creative with using money and resources to drive revenue. It doesn’t take a lot of creativity to cut expenses.
- Stop thinking “non-essential” – If those expenses and resources were non-essential, then you wouldn’t currently be spending money on those items.
- Think about wise investing. Where could you invest time, money, and resources that could be additive to your objectives and keep you in the hunt for new business and revenue? Technological advances in the video world have not only changed sales but the way we do business, forever.
- Look through a new lens when considering how to handle your sales staff and how to help them become better during a difficult period.
As you go about crunching, one thing we recommend is strategically pairing down your sales team to improve your ROI and profitability DRAMATICALLY. As an example, 3 years ago we assessed a commercial lending group of 60 lenders. Of the 60, this is how the numbers worked out:
- The top 1/3 of the group (20) represented over 70% of the revenue from new and portfolio business. This should not be surprising as it is consistent with the Pareto Principle. It’s the next item that should get your attention.
- The bottom 1/3 of the group (again 20 lenders) represented less than 6% of the new and portfolio revenue. As an aside, this is NOT an outlier. We see this EVERY TIME we do a quintile analysis of a sales group.
- When the president of the group was asked what the profit impact would be if they eliminated the bottom 20, the answer was; “We would add $2,000,000.00 to the bottom line.”
My strategy here isn’t to offer early retirement in order to manage expenses but be more strategic in who you let go. Look at the right numbers and not just years of service or those close to retirement. Many companies will downsize the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Now is a great time to pick up great sales talent.
According to findings from the Objective Management Group, you should be hiring salespeople right now. As the world and business evolve, “Sales managers are the difference makers when it comes to selling remotely.”
Read more from Salespeople’s Ability to Work From Home here.
Again, you want to be selective. By using the Objective Management Group pre-hire assessment, you can accomplish a couple of critical objectives:
- Using the “Ideal fit”, you can identify EXACTLY what it takes to be successful in sales at your organization.
- You can match all candidates against the ideal fit and have great insight as to what the candidates’ Will to Sell, Sales DNA, and Sales Competencies are.
- Using the Stat Finder you can compare your sales team in 21 sales core competencies against over 1.8 million other salespeople & over 26K companies. Specifically, you can measure your team against those in your industry. If you are in banking or financial services, you can stack your team against 500 other companies.
- Using the information from the STAT finder you can build and deliver microlearning/training sessions to help your people become more effective in this difficult market.
Finally, you must make the decision that training and developing this current team that hasn’t experienced these competitive conditions before is critical. To accomplish what you can, take advantage of technology and distance conferencing to improve the skills of your team, and change their behaviors.
No longer do you have to pull people out of the field into a conference room for a full day to have an impact on sales skills. With a micro-focused strategy to address specific “choke points” in the execution of your sales process, you can conduct 90-minute sessions that involve drill for skill, role-play, and strategy development.
Yes, you will take action over the next several days, weeks, and probably months to outrun the competition and not be eaten. But to do that your sales organization must be faster and stronger than ever before.