For most companies, 2023 is turning out to be an “interesting” year. What worked in 2022 isn’t working in 2023. Salespeople are short of quota and companies are missing revenue goals. The reactions we’re seeing range from doing absolutely nothing to panicking and making drastic changes.
However, with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to not only survive but also thrive during economic downturns, with this one being no exception.
Below are the “3 E’s of Selling in a Recession”:
1. Experiment (a little):
Chances are the issue is not with your product or service, but rather the shifting priorities of your buyers during a recession. It's important to stay the course and have confidence in your offering.
However, it also makes sense to be creative and try new things. Consider adjusting your offering to meet the current needs of your target market.
For example, if you traditionally targeted a specific industry, explore other sectors that may be more receptive to your product or service in the current economic climate. For us, we found smaller companies were far more nimble and open to exploring training as a means to increase revenue than large companies where the central command coming down was cutting costs.
It’s important to find the balance between staying the course, and also being open and creative.
In a recession, there are fewer opportunities to be won, making it necessary to increase your top-of-the-funnel activity. It's important to ramp up your efforts and take proactive steps to generate leads and engage with potential customers.
This may involve increasing your marketing efforts, leveraging digital platforms, or exploring new channels to reach your target audience.
This is also an opportunity for sales managers and leaders to earn their keep by finding ways to motivate and inspire their teams into out of the norm levels of effort. We’ve helped clients with designing and executing sales campaigns that are focused on creating incremental but meaningful improvements in KPIs that lead to stronger results.
By dedicating more resources and energy to your sales and marketing activities, you can compensate for the reduced market demand and position yourself for success.
Finally, it comes down to adapting your process and execution. Take a critical look at your sales process and identify areas for improvement.
One key area to focus on is the quality of the questions you ask potential customers. By asking insightful and tailored questions, you can better understand their current challenges and position your product or service as a valuable solution.
You should be able to uncover if the pain you solve is deep enough for your prospects to actually do something about it.
Buying cycles and decision-making processes have also changed and sellers need to adapt in order to find out levels of information that were more easily assumed last year.
Behavior change is hard, and investing in training and upskilling is not a nice to have, but a must-have, if you’re actually going to impact results.
In conclusion, selling in a recession requires patience, adaptability, and perseverance. By experimenting with new strategies, increasing your efforts, and executing your sales activities with precision, you can not only weather the storm but also position your business for long-term success.