Sales Performance in CrisisAddressing the effects of the unexpected crises of 2020 & how to do more than cope
It's no secret that 2020 has been one heck of a curveball. What started as raging bush fires in Australia has turned into a year of pandemic, freak storms, killer bees, and a general sense of uncertainty. It is this uncertainty that has hit the sales sector the hardest. And while it can seem most apparent to hunker down and weather what is both a real and metaphorical storm, there is more to be done. Business leaders can and should empower their sales team to take proactive steps that will both decrease the impacts of global uncertainty while improving the entire organization’s competitive footing upon the revitalization of the world’s business activities.
Two of the greatest goals that a sales organization can have for itself during times of business disruption include the preservation of 1) external partners and 2) internal partners. By proactively safeguarding existing relationships that have supported the business through good times, the sales organization can not only utilize periods of decelerated growth efficiently but also prepare for the return to normalcy.
External Partner Preservation: Customers, Channel Partners, and Suppliers
During times of massive uncertainty, new business is often hard to come by. Businesses are holding off on investing in new products, services, and technology until stability has returned. After all, they were operating without your offering before the pandemic – now is definitely not the time to spend. With deals sitting unsigned and sales calls rescheduled, the sales organization has time to focus on existing customers who likely require your offering to continue functioning. Look to pitch an expanded offering or increase contract length. Communicate to channel partners and suppliers early and often about strategic plan changes, and no matter the external partner, look to reward loyalty whenever possible. After all, their success during a crisis directly relates to yours, and vice versa.
Internal Partner Preservation: Sellers and Sales Managers
Sales teams often experience high turnover. And although this might be the norm, it is not often the sign of a healthy sales organization. Now more than ever, seller retention is suffering. Knowing that constantly hiring and training sales reps is an inefficient operating strategy, sales leaders should fight to protect the jobs of their current sellers. After all, the stability of the global business environment will return, and the footing with which a business reenters this environment is key to maintaining a competitive advantage.
Once the business as a whole aligns with this perspective, the next group to convince are the sellers themselves. Remain transparent while communicating new strategic sales goals and metrics that align with the global market’s current state. And importantly, as Forbes contributor Randy Illig notes, “Make the game winnable.” That is, when redefining the sales organization's metrics during this time, make it clear how a seller can positively move the needle and that it is possible for them to meet the new goals.
So, although we are all sick of talking about this knuckleball of a year, a strategic changeup of your sales organization may be exactly what is needed to survive in crises and thrive in a return to normalcy. As a sales leader, fight for the safety of your org and for strategic alignment across the business. Act deliberately and proactively now, because it affects your company’s current and future standing within its competitive industry.
Finally, seek out partners who have your back, and who can support and assist you in these organizational changes. Advanced Technology Group is one such partner; they have a team of SPM specialists ready to implement strategic changes for the increased efficiency, scalability, and longevity of your sales org.
To find out more about Sales Performance Management (SPM) in the ATG Monetization Ecosystem™, visit ATG University.
Hannah Sackett has been with ATG since she was 11 years old (not working, just as a groupie).
These days, she is a consultant with the Sales Performance Management team and a Sales Software Architect.