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How Your Sales Team Can Manage a Global Economic Crisis

by Sonal Shukla

An economic crisis usually comes with changing consumer habits, limited disposable incomes, higher debt levels, and tighter budgets. Some deals in the pipeline will fall through the cracks, and it may take longer to close new sales. 

With the odds stacked against your sales reps, it’s critical to find ways to weather the crisis and stay afloat. So, this article will go over some tips to help your sales team sail through tough times. 

Introduce crisis training

As sales plummet during an economic downturn, it’s essential to keep up with training and online sales courses. However, instead of the usual programs, provide your team with the skills necessary to navigate these economic challenges. For instance, your training can focus on issues like: 

  • time allocation and prioritization to improve workflow and productivity
  • innovative thinking when handling objections
  • empathy, understanding, and emotional control to improve communication with customers.  (emotions are usually sky-high in times like these, so it helps if your reps know how to deescalate and respond appropriately)
  • managing scarce resources and tight budgets

As consumer buying trends change, it usually takes longer to close deals. On top of that, solid leads are harder to come by. All these negative factors can demoralize salespeople, which can lead to overall poorer performance when economic events start to normalize.

Plus, fewer leads and sales opportunities mean that your team may go longer without actively practicing their skills. Therefore, it is also important to use the training regime to keep skills sharp. 

Work on a crisis management plan

It helps to chart a crystal-clear plan to keep you on track when sailing through murky waters. Craft a plan of action to give the entire organization direction.  Consider implementing the following as part of your crisis management business strategy:

  • Optimize your workflow and sales process so you can work with minimal staff. While it’s often difficult to part with team members, reducing the workforce may be necessary to control costs. Instead of your regular staff compliment, think about using automation tools like bots to handle your online customer support. 
  • Perform scenario analysis to forecast possible outcomes and risks. Business courses advise preparing for the worst-case scenario. By analyzing your sales processes and markets and anticipating the worst possible outcome, you can shore up your defenses. For instance, you can concentrate on the products or services with the most demand and shelve the rest. 

In addition, gaining insight into potential business outcomes can help you figure out new market demographics. You can redefine your buyers’ persona to match the current circumstances to improve your prospecting and pitches. 

Remember to give your plan a timeframe. Once the specified time lapses, review your plan and be ready to pivot if it’s not yielding fruit. 

Maintain your business relationships

Keep your relationships with customers intact. One of the main takeaways from the best sales courses is how important it is to leverage relationships with customers. 

According to statistics compiled by marketing company Huify, it typically costs five times more to look for new customers than to keep existing ones. In addition, selling to a current customer comes with a 60 to 70% success rate. 

So, it’s important to nurture relationships to maintain customer loyalty. Maintain open communication with your customers and keep them up to speed with what’s happening on the ground for instance:

  • the status of any outstanding orders
  • some of the steps your business is taking to sail through the storm 
  • any changes to operating hours or their regular sales interactions (e.g. if you are handing over your customer service chats to a bot)

You can communicate with customers online through your social media pages or website. You can also send out emails to stay in touch with customers. 

Set up your sales team for success

Times of crisis don’t just affect your customers; they may also weigh heavily on your sales team. That’s why it’s important to empower your team and set them up for success. For example:

  • Use tools such as templates that streamline processes to prevent burnout and make savings.
  • Check in with your team regularly. 
  • Look for online courses and resources on self-care and mental health and share them with your team.
  • Involve the sales team in creating your crisis management plan. 

By providing the tools to help your team succeed, you can retain your top talent and keep everyone motivated despite the challenges. 

All in all, training courses and a crisis management plan can help the team cope with the challenges. Remember to keep in touch with customers and create an enabling environment for your salespeople to thrive amid the crisis. 

 

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