And the Cutting Begins…Then What?

After 32 years and 5 economic downturns, this is what typically happens with sales?

Are we even in a recession? That depends on which headline you read. One says yes, and the other says no. Two more say maybe and one says, “What recession.” For example, on 4/24 one Google headline reads Coca-cola Beats Estimates and the next headline reads Suisse Credit loses $68 Billion. And here is another article, Is this a soft landing or the beginning of a recession? Anyway, you look at it, things are uncertain and that causes business leaders to be nervous. 

If you don’t know that yet, for sure let me assure you we are in a recession.  In the first quarter of 2022, we saw a slowdown that lasted for a couple of months. Last quarter of last year, the signs became a bit clearer with higher interest rates and slower growth. In the first quarter of this year, tech layoffs started the domino effect. For the purpose of this article and for reality I’m going to just come out and claim we are in a recession. How long and how deep it will remain to be seen? And it depends on your actions today and the next 60 days.

History tells me it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Here is what typically happens. The President, or CEO, or whoever is responsible for profit says, “We must focus on getting the Balance Sheet in balance.” Mandates are sent to the CFO to cut all non-essentials. Messages are transferred to all departments and a Spending Freeze is executed. There is only so much a company can cut. Then what?

This translates to beating up vendors, stepping over dimes to get to nickels, and cutting and cutting and more cutting. Bad decisions are made to meet the mandate of today only to pay more for poor quality, missed deadlines, delays, and potentially losing clients. Sales begin selling on price, margins erode even further, and sales best practices go out the window. Pressure for more sales creates bad morale. Salespeople start quietly quitting, and vacant territories create more panic and lost revenue. Then that translates to hiring under pressure and making bad hires.

The answer to – Then what is… SALES! How do we fix sales? Who is selling? Who is not? Whom should we keep? Why is the pipeline weaker? How do we close more sales faster? Who has the ability to sell in this environment? Do we have the right people in the right roles? What is our Sales Manager actually doing? What should the Sales Manager do? Why is our win rate only 20%? Why are we losing more to the competition? How do we get sales up? Here are more questions Sales Leaders need the answers to fix sales.

A common thought (Excuse) is, “Well, the whole market is down.” While that may be so, it’s also an opportunity to win more of the market. Below is an excerpt of a conversation I had recently. How would you answer these questions?

Q. What were the sales numbers last year?

A. $38MM

Q. What do you expect this year?

A. $34MM

Q. How much do you think your nearest competitor will do this year?

A. $45-$50M

Q. And you mentioned, you have a 3rd competitor. How much will they do this year?

A. $25MM

Q. So there are companies in your marketplace spending about$95MM for similar products and services and you are only expecting $34MM? Why are you not getting more than your fair share of this market?

Since sales is where your focus will eventually wind up, why not start now and save a bunch of trouble? Your sales engine is your lifeline. Let’s get it jumpstarted now. The companies that thrive, survive, and accelerate in these times don’t wait. They don’t say let’s see what next quarter looks like. They get out in front of this and they put all available resources into other sales engine! They start by admitting what they have been doing is not working. Then they seek expert help! We are that help and we can make you grow! Here is an offer for a short test drive.

Here are a few examples of what we can do. If you are committed to sales transformation. If you are willing to make a change and hold people accountable. If you are serious.

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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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