The economy seems to be recovering - how do I adjust my sales strategy?
The short answer is - go back to basics. Treat your company like a start-up business by getting hungry and enthusiastic and don't think yesterdays successes always guarantee today's.
Over the past eighteen months, from what I have observed, the companies that resisted temptation to adjust their sales strategy drastically are the ones that remained most buoyant through these tough times. The business leaders who hit the panic button and shed resources (and valuable IP) during this time are now the companies needing to adjust yet again.
Reactive by nature, these companies are frantically rethinking their strategy - in doing so rehiring people for the same positions, in some instances at triple that of what it would have cost to have retained them in creative ways. Suffice to say, their recovery will take some time, but at least they're still trading right? Well, I guess that depends on your end game and at what cost.
Let's be honest business is tough in any market. The companies I see succeed over the long term invariably have a way of being that enables them to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit through thick and thin times. Not just hungry for new business, but an appetite for knowledge, learning and growing, always. In tough times you need to work smarter and harder, but you also have to do more of what works, not less of it.
The companies that look for easy, quick-wins with no risk are often left 'reacting' and 'reinventing the wheel' periodically based on market and external forces. There is a distinction between being adaptive and reactive I should note: To be reactive is to be guided by external forces, whilst being adaptive is using external forces as part of your strategy. In sales, you can never control the outcome - all you can effectively control is the process to help facilitate the outcome. Lose control of your process and you lose the ability to facilitate the outcome.
Your sales strategy should not need to change that much, particularly if it works. The strategy you develop should be adaptive and yet set on a foundation of planning for what is foreseen on the horizon. We could all see the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) coming. The dark clouds were imminent for some time, and the media were not short of making sure we saw the potential for the storm, if not adding to its ferocity.
There will always be dark moments in business, particularly following overly optimistic sentiment and business decisions being made as such. History suggest every ten years we see a correction take place in some way, so don't be too shocked when it happens next. My advice is, as a sales leader, take responsibility and be proactive by constructing a more adaptive strategy that allows for peaks and troughs and plan for corrections rather than waiting until it's too late.
Having the ability to stay the course in tough times is a sure sign of confidence. It also sets a positive tone with team members and sends a message to customers that you believe in what you are selling and how you sell it. In turn this will make your customers more confident in choosing you. And guess what? With confident team members and customers you will ride the recovery much quicker by being able to maintain momentum rather than attempting to move the bolder (once again) from a standing start.
The article written byTrent Leyshan as seen on Smartcompany.