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How To Stay Three Steps Ahead of Your Competitors During a Downturn: Retool Your Sales Infrastructure

Tony Wilkins
October 3, 2022
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What happened during COVID doesn’t matter any more.

What matters now is how companies react to the current downturn to set themselves up for success when things turn around. Spend this time strategizing, optimizing, and planning to emerge as a far more efficient sales organization.

Here are the top three things sales leaders can do to streamline their infrastructure.

  1. Understand your ICP (Ideal Client/Customer Profile)
  2. Know your Numbers
  3. Invest in Enablement

Understand Your ICP

Take a step back and understand who you sell to and why they buy from you.

Talk (yes, on the phone or over dinner) with the clients who love you. Studying their responses takes you on a deep dive into the firmographics of your ICP and clarifies the characteristics of your offering that drive their purchasing decisions. These chats will also sharpen your understanding of the personas involved in the decision-making process as they articulate the business impacts they care about and the personal wins they’ll gain from adopting your solution.

Implement the SPICED acronym to help guide these conversations.

  • Situation — What’s the client’s business situation?
  • Pain — What’s the customer’s pain point within the situation?
  • Impact — How will my sales strategy impact the customer?
  • Critical event — What was the critical event that led to this situation?
  • Decision — How can I use what I learned to help the customer make a decision?

Know Your Numbers

The second step is understanding what it takes to meet your revenue goals.

The best way to achieve this is by looking at your conversion rates during critical parts of the sales process. Calculate the conversion rates of qualified leads that become opportunities and those of opportunities that close. Based on this, you can calculate what your numbers should look like to guarantee you hit your goals.

Invest in Enablement

Finally, provide training and skill development opportunities to support your salespeople in executing the sales process.

This includes building marketing assets like a sales playbook to document the step-by-step stages of the sales process, discussing what was learned, and identifying the best practices and proper execution.

Create a collaborative space with your sales, marketing, and customer success team to analyze the customer’s journey and the key moments that should be optimized to avoid friction within the sales process. Bringing in members from each department will strengthen the overall sales strategy and help unearth the appropriate verbiage to get your message across cohesively throughout the sales cycle.

Help your team now by drafting creative outreach emails, talk tracks to help communicate with customers, key questions to ask during discovery calls, and stories that best encapsulate the impact that you can deliver. Figure out ways to document the best verbiage to help your team remember.

While you can’t do anything about the current market conditions or predict when things will get better, you can, as the Marines say, “be prepared if not called instead of called and not prepared” when your clients turn their funding spigot back on.

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