Anytime the economy dips, you probably wish you had a magic wand you could wave and immediately have a recession-proof business. Or maybe you prefer the twitchy nose of Samantha from Bewitched.
This “abracadabra strategy” would be wonderful. It doesn’t exist.
But you can still survive a recession – yes, even without magical powers – if you adjust your sales and marketing plan.
Use these 5 impactful steps to keep your business on track during any economic downturn and times of uncertainty.
1. Use a Sales and Marketing Plan to Motivate Your Team
When a recession strikes, you aren’t the only one who is afraid.
Your employees follow the news, too, and many are just as scared as you. Unaddressed, their concerns can become an overpowering distraction that eats away at productivity.
A clear framework with attainable goals gives everyone a purpose
Armed with a plan your employees know what to focus on now. This creates a calming effect and counteracts the uncertainty. Plus, it keeps your organization on track to reach goals.
Need help setting sales and marketing plans that put you on a path to reach goals?
Here’s exactly what to include in your sales plan and this article lays out what to include in your marketing plan to generate leads.
2. Fight Your Instincts to Retreat
Instinctually, many want to retreat during a recession. Cut expenses. Reduce any excess staff. Hole up to just get through it.
That’s a money-losing approach.
Recessions change consumer behavior – they do not kill demand
Your clients and prospects still have problems, but they spend less freely. The sales cycle lengthens, and your close ratio decreases.
Coming out on top requires more opportunities in your pipeline
You need to ramp up B2B lead generation activities. Fill the pipeline with more opportunities since fewer will convert.
You also need a sales team that proactively reaches out to every marketing qualified lead. Now is not the time to be choosy.
A healthy dose of persistence helps too.
3. Double Down on Outreach
Remember, opportunities are not gone. It’s simply harder to reach people. If before it took you 3 dials to reach someone, it might take 7 to 9 now.
Hit the gas on lead generation activities and MQL follow up
Keep sending emails, writing SEO-optimized content, hosting webinars, speaking at events, posting on social media, and any other lead generation activities you did before.
When a lead comes through, follow up.
Don’t forget about your clients
Your clients are worried too. You don’t want to wait until they send a cancellation notice to realize how scared they’ve been.
Set a reminder to check in regularly
Pick up the phone, schedule a meeting, or send an email to stay on top of how clients are feeling and where they need help. Here are 5 topics to talk about with customers when they’re worried about a recession.
During calls, listen carefully
If you get the feeling that clients want to scale back their spend or cancel entirely, have data that reminds them of the business benefits they get from working with you.
Whether it’s with a prospect or client, go into every conversation with clear picture of who you’re talking to and what they are concerned about right now.
4. Adjust Your Approach
Each business approaches recessions differently. Some will put everything on hold. Others will continue to spend, but their decision-making process is slower. You’ll stay in touch with both but with different messaging.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone
You cannot appeal to the on-pause group with the same message you use for the cautious buyers.
If they’re still spending
- Be patient and empathetic
- Recognize the sales cycle is longer
- Increase outreach frequency
Put businesses that pause spending in a nurture campaign
The economy will turn around. When it does, all the problems those “on hold” businesses put off solving will be priority #1.
Use an email marketing nurture campaign to stay top of mind so when the business is ready to spend, they think of you and not your competitor.
5. Avoid Burnout
Surviving a recession requires more from sales and marketing, but you can’t ask your teams to work longer hours. That’s a recipe for burnout, stress, and even more lost opportunities. Don’t ask for overtime. Help your team become more efficient.
5 ways to increase efficiencies
If your current team becomes more efficient, it doesn’t matter that Sales has to add more to the funnel. They absorb the extra work without breaking a sweat.
1. Make sure you have the right person in the right seat
Just because you have a phenomenal sales rep doesn’t mean they should transition to a management position. Use sales assessments to analyze your teams’ skillset and make sure everyone is playing to their strengths.
2. Sit down and talk about workload with employees
Once you know people are doing the tasks they should, talk to them about how they structure their day and which activities take up the most time. See if there are opportunities to automate manual tasks.
3. Offer time management tips
Each employee has their own optimal work schedule. Help them discover by offering ideas, like different ways they can approach prospecting. Encourage time blocking and focus time so that people can get in the zone and work without distraction.
4. Get training and coaching
Even the most skilled salesperson can increase productivity with hands-on training and coaching – especially when the market is changing yet again. Real-time feedback from expert consultants shows everyone tweaks they can make to their approach or sales language they use to maximize effectiveness.
Plus, as a person’s skillset evolves, the time a manager has to spend overseeing their work decreases – giving everyone more time to accomplish tasks that move the company forward.
5. Snap up free sales and marketing resources
Education comes in many forms, include free resources like:
- Guides and checklists filled with sales and marketing tips
- Templates for planning prospecting calls
- Quick, targeted webinars that tackle timely issues
Recession-Proof Businesses Know When to Ask for Help
It’s hard enough to run a business in “normal times.” During a recession, it’s even more stressful. You shouldn’t be burdened with creating, executing, and refining your sales and marketing plan on your own.
Expert guidance is the closest you can get to that “abracadabra strategy”
Our coaches and consultants are here to guide you wherever you need the most help. Set up a call with us today.