Recession is looming: Get your sales team battle-ready

Recession is looming: Get your sales team battle-ready

Recession is looming: Get your sales team battle-ready

Recession is looming. The US and UK are both positioned for one. China is rapidly devaluing the Yuan. Here in South Africa, the economy is already contracting.

Don’t let this take your sales team by surprise. Changing market conditions can be an opportunity for the well prepared, but can also catch the unprepared sleeping. A 2008 Bain & Co. study found that during the last recession more than 20% of companies in lower quartile in their industry jumped to the top quartile – that’s a huge jump! They also found that more than 20% of ‘leadership’ companies fell from the top quarter into the bottom quarter!

Those sales teams who are prepared can see massive growth, but alternatively, those who are not can see a massive drop in sales.

Here’s four things your sales team should do to prepare to thrive during the next recession.

 

1. Improve your agility – now

 

During a recession the game changes, so you want to be in a position where you can easily respond to change. The pressure of difficult times often forces efficiencies and cost-savings. But why wait until times are difficult? Reshape your sales team now and take the advantage. While your rivals are doing forced cost-savings you can be focussed on taking advantage of the changing market conditions. Don’t wait until you are forced to, prepare now.

 

2. Sell more to your existing customer base.

 

During a recession, customers spend less so sales teams need to increase their share of the customer rather than a share of the market. What this means is that you are more likely to meet your targets by up-selling and cross-selling to your customer base than reaching out to acquire new customers. This makes sense because it costs up to ten times more to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing one.[1]

One of the first things to be reduced during a recession are marketing and sales budgets. With reduced money and head count acquiring new customers becomes harder. So, if you want to meet your targets it’s much easier to look at your current customer base for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This will help you maintain the status quo but if you’re wise you’ll also…

[1] Pricing for Profitability: Activity-Based Pricing for Competitive Advantage By John L. Daly (2002), p85. Published by John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471221597

 

3. Focus your energies on your most profitable types of customers.

 

During boom times, it works to be experimental and explore different customer types. But when things are tighter, it makes sense to know who your most profitable customers are and target your energies at them – and people like them. Once you have done this, if you really want to excel during a down turn you should…

 

4. Increase your marketing spend.

 

It sounds counter intuitive but a McGraw-Hill Laboratory Study[2] showed that companies that continued strategic spending during a recession out-performed those that didn’t. And they also experienced a revenue growth of 275% during the first year of recovery. If you think about it, if everybody else pulls their marketing/sales spend, then things will be cheaper and your spend can have a greater reach. If you prepare now, you can store up an arsenal to spend during the down turn, and see a much greater bang for your buck than you’re achieving now.

[2] McGraw Hill Laboratory of Advertising Performance (LAP). 1985.

 

What now? 

 

Sounds good, you may be thinking. But why are we at The CRM Team writing this article? While we make it our business to help sales teams flourish generally, we have lots of experience at helping sales teams become more agile, and target their customers better.

We’d love to help you prepare for the next downturn, so that you don’t just survive, but actually increase your sales.

Compared to aggressively hiring new sales representatives, CRM is a technology that can be implemented rapidly with a great return on investment. It makes sense for any company. Put simply, CRM can provide real business benefits for your sales team in times where every dollar counts.

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time...

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom. But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve? By...

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

    How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts Sweaty palms? Nervousness? Fingers hovering over the keyboard, afraid to commit to a single figure? Sales forecasting can rattle even the most seasoned sales director. When forecasting – for the month, quarter or...

Looking for more of the latest headlines?

4 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Becoming Cool Again

4 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Becoming Cool Again

4 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Becoming Cool Again

During the 1980s Microsoft dominated the business world. In that era, being loved or hated didn’t matter much because it was all about winning. And Microsoft was a winning machine.

 

 

But something happened in the 1990s – Microsoft didn’t just continue to win, they also became cool.

I remember it well. I was on a work experience placement. After I had done a week of making tea, the boss of the IT department called me over and whispered ‘Have a look at this.’ It was a beta version of Windows 95 – and it blew my mind.

Windows 95 was a turning point for Microsoft. If you remember its forerunner, 3.1 (C:\>win), Windows 95 was a big jump.

windows 95
And people wanted it.

They queued round the block to get their hands on a copy – take that Apple! Friends stars, Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston did an hour-long instructional video for it

 

windows
 

And the Rolling Stones were paid $8m to use ‘Start Me Up’ for the television ads, which are still pretty good today.

Windows 95 ushered in a golden age of PC usage. People no longer just used computers at work, they bought one to use at home. Microsoft continued to be dominant – but it was hip as well.
windows
As everybody knows, Microsoft lost a bit of their shine in the last decade. They still have kudos as a major world player but other firms snuck up on them and stole their buzz. These days people are no longer queueing round the block for Microsoft products.

 

But change is in the air.

 

You may not have noticed it, but a quiet revolution is happening in Redmond. A revolution that is reverberating round the world. In the whisper of my work placement boss, ‘Come have a look at this’

 

1. Collaboration has replaced Confrontation

 

Gone is the brashness and talk of world domination. No longer are competitors vilified, but under new CEO Satya Nadella, they’re embraced as partners.

satya
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella being interviewed at Dreamforce, Dynamics CRM’s rival Saleforce.com’s world conference.

 

2. Design has been Elevated in Importance

 

Steve Jobs famously criticised Microsoft for having ‘no taste

Packaging was cluttered with slogans and symbols. Many people had fun with this, imagining how Microsoft, in contrast to Apple, might have packaged the iPod:

packaging
But no more.

Have a look at this screen shot from a current Microsoft webpage.

packaging
We are just not used to this use of white space, and crisp photography.

And then there’s the use of bright, bold colours…

packaging

3. Their Software is Becoming Slick Again

 

It’s not just an up-to-date look, there’s substance to the packaging. To steal a phrase, Microsoft are making some ‘insanely great’ products again. As we’ve come to expect with our phones and tablets, software should just work – and with these it does. Slick is the new norm and Microsoft are embracing this.

Our CEO at The CRM Team spent a little while playing around with Power Apps and exclaimed ‘I’ve just built an app in 30 minutes that would have used to have taken a developer 3 days!’– and apparently he can’t even code. We’ve already got Flow working to automate some of our repetitive tasks – and it’s damn good.

Have you tried Power BI yet? Data is becoming accessible AND beautiful again. We’re very excited by this and are already helping our clients see the information they need in a format that actually invites you to delve in.

And we’ve already stated how excited we are that Dynamics 365 is on its way!

 

4. They are back on the cutting edge.

 

Microsoft are investing heavily in the Internet of Things, and Machines Learning. And we are very excited about the business implications of this. But they are also doing some really fun stuff as well. When a promo video gets these sorts of comments on YouTube we know things are starting to change:

“Probably the first ad I’ve ever clicked on because I actually wanted to watch it – holy crap”

 “What is this sorcery?”

We hope you agree, but it looks like the Seattle Megalith is getting its cool back.

 

 

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time...

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom. But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve? By...

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

    How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts Sweaty palms? Nervousness? Fingers hovering over the keyboard, afraid to commit to a single figure? Sales forecasting can rattle even the most seasoned sales director. When forecasting – for the month, quarter or...

Looking for more of the latest headlines?

Creating Highly Engaged (and) Satisfied Clients

Creating Highly Engaged (and) Satisfied Clients

Creating Highly Engaged (and) Satisfied Clients

Customer engagement means business growth. It’s that simple.

Recent research by Gallup proves just how much customer engagement matters. Clue: a lot. Engaged customers provide a 23% premium over the average customer when it comes to share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

Consider this:

  • Engaged consumer electronics shoppers spend 29% more per shopping trip than disengaged customers.
  • Engaged hotel guests spend 46% more per year than disengaged guests.

The Business Case for Better Engagement

Customer service managers know how important engagement is. They also know what it can do for a business.

For its yearly survey, ThinkJar recently asked customer service managers to list their top three initiatives for the next five years. Customer engagement came in second place for the next two years. It got the number one spot for the following three.

Customers’ expectations have changed:

  • Customers’ need for quick, accurate answers has increased. According to Forrester Research, in the past, expectations came from personal experience or from friends and family. No longer. Now, online communities mean everyone contributes. Leading organisations providing exceptional customer service increase customers’ expectations still further.
  • Millennials and Generation Zs are beginning to enter the marketplace. These digital natives expect something different: journeys, not interactions.
Read the full ThinkJar report to explore why customer engagement matters more than ever. Open the full report here and find out:

  • Why, when it comes to customer engagement, it’s the long term and not the short term that matters. Lack of follow-through can be the make-or-break factor.
  • What percentage of customer support contacts come from ‘repeat customers’ – those who didn’t get an answer first time round.
  • What proportion of customers expect a self-service solution on a company’s website.
  • How many customers would rather use a self-service tool than interact with an agent.
  • What proportion of customer queries a good self-service system can generally handle.
  • Why self-service platforms lower organisation costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Get the full ThinkJar report here.

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time...

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom. But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve? By...

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

    How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts Sweaty palms? Nervousness? Fingers hovering over the keyboard, afraid to commit to a single figure? Sales forecasting can rattle even the most seasoned sales director. When forecasting – for the month, quarter or...

Looking for more of the latest headlines?