For many companies we speak with, the past few years have been “buoyant” for sales and revenue growth. When rising tides lift all boats, it’s easy to overlook your sales organization’s deficiencies and execution gaps.

When a recession hits, eventually, will your organization be ready to capture more than your current share of the market during and after a recession? Or will competition set the pace while your sales teams play catch-up?

Companies that understand the inevitable business cycle are investing now, when things are good, to address deficiencies and plug execution gaps.

These are some of the areas that can have a flywheel effect on sales growth, even in a recession:

Sales Leaders — From front-line sales leader up through Chief Sales Officers, you might have people that have provided a steady hand the past ten years. Think of them as airline pilots. The thing is, you’ll need jet fighter pilots for what’s ahead. They’ll need to be more agile and oriented to attacking and taking opportunities the competition gives you, instead of focusing solely on the comfort of the passengers and safety.

Selling More To Current Clients (Account Planning) — It’s been the shortest line to revenue growth since Benjamin Franklin founded his insurance company in 1752. The thing is, most organizations don’t have a formal account planning process, and growing current account has more to do with luck and timing than concerted efforts. It takes time, and can be challenging to get the process rolling. The rewards are like a slot machine if you do it right.

Inside Sales — Companies are struggling to grow if they depend on salespeople wearing our shoe leather to make a sale. Inside sales teams are growing at a blistering pace, as companies recognize they can cover large sections of the market faster, better and more cost-effectively than an outside sales organization. Don’t amplify inside sales investments at your own risk.

Fixing What Ails the CRM — Billions have been invested in CRM solutions, yet companies complain about the lack of adoption, poor strategic insight, and low ROI. The issue is rarely lack of salesperson discipline. If sales leaders top-to-bottom don’t manage opportunities, pipeline and forecasting 100% in the CRM, they are burning hours “winging it” and contributing to the lack of adoption. An ailing CRM is flying a jet with an engine on fire. Fix it.

Marketing and Lead Management Optimization — Billions spent on marketing automation, content marketing, digital advertising, and events aren’t finding their way to qualified sales leads and marketing ROI. Bring in an expert that can diagnose, prioritize and mobilize improvements in the current process. We’ve seen 50+ percent improvement in ROI from optimizing this area, which will come in handy if you decide to cut the marketing budget during a recession.

Finally, pay attention to what is unfolding in front of you. If your sales organization is selling much as it sold ten years ago, the chance is you aren’t prepared for “Winter.”

And, if you’ve seen one recession…you’ve seen one. Get prepared.

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