Sales in difficult time

With darkening of clouds over economic region, Indian companies are bracing for a challenging year. In many companies, sales funnels look bleak and the mood gloomy. Sales leaders are under tremendous pressure to perform. In some sectors, business as usual, which is use to happen on auto mode, itself is in jeopardy. What should be the stance sales leaders adopt in these tough time? Our experiences of working with SME in Circa 2008-2009 bring out some interesting insights. Clients who used carrots survived the slowdown better, could recoup sales faster and importantly could motivate their teams to take additional loads. Clients who used the slowdown to realign “key account management” performed better. Interestingly the experience or professional degree of the resource did not matter much. In fact, one of the client moved their technical resource to key account management discovered the client side could relate better because of common lingo and professional trust and newer opportunities on the table to pursue. Three common pointers emerge from companies that emerge little scathed in 2008-09. First, key to sales performance is “Focus”. Prune the market you want to engage, invest in client intelligence (informal strategies better), and seek outcome based opportunities. Existing client relationships are easier to monetize than acquisition. Focus on relationships and opportunities within existing account and map them with appropriate resources and strategies. Second, keep sales motion nimble and last mile, well kneeled. Reduce redundancies in the system, evaluate each bit of information and opportunity and cover the last mile with your best resources. Finally, carrots work better than stick. Motivate people with higher monetary and non-monetary rewards. That pays!

Nishanth. S, Ganapathy. R

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