Updated: Jul 14, 2022
The clouds are gathering. Recession, supply shortages and social upheaval could impact your sales targets in the months or even years ahead. In this article, learn how to prepare your sales organization for these volatile times and gain new perspectives on sales leadership.
The world is changing. While it's more important than ever to stay focused on sales goals, getting there is not without its challenges. How do you motivate your sales team when our economic environment and changing social landscape could impact their performance? Already the pandemic has shown us that the global world of buying today is full of unpredictability and constant change. Changes that make efficient and predictable selling an almost impossible task.
No wonder, then, sales leaders are looking for new sales methodologies that can adapt to these shifting changes and needs, and for sales professionals who can navigate these complex landscapes with ease.
The best sales professionals thrive in tough economic times because they find different ways to add value to their customers with a consultative approach, such as adding services or reducing costs. Sales reps who are more product-oriented may have a harder time and are more likely to look outside, for new job opportunities with the competition, where the grass may seem greener or which sell products that are supposedly more crisis-resistant.
So, executives are especially challenged now and need to help salespeople find new ways to add value to customers. Many companies thrive in tough economic times, and those that adapt their messaging and provide additional value will withstand the economic turmoil and continue to be a desirable employer.
It is all about Transformational Leaders who are open to new ideas and different ways of doing things, and seek engagement with their team
So now is the time to prepare the sales team for the challenges ahead. To do this, sales leaders need proven skills such as social and emotional competencies. These also include humility, empathy, respect, and intercultural understanding. Then there is the performance orientation and the leadership principle: "Measure what matters." This means focusing on what is important and building on strengths.
A good sales leader should also have the appropriate digital competency: He or she needs to be up to date with innovation and change in the digital world. This requires a key understanding of modern technologies that can take B2B sales to a new level today, addressing the buyer journey and sales enablement in particular.
Recruiting top sales executives with proven transformational leadership qualities is the key to fighting a recession.
Here, a leader must not only promote his own competence, but also the competence of all employees and their active training in order to develop a digital readiness in the company.
It is also important to give room to an appropriate culture of error: Because it allows employees to try out new sales tactics and tools without fearing for their jobs. Only in this way can companies master the digital transformation and also set out for new horizons in sales.
In difficult times, social skills and communication talent are very important: they give confidence to every team member. Communicate openly and honestly, not with mind games, which are a killer for a creative business climate. Leaders empower employees to work independently and motivate them to take on challenges and change with confidence. They implement a feedback culture and the establishment of shared core values that the team can identify with.
And one more thing: True leaders set a good example. Especially for the younger generation, this point is extremely important; the integration of Millenials and Generation Z is indispensable.
To summarize: The recent economic and political turmoil has made it difficult for many companies to plan and grow. It has also become difficult for companies to retain talent or find new talent. As a global search firm, we are seeing this in all the countries where we operate.
Therefore, it is important to give employees a special sense of purpose, pride and stability for upcoming challenges. In times like these, the companies that survive and thrive will be those that stick together with their teams.
Well positioned are companies that have specifically focused their HR strategy on "Transformational Leaders" in combination with "Intercultural Competence", i.e. the ability to function effectively across cultures, to think, to communicate and to act effectively in times of crisis.