Economies grow and shrink over time. None climb directly without returning to a part of the ground already covered. Two negative quarters qualify as a recession and, from time to time, that is what happens. With a fairly long time frame, there will be a recession. Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself.
State of mind: you are a sales organization
The most debilitating mentality for a company is to believe that it is something other than a sales organization. Peter Drucker said that a company exists to create a customer, leaving few other things to say. This means that customer acquisition is paramount.
You may think that you are a manufacturer. You may think that you are a service organization. You may feel that you are doing everything you do that creates value for others. In reality, you are a sales organization that is a manufacturer, a service provider or whatever you do.
Believing that selling is necessary but not the reason your business exists will not serve you well in a recession.
Skill Sets: Creating Opportunities and Capturing Opportunities
The sale has two main outcomes: creating and capturing opportunities. There is never a time when a company should not focus on creating opportunities. But before the planned slowdown, we should devote an inordinate effort to creating many new opportunities (although I would say that you should create as many opportunities as possible, rain or shine) .
In times of economic downturn, initiatives are pushed. Priorities change. Leaders are reluctant to make decisions. You need more opportunities than you think, and without an emphasis on creating opportunities, there can be no opportunity capture.
Leadership: Set the tempo and maintain a culture of responsibility
The chef sets the tone. The speed of the team is the speed of the leader. Tempo and velocity are critical. You want to compress the time and pull the results towards you.
Too many companies are now struggling with responsibility and deciding to impose this responsibility in times of economic downturn – when the situation is more difficult than usual – is not the right time to launch a liability initiative. It is reactionary, event-driven behavior that can lead people to believe that "it will happen". A culture of responsibility is an advantage in times of recession.
Territory and account plans, pipeline meetings, opportunity reviews, as well as pace and tempo will support you and give you an edge in the event of a slowdown. You must create these responsibilities before you put them in place.
If you want to resist the recession, you must start now (if not sooner).
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