The market is slowing down and the general consensus is that things are going to get more challenging in the coming months. So, how do you set about recession proofing your Sales team?
First thing’s first; you need to re-focus on the USP of your products. If your USP is price and price alone try to shave a little more off, or increase the price and then offer discounts. If your price is not low enough to qualify as a USP but you are still competitive in the market it might be a good time pump a little more cash into your marketing spend. At the extreme end of the spectrum, try a dual approach of working with your USP in one market and expanding into new markets without it.
A slow market means prospecting for new business. Start by combing your old files looking for leads and then use these as a base for some serious networking. Call a team meeting, open the forum to include all staff, not just the sales department and ask everyone to make a list of their business contacts, both in your industry and elsewhere. When you turn up a useful opening, pair the person who provided it with another team member and task them with exploiting that opening.
You’ve got the leads which means it’s time to man the phones. Set a daily target for the number of prospect calls made a day to the actual decision maker. One approach is to set up a breakfast team who make calls to prospects before 9am, sending a strong message to your potential client: ‘we’re more committed than our competitors’.
Put together a late team who make calls between 6:15 and 6:45 in the evening. Not only will you be flagging your dedication, you will find that in a slow market, your prospect is also working longer hours.
Avoid the same stale target structure by regularly setting new goals and using your imagination when it comes to the incentives. Champagne and chocolate for the quick wins and then maybe a duvet day or a £100 cash for the top performers.
A slow market also gives you some space to discover just who those top performers are. There’s a window to re-appraise staff and review their performance. If you do decide to streamline the Sales force, make sure you don’t remove someone with an influential client base just because there’s been a spate of inactivity.
Slow markets are not just good for streamlining a workforce; they present an opportunity to upscale and this is where Michael Page Sales can help; recruiting a fresh face will bring new clients but, just as importantly, they bring a fresh approach and can inject a spirit of competition into the proceedings. Contact us now to shake things up a bit!