How Winning Companies Adjust in a Down Economy
I recently met with a CEO whose company experienced 18% revenue growth in 2021 and another 20% increase in first-half FY2022 but lost all of that growth after a 33% drop in second-half 2022.
I have seen this post-COVID sales pop in many businesses brought on by inventory growth, pent-up consumer demand, and affordable capital. However, now we’re seeing buyers becoming more careful with their spending given rising interest rates, inflation, and a reduction in demand.
Businesses are emerging into a new marketplace following the post-lockdown revenue bump. If you’ve found yourself concerned about the state of the economy and its effect on your sales performance, now is the time to revisit your company’s value proposition. When the market goes through dramatic changes, your unique selling proposition needs to evolve with it.
Winning companies evolve to build upon their elevated revenue run rate, not lower their performance expectations due to a down economy.
My Fractional VP Sales colleagues and I are seeing immediate impact by partnering with small and mid-sized businesses to focus on the following areas at this critical juncture.
Become Exceptional at Delivering Value to Prospects
Prospects are applying more scrutiny than ever before in screening the merits of a meeting before accepting it. This has raised the bar for your sales outreach efforts to truly demonstrate how you are helpful to your clients.
Sales is the process of helping someone achieve or obtain something they can’t do or get on their own.
You need to give your prospects a compelling reason to talk to you. Every sales outreach needs to crisply demonstrate how you can solve their challenges.
Contacts will ignore your meeting requests until you convince them you are a capable of helping them. This is why it’s critical that sales and marketing work together to engage new prospects. Our new digital age requires ultra-effective sales outreach messaging strengthened by relevant, helpful content resources.
If your sales team is struggling to set meetings, it’s time to revisit how you are prospecting and engaging with your target audience. We are in a new selling world and companies need to lead their business development reps through revolutionary changes in selling style.
Read my blog, “How Do I Engage Sales in Lead Generation?”, to gain more insight, or get in touch for an exploratory discussion to assess how I may be able to help your sales team transition.
Identify Your Untouchable “Three Uniques”
Let’s dig a little deeper into in the key component of effective sales messaging… differentiation. You need to swiftly relay your unique position in the marketplace and why your customers choose you over your competition.
EOS Worldwide outlines a simple yet effective method I like to utilize called the “Three Uniques”. This methodology isolates the top three strengths that make you unique to your ideal customer.
The key is that the combination of your Three Uniques makes you stand apart with no other competitors measuring up.
If you were to line yourself up against your competition, you may share some of the same characteristics in terms of services and focus. However, done properly, none of them should embody the same combination of your Three Uniques. This blend is unique to your company only and the secret sauce that makes you extraordinarily appealing to your target audience.
Messaging with this clarity is very effective. It helps your target audience understand how your value proposition relates to them specifically.
Go From SWOT to SOAR
When a company is looking to evolve given new market conditions, drawing together their leadership team to review the business as a whole can be illuminating.
A common senior leadership planning exercise you may be familiar with is SWOT that focuses on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.
The problem is it doesn’t examine the business from a future-seeking perspective, which is essential during uncertain times. I’ve found the SOAR model to be effective at stimulating forward thinking.
SOAR is an evolution from SWOT that maintains the analysis of Strengths and Opportunities but replaces Weakness and Threats with “Aspirations and Results”.
All elements of SOAR are looking at positives and possibilities.
SOAR directs senior leaders to focus on what they want to be doing, who they want to serve, and how their strengths can be applied to new market dynamics. If you’re not familiar, click here to learn more about SOAR analysis.
Being open to new ideas and looking for ways to evolve helps you thrive in the new marketplace while your competition stays stuck in the past.
If your sales growth has stalled, you need to act quickly to solve the problem because it isn’t going away on its own. Buyer behavior has changed, and your approach needs to change with it.
- Measure your close effectiveness now versus pre-pandemic to expose areas of your sales process that may be breaking down.
- Set more new account meetings by developing a value-driven sales outreach strategy.
- Achieve stronger prospect engagement by incorporating your “Three Uniques” into sales messaging.
- Conduct a senior management SOAR workshop to reveal down economy opportunities.
I also invite you to take my Sales Agility Assessment that generates an insightful report on how your sales organization design and operation aligns with high performance best practices.
I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.