Published: June 08, 2021 | Comments
It’s a beautiful thing to experience the pitch of a good salesperson; he or she draws you in, entices you, and leaves you hopeful and excited. And the feeling is mutual; a salesperson derives deep satisfaction and joy from successful interactions. Even when the customer says no, the salesperson’s resilient spirit rises, and they quickly move onto the next prospect. However, when hard economic times hit, that sense of resilience is strained. When subsequent sales performance is poor, it can negatively affect the salesman’s self-esteem.
Many organizations struggled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to HubSpot Global Sales Enablement Survey, 40% of businesses missed revenue targets in 2020. The Center for Global Development reports that most of the world is still in the midst of the steep global recession. The per capita incomes in the vast majority of emerging markets and developing economies shrunk in 2020, tipping many millions back into poverty, and the pandemic has pushed Africa into its first recession in 25 years.
You may be like many others, grappling with a very discouraged sales contact center, desperate to figure out how to support them during this period of economic recession. Here are some tips:
Align with market realities and set realistic targets
There is nothing more demoralizing to your team than when the organization is not in touch with market realities. The impact of global, economic, and regulatory activities is strictly monitored within an organization and should reflect in the sales target with any re-alignment when required. Still, sometimes a contact center manager needs to be the guiding voice for reforecasting or rebudgeting. Achievable targets motivate and drive great performance; unrealistic expectations lead to increased stress, decreased morale, and poor performance.
Improve your sales process. Identify gaps or bottlenecks that slow down sales or lead to negative customer experiences. Then explore and implement solutions that make the sales process smoothly, faster, or more customer centric. 42% of companies that missed their 2020 sales revenue targets have a business goal of change/improve sales process for 2021 (Hubspot Global Sales Enablement Survey).
Take customer and employee feedback to your management team to drive new or improved products, processes, technology, and more. These types of improvements help your team feel supported; that’s because the goal to improve sales involves areas and teams that cut across the entire organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced quite a number of organizations to become more invested in digital solutions. Identify ways to improve processes or products and services using technology. The same Hubspot survey found that 32% of companies plan on utilizing new sales technology to drive business goals in 2021.
According to Gartner, 70% of employees report they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs3. Fine tuning current skills and developing new skills will help, especially with the changes the company may take to improve profitability and performance during this time. Knowledge is indeed power, and your team members feel empowered when they are trained. 87% of millennials feel learning and development are important.
Make change management paramount
New budgets, products or services can lead to increased confusion and resistance. These actions are meant to help the team, but because human nature is naturally resistant to change, your team members may instead become hostile to the changes. Repeated, positive and comprehensive communication is key to driving the new initiatives the company is taking. It’s important to keep the process fun and enjoyable. You can use quirky communication campaigns, competitions, quizzes, and training.
Your team members are looking up to you for encouragement and support. The business is expecting your sales contact center to perform miracles. All of these expectations can feel very overwhelming in times of economic difficulty. These are a few ways that will powerfully support your team and help your organization successfully navigate through difficult economic times.