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5 Sales Killers to Avoid Making During a Recession

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Written by Heather Bennett

In a recession, companies look to cut costs in any way that they can. Increasing sales is next to impossible under these conditions and when numbers are down, it seems logical to make cuts in the sales department. Let’s face it, sales tools and sales people are expensive. But be careful not to throw out the baby with bath water. After every economic downturn, there’s an upturn and inevitable expansion. Preparing your organization for this change by strategically positioning your sales team is crucial.

There are many strategies for how to do this, but these are the 5 things you MUST avoid doing in response to a recession. Read closely, we’re counting down…

5. Don’t Slash the Marketing Budget.

Force your team to become more efficient. You need to get more with less. (Notice I said get more, not DO more) Ask you team to produce what’s most important and hold them accountable to meeting goals. Usually, this means leads. Do you have tools in place that can help you measure your marketing efficiency? If not, this is a place to make an investment.

4. Don’t Stop Recruiting for Sales Reps

You should cut some under producing reps, but never stop looking for superstars. In general, high-performing sales people have jobs and won’t to respond to ads on Monster.com or Craigslist. When you come across a spectacular sales person, be ethically aggressive in inquiring about their future. And if they are happy where they are, put them in your tickler file. No one stays happy forever…

3. Don’t Set Goals Too High

So your sales head count has been reduced, and you need your remaining reps to pick up the slack. If they’re worth keeping, they will do just that. Be careful not to give them goals they will likely miss. Morale is already fragile and discouraged sales guys don’t produce. You may even consider offering a short term “recession special” incentive. The bottom line…keep spirits high while still demanding high performance on the sales team.

2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.

When business slows managers are often tempted to recreate the sales process or over-train the sales staff. Although investing in sales training is never a bad idea, it’s important not to try and change everything all at once. You should use training time to give your team new tools and get them to practice their sales pitch , just don’t throw out everything that worked before. Keep testing new things but implement changes slowly.

1. Don’t Stop Investing.

You can’t save your way into a profit. If investing in a new CRM tool, sales manager, or Google Adwords campaign was a good idea before, chances are it still is. If funds are not available simply take smaller steps towards these goals, but don’t change direction. Making drastic changes now will shake the confidence your sales people and the market had in your company before things got tough. Do your best to stay your course. Your prospects will soon want to spend again, will you be ready?