In the world of sales, adaptability is essential. When an economic downturn hits, businesses that can quickly adapt and evolve their go-to-market (GTM) strategy are the ones that come out on top. But how can you keep your GTM strategy agile and responsive to market changes?
Let’s begin with the reactionary measures we are seeing in the SaaS sales space to weather the economic downturn. Many SaaS companies have faced significant workforce reductions recently. But without enhancing sales ops productivity, optimizing efficiency, and reevaluating if the GTM strategy is well-positioned for profitability, such reactions often leave organizations smaller without any substantial improvement.
Even though the days of low interest rates and abundant capital are behind us, there's still a golden opportunity to thrive in these times. However, numerous businesses might miss out on this potential due to a lack of comprehensive thinking and a short-term perspective on the need to adapt.
Enter generative AI: the technology that has been rapidly changing the world over the last few months. OpenAI opened the Pandora’s box by releasing ChatGPT, and now GPT-4, and many other generative AI tools have emerged at the forefront since then, shaping the day-to-day work of knowledge workers quicker than any other technology has in the last couple of decades.
With the help of generative AI, you can tune your GTM strategy to get more from less, explore new ways not just of creating email responses and researching prospects, but also of sales coaching, enablement, and seller productivity.
In this blog post, we'll explore the secrets of a resilient go-to-market strategy and how generative AI-powered tools are revolutionizing the way SaaS sales leaders are approaching GTM productivity and efficiency in challenging times.
Understanding the Basics: What is a Resilient GTM Strategy for a downturn?
First, let's define what a go-to-market strategy is. A GTM strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how a company will reach its target customers and achieve a competitive advantage in the market. This includes everything from product positioning and messaging to sales channels and marketing tactics. When the economic landscape shifts, businesses must be prepared to adjust their GTM strategy accordingly.
And what’s a resilient GTM strategy built to weather a recession?
A resilient recession GTM (go-to-market) strategy is adaptable, data-driven, and customer-centric. Its hallmarks include:
- Flexibility: Being able to pivot and adjust approaches based on market changes and customer needs.
- Data-driven decision-making: Utilizing market research, customer feedback, and AI-powered tools to identify trends and make informed decisions. Utilizing internal dashboards and reporting to identify opportunities and risks before they hit you head-on.
- Emphasis on customer retention: Focusing on maintaining strong relationships with existing clients, as retaining customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones during a downturn. Your ability to support them through longer decision cycles and new buying challenges as they emerge will set your sales organization apart as a trusted partner.
- Value-driven messaging: Highlighting the value and benefits of your products or services in your marketing and sales communications to resonate with customers who are more cautious about spending.
- Productivity on steroids: Your GTM during a recession requires you to make your sales pros not just empathetic to customer needs but also equipped to action these insights in no time. Think personalized follow up emails, hyper-accurate CRM updates, quick summaries in all the relevant places, pre-call research in a fraction of the time it takes, and more, while also having to work on more deals in the same 8-9 hour work day.
- Flexible pricing: Offering various pricing options or payment plans to accommodate different budgets and needs.
- Continuous optimization: Regularly assessing the effectiveness of your GTM strategy and making necessary adjustments based on key performance indicators (KPIs), your buyers’ personas and body language and evolving market insights.
By focusing on these vital aspects, a resilient GTM strategy can help businesses navigate the challenges of a recession and emerge stronger when the economy recovers.
The Importance of Empathy and EQ in Building a Resilient Recession GTM Strategy
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Spot on!
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a crucial skill for sales professionals, particularly during a recession when customers are far more cautious about spending.
By tapping into the emotions of your prospects and understanding their needs, even the ones they don’t say out loud, you can create a more targeted and effective recession GTM strategy.
Far-sighted sales leaders have invested in Sybill. Their teams focus on keeping the sales call conversations helpful to the customer. And Sybill does the job of:
- Identifying body language that captures evolving needs, objections, champions, detractors
- Identifying parts of your GTM strategy serving deal closures and the ones acting as barriers.
The Role of Generative AI in an Recession GTM Strategy
When economic headwinds hit, your sales team’s agility is key.
Just as Tony Stark uses his Iron Man suit to adapt to any situation, generative AI can help sales leaders keep their GTM strategy agile and responsive to market changes.
Sales enablement tools using generative AI for sales generate customized sales content, like follow up emails and summaries, to help your sales team stay ahead of the curve.
Sellers are using tools like ChatGPT to roleplay scenarios, summarize calls, write creative follow-ups, write personalized cold emails, figure out insights from data, and more. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible ways to boost the productivity of your sales team using generative AI.
For example, Sybill’s absurdly human call summaries update the CRM with hyper-accurate context on every call, removing the CRM time sink. Ultimately, this allows your team more time to take more sales calls, talk to more customers, and focus on solving their recession challenges.
These summaries also make their way to sales leaders’ Slack channels and emails, so they can identify deals in the red and work with teams to ensure that deals don’t die because of a lack of timely action.
By leveraging the power of generative AI, you not only identify emerging trends and opportunities but act on them on the fly, allowing you to pivot your GTM strategy and make data-driven decisions with confidence.
Steps to Tailor Your Recession GTM Strategy for an Economic Downturn
- Reassess your target market: During an economic downturn, it's essential to reevaluate your target market and identify any new opportunities or challenges that may have emerged. Your ICP may have changed. Your erstwhile ICP may have new needs. Your ICP now has a buying committee to deal with.
Ask who your ICP is and how you can make their life easier.
- Adjust your product positioning: With a clear understanding of your target market's evolving needs, adjust your product positioning and messaging to better resonate with your audience. Focus more on ROI metrics than other factors, especially as you deal with CFOs in the buying committees.
Emotional intelligence from video calls can provide valuable insights into the emotional triggers and concerns of your prospects, enabling you to craft more empathetic and compelling messaging. And generative AI can help you create these messages in no time.
Ask what your prospects want to hear from you. Use a language that speaks to their pain points.
- Improve sales and marketing alignment: In a challenging economic climate, it's crucial to make every marketing asset count towards deal closures. Leverage generative AI to create highly targeted and personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience.
- Develop a flexible pricing strategy: During an economic downturn, price sensitivity may be heightened among your target audience. Consider developing a more flexible pricing strategy that offers different options or payment plans to accommodate various budgets and needs.
Not all pricing objections are verbal. And not everyone on the buying committee is your champion. Successful SaaS sales pros are using behavior AI to identify these nuances, and generative AI to address them. In no time.
- Focus on customer retention: In times of economic uncertainty, customer retention becomes even more critical. Be empathetic, understand where your customers are coming from to strengthen relationships with existing customers and identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to solve for their new challenges as they emerge.
- Keep the channels of communication open: And we don't just mean with your customers. Your sales pros are struggling to close deals and can do with some timely mentoring to act on deals that are in the red. But does that mean you need to jump on to every call?
No, use your CRM and other sales enablement tools to keep the sales process and progress open to all.
Proactively identify deal blockers that need your attention. Work with your team to address blockers, and close those deals with your seasoned expertise. All the while keeping your revenue forecasts realistic. These are hard times for everyone.
- Measure and optimize your GTM strategy: As the economic landscape continues to evolve, it's essential to regularly assess the effectiveness of your go-to-market strategy.
Track key performance indicators (KPIs) and use generative AI to act on messaging and demos for improvement and optimization.
Embracing the Power of Adaptability in GTM Strategy with Generative AI
In the immortal words of Charles Darwin, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change."
By embracing the power of adaptability and leveraging generative AI and emotional intelligence, sales leaders are navigating the challenges of an economic downturn. And they are optimistic about emerging stronger on the other side.
Many of them harness the power of Sybill to keep their go-to-market strategy agile and resilient to thrive in any economic climate. The force is strong with this one.
Click here if you are ready to adapt your GTM strategy for recession-time success and resilience.