In an economic slowdown, sales doesn’t come easy.
We’re seeing a thorny situation unfold with rising interest rates, plummeting stock prices and widespread layoffs. As Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and others join the ranks of companies letting people go, convincing an enterprise buyer to spend on any product or service is especially hard.
Keeping their own jobs is more important than ever for everyone right now - right from the CEO presenting to the board to the individual contributor whose credit card budget for software expenses has been frozen.
What’s happening in sales conversations right now
You spent months, even years, perfecting your sales pipeline. But if my conversations with the sales community is anything to go by, what seemed like great leads once are suddenly turning cold.
Sales cycles are longer. More decision-makers are involved in every organizational purchase. People are reluctant to invest in companies or sales professionals they know nothing about.
The market is bearish, but you and I can’t hang our boots. And today, we talk about how to infuse new life into your sales conversations during these difficult times.
You need a new sales playbook during this economic slump
Throw out the old playbooks. Your prospects have new insecurities and new triggers and barriers. Approach your sales strategy and sales calls with a renewed focus on relationships and empathy.
Cutting operational costs is a top priority right now. And you need to make sure that you speak to this new need.
- Reposition your product and service for the slump
During the great recession of 2008, cloud and SaaS companies thrived. It was easy for decision-makers to tell their CFOs that they could optimize operational costs and achieve the same results without additional technology infrastructure or new hires. The repositioning of cloud and SaaS companies from significant technology investments to cost-cutting measures worked wonders for them.
As we enter yet another recession, can you redefine your product GTM for businesses grappling with the slump? Can you demonstrate more substantial ROI or ways your product or service can help prospects reduce burn rates?
For example, let’s say you are a martech company marketing itself on the back of advertising hyper-personalization. It is time to reposition yourself as an excellent fit for marketers under tremendous pressure to demonstrate higher return on ad spends.
Work with your marketing team to build a new strategy with content and collaterals that resonate with tight cash reserves and the unique problems and insecurities arising from a bearish market. It’s just common sense.
- Renew old relationships with upsells and cross-sells
Most buyers are wary of spending their already restricted cash reserves when the market slumps. They are not looking to bet on unknown people, products, or services.
Your existing customers are your best bets in such times. So circle back and ask how you can help them during the slump. Have meaningful discovery calls powered by emotional intelligence. Pitch new or upgraded solutions that speak to your old customers’ new cash flow challenges.
For example, you are a tech company that builds conversational AI products. A brand purchased customer chatbots from you some years ago. Go back and tell them that your employee chatbots can help them cut IT helpdesk costs and watch them get interested in the conversation.
And if the pricing brings a frown on their faces, you know what to do!
- Become risk-free with referrals
Buyers are highly risk-averse during a slump. As a result, they don’t warm up to conversations with sales professionals they don’t personally know.
But surely, you have existing customers who love working with you or using your product or service. So go beyond testimonials and ask for referrals. This will help you have more sales conversations with known prospects. And your chances of conversion will be way higher. I am not just saying that – statistics back me up here. A staggering 92% of customers trust referrals from people they know.
- Optimize your time on deals
We’ll tell you this. Through these days of slump, you’ll spend far more time closing fewer deals. Sales cycles will be longer and the number of decision-makers will be higher than business-as-usual.
You will have to be far more efficient and use your time better on deals, calls, and follow-ups. Leverage sales tools that tightly integrate your sales call notes with CRM, so your data is always up to date. Use conversational intelligence so you don’t have to spend more than five minutes on follow-up tasks.
Use deep data to evaluate your prospects’ interest levels throughout the deal so you always know you are spending more time on qualified leads.
Relationships, empathy and time management are your most vital tools against a rotting pipeline
The chips are down. But a bearish market is not the end of the world. It might take more effort right now to close fewer deals. But with a bit of attention to your prospects’ new challenges – the ones they tell you out loud and even the ones they don’t – you can fit your product into their scheme of things.
Sales conversations need more emotional intelligence and empathy during these times.
With more prominent buying committees, you need to quickly build relationships and understand the triggers and barriers of more decision-makers. You will need to understand your prospects’ emotional responses to your new GTM strategies and sales collaterals.
And with more sales calls to attend to close fewer deals, you will have to optimize your time with a complete handle on deal intelligence. You must take proactive steps to keep your prospects engaged and move on more quickly if all the indicators tell you the deal is going south.
Get a Behavior AI tool, or a conversational intelligence solution that has behavior detection and quantification built in, so that you can uncover what’s said and what’s not said in prospect conversations. Sybill’s Behavior AI capability is helping users read these critical cues confidently. It empowers them to build strong relationships with buying committees in no time.
And most important of all, our users are saving 5+ hours a week with automated meeting notes that include outcomes, next steps, conversation starters, pain points and more. Sybill’s Magic Summaries is bringing together the powers of behavior AI and generative AI to help resource-crunched and stressed out sales professionals in these times of crunch.
Every sales professional needs an emotionally aware sales partner to help them through these difficult times.