We are on the cusp of recession — if we are not already in one — so what is a sales leader to do?

We have to stay focused on what we can control.

A recent survey from Jimney revealed that 65% of us are worried about a recession. In fact, it’s one of the top concerns for individual contributors and sales leaders.

But, there is a silver lining. A recent study from Gartner with business leaders showed organizations that overperformed during and after a recession had two things in common:

  • They focused on differentiating the customer experience, strategy, innovation, and/or execution
  • They did not rely on cost-cutting alone, instead working to optimize existing resources

So, how does this focus on differentiation and optimization translate for the line sales leader? 

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Persona-based differentiation: Most GTM teams know their buyer personas and ICP. But do you have clarity on when, why, and how they engaged in the first place? Or, what your funnel conversion is by persona? There is ALWAYS some opportunity to improve the prospect and customer experience. Use a slow down to look at your data from an “outside in” perspective.
  2. Culture of team learning: The term culture gets thrown around a lot. But there is a mountain of evidence that proves high-performing teams have “it.” They use an “outside in” view to learn constantly — they use buyer calls and stories from the field to improve messaging, team handoffs, and differentiate their prep. Slower deal flow is a perfect time for deeper learning.
  3. Agile execution: I recently talked about Agile and the implications for GTM teams. In both certain, and uncertain times, it’s critical to develop a regular cadence of evaluation, and to look for ways to make better use of playbooks, process, and technology.

Are the processes we’re asking our people to execute “user friendly”? Are we teaching, coaching, and enabling our people effectively? How do we know we are? 

As sales leaders, we know there is so much outside of our control. We know we will be asked to make some difficult choices, and we will have some sleepless nights. 

But there are things we can focus on that don’t require the cooperation of the economy. And when we get that right, we’ll have a lot more restful evenings.