How to Prepare for the Coming Sales Team Super Storm

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 22, 2021 @ 16:09 PM

LittlePawz - Freak summer snowstorm blanketing red maples

What would you do if, in the middle of summer, a big box store said you would really need a snowblower in preparation for the summer snowstorms we were about to get?  Crazy, right?

What if Staples sent out a promo to buy all the printer paper you can in preparation for a printing explosion as we move away from digital?  Wouldn't that be nuts?

What if a professional sports team reached out to your really good 12-year-old and offered them a professional contract?  Is that even possible?

So when a promotion for an upcoming webinar appeared in my Twitter feed last week I was equally astounded by the lack of anticipatory awareness of the sales training firm and online publication promoting it.  It said:

My first reaction was that this must have been something from 2016 - right before the boom that lasted until the pandemic slammed the economy to the ground.  Or, from the 4th quarter of 2020, when we expected the economy to come roaring back.  But it simply can't be something that is remotely relevant to what we are about to experience.  Here's what we know, and how that will impact companies and their sales teams in 2022.  

I'm not an economist, but I can read, seek out trustworthy sources, and have 46 years of business experience. On top of that I am street smart, have good common sense and  can do the math.  

Inflation.  According to Trading Economics, the current inflation rate is running at over 5% compared to 1.2% just a year ago.  That is bound to lead to higher interest rates and a drop in consumer confidence, followed by layoffs, spending freezes and more price increases.

Federal Debt.  According to Statista, the federal debt is over 28 trillion dollars, more than four times what it was 20 years ago.  On top of that, Congress is debating on two bills, which together, would add another 5 trillion dollars to the debt. Regardless of what anyone in the US government says, it can only lead to higher taxes. One of the bills being debated right now has provisions for significant tax hikes.  According to the NY Times, the corporate tax rate could increase by more than 30% and the rate for the wealthiest Americans could double! According to Tax Policy Center, senior fellow, Howard Gleckman, "95% of all federal taxes are paid by households in the top two quintiles — those making about $98,000 or more." 

No matter how you cut it, higher taxes lead to layoffs and spending freezes. The wealthy will have less disposable income to inject into the economy and the businesses they run must layoff staff to compensate for profits being redirected to pay additional corporate income taxes.

Don't get me wrong. If multi-billion dollar companies aren't paying any taxes they should pay their share but this won't affect them.  According to the US Treasury30 million SMEs account for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs. This will affect them and their employees.

Immigration.  You don't have to live in a cave to see what's happening on the southern border and with the Afghanistan immigrants.  Millions of people streaming into the US means millions more low wage workers.  According to George Borjas, professor of Economics at Harvard University, "Immigration redistributes wealth from those who compete with immigrants to those who use immigrants—from the employee to the employer." 

As wages go down, disposable income vanishes and that negatively impacts the economy.

Stock Market.  Wall Street has the jitters right now because they don't like what they are seeing.  According to Morgan Stanley's Chief Investment Officer, Mike Wilson, stocks could be in for a 20% correction. 

That's a devaluation of 20%! 

According to BTIG's Juilian Emanuel, the markets are mimicking 1999 and for those of us who were around back then, it's not good news.  As a matter of fact, that's the kind of news that causes companies to stop spending money in a hurry.

If you've been reading anything in the news, you know there's a lot more going on but these four issues directly impact our economy.  And you don't have to live in the US to be affected by the US Economy because according to the NY Times, as the USA goes, so goes the global economy.  

These four issues don't suggest a coming boom, they warn of a serious recession, with high inflation, high interest rates, and high taxes, coming soon to a city near you.  In other words, an economic disaster.  Not as bad as the complete shutdown we saw in 2020, but probably as bad as the economic crisis we faced in 2009.

So how will that impact companies and their sales teams?

When large companies enact spending freezes, it has a trickle down effect.  For B2B, think cancellations, PO's that aren't issued, layoffs, fear and most especially, real challenges to getting products and services sold unless companies can't do without them.  And even then, there will be more competition and a race to the bottom as companies demand lower prices. Salespeople are ill-equipped and will be scared, while the companies they work for will be too risk-averse to rely on order takers to suddenly sell value in hopes of maintaining margins. 

"Selling value will be the key to survival but
selling value does not occur in a vacuum".
 

It requires strong consultative selling skills (listening and questioning) in the context of a sales process that supports a consultative approach.

Selling value assumes that your salespeople actually got themselves a meeting!  While getting meetings aren't that difficult with good lead generation efforts, meeting with a decision maker is.  46% of all salespeople believe they are reaching decision makers while Objective Management Group's (OMG) data shows that only 13% are actually doing that.  And if the economy tanks the way I expect it to, watch what will happen to those lead generation efforts!

From 2017 to the pandemic, most salespeople were successful in spite of themselves because there was more business than capacity to deliver.  Yet 50% of reps still failed to meet quota.  What will happen to the bottom half of your sales team when there will no longer be orders to take and each opportunity will need to be found and properly sold?  It doesn't sound very exciting.

Now is the time to take control of what lurks ahead.

The. Single. Most. Important. Thing. You. Can. Do. Right. Now. is to have your sales team professionally evaluated.  You must:

  • Learn who is part of your future and who was part of your past
  • Whether sales management is up to the task of coaching up your salespeople
  • Who has the ability to become effective taking a consultative rather than transactional approach to sales?
  • Who has the ability to sell value instead of price?
  • Is your sales process ready to support a consultative, value based approach?
  • How effective are your salespeople at reaching actual decision makers?
  • How effective is your team at gettin prospects past nice-to-have and getting them to must-have?
  • How much better can your salespeople become?
  • How long will it take?
  • What is required?

Those are the first ten things that came to mind but there are hundreds of other questions that could be and should be answered as part of a sales force evaluation.  What do you need to know about your sales team to navigate what I expect will be a very difficult 2022?

Learn more about a sales team evaluation here.

Explore OMG's data from more than 2 million salespeople in the 21 Sales Core Competencies we measure.

Request a sample from a sales team evaluation. Check off the following boxes on your sample request:

Topics: Dave Kurlan, assessments, sales performance, economic crisis, recession, closing deals, 2022

Definitive Playbook to Lead a Sales Force Out of the Current Crisis

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 20, 2020 @ 10:05 AM

playbook

You might be aware that I'm leading a one-hour, live broadcast tomorrow (Thursday May 21) on How to Get Your Company's Sales Engine Roaring Again.  

Why This Particular Event? 

There is a ton of misinformation out there.  Much of it is written by people with an agenda, with a piece of technology to solve your problems, with a solution that will remove you from your money but not fix the sales problem.  Much of it is put out there by people with no clue as to what really needs to be done, what the challenges will be going forward, and how to address those challenges head on.  Most of these people have not had to lead sales organizations out of recessions and depressions before.  There is a revenue gap to be filled and your momentum was effectively stopped in the same way your car would be stopped by hitting a brick wall at 30 mph.  You might not be dead, but you aren't in the same condition you were a minute prior to impact!

The challenges aren't solved by technology because they are all people problems:

  • The challenge with the sales organization as a whole - what changes must be made to align with our new normal?
  • The challenge that sales leaders present to CEOs - what should sales leaders be doing right now that will impact revenue?
  • The challenge that sales managers present to sales leaders - what should sales managers be doing right now that will impact revenue?
  • The challenge that salespeople present to sales managers - what should salespeople be doing right now that will impact revenue?
  • The challenge that customers and prospects will present to salespeople - what sort of conversations should salespeople be having right now that will impact revenue?

Why Are We Charging $199 for it?

There are two primary reasons:

  1. A free webinar will make it no different, no better, no more unique than all of the free podcasts, webinars and videos that are circulating and being offered.
  2. This will truly be different.  It's not a teaser for something you need to pay for.  It's not a session with regurgitated information.  It's not a session where you don't get actionable, useful, timely steps.  I will provide the following and it's risk free - if you don't get value we'll give you a refund!

Slide 12

Why Should You Attend?

If you're a salesperson or a sales manager, you probably shouldn't.  But you should make sure that your senior sales leader and CXOs do attend.

If you're a sales leader or a CXO you can't guess what your next steps must be.  I'll provide an actionable playbook that you can put into action tomorrow!

--> Register <--

Image copyright 123 RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Force, economic crisis, sales playbook, recovery

Good News About the Economy Positively Impacts the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 @ 22:03 PM

I often get to see things six to twelve months before they happen.  When manufacturing placed projects and orders on hold as they did last October, it's easy to predict that it will trickle down and impact everyone else over the next six months. 

The word from clients so far this week is that manufacturers are taking projects off of hold and releasing money - even in the automotive industry!  That too will trickle down and impact everyone else over the next six months.

Today I also heard from a client whose house sold in just one day.

Housing and automotive - positive signs from both camps - truly good news for everyone.

It makes your salespeople feel better, it gives them hope, and in turn it makes them work with more confidence.  When they are out there giving it their all, not letting the resistance get to them. following the sales process, using appropriate strategies and tactics, not accepting the first stall, put-off, objection or rejection that comes their way, you have a much better chance that your struggling sales force will generate some much needed revenue.

Haven't heard any good signs in your own industry yet?  Make some calls and talk with some people until you find even one example.  Then spread the good word to all of your salespeople and let them in on the win - even if it wasn't a win for your own company.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Management, Salesforce, Sales Force, declining sales, objections, increasing sales, economic crisis, sales calls, sales behaviors, recession, Economy, declining revenue

Media is to Fuel as the Recession is to Fire - How Does it Impact the Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 11, 2009 @ 08:03 AM

The media - they didn't cause the banking crisis but they have surely capitalized on it, dramatized it, chronically reported every devastating development and turned a serious but contained fire into a wildfire.

I don't want to hear how many jobs have been lost.  Who does that help?  I don't want to hear what happened to the Dow - I can look it up if I want to know how much money I lost.  I don't want to hear who is going into bankruptcy.  It doesn't affect me.  I don't want to know the latest store closings, whose sales are off for the quarter, how lousy the auto makers are doing or whose house is being foreclosed.  The point is, it doesn't help me, it doesn't help you and it doesn't help anybody, anywhere, to listen to this never-ending, negative drama.  In fact, it hurts.  It depresses people, it scares people and it causes people to stop buying things. It is causing businesses to lay-off employees, not because they have to, but because they have an excuse to, and it's causing people to wonder if it's ever going to improve.

I don't want to know who was murdered last night either.  And I don't want to know who got killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. This doesn't impact me either.

In fact, let's roll the news back to just 30 minutes, let's give the meteorologist and sports anchor a few more minutes, and let's hear some news that is really news.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average isn't news.  A company's earnings shouldn't be news.

Let's hear about the good that companies are doing. Let's hear about the good that people are doing.  Let's hear about the things organizations are doing to improve our economy.  Let's hear about the things being done to improve health care, the environment, our lives, our world, our universe.

Tell us about the latest developments in space, under water, in remote places.  Tell us something good.  Tell us something positive.  Tell us something to take our minds OFF of what's going on and help us to put some normalcy back into our lives.

For those of us who consult, train, coach, evaluate and motivate executive teams and sales organizations, this would surely help us to help them.  We need to get people buying and nothing gets people buying like good salespeople who aren't selling into the most resistant marketplace in the history of selling.

I will tell 250 sales development experts, 10,000 subscribers to Baseline Selling, and the thousands who visit this blog to boycott the news.  And if they each tell someone, who tells someone, who tells someone we could actually have an impact. How about calling this initiative something like 3M2P -  Media Motivating the Masses 2 Prosper?  Seriously, it's not an initiative, it's not an organization, it's not more than one person's frustration. But what if it was?

I've never asked for my articles to be forwarded but I think this is the one I have been saving that request for.  Please forward the link to anyone you think will agree with this.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, Salesforce, sales motivation, economic crisis, Sales Advice, sales development

Revising the Forbes Message of the Day for the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 26, 2009 @ 08:02 AM

The Forbes Success Calendar for 2/25/09 said, "Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of our living.  Out of our overconfidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope.  And out of hope, progress." - Bruce Barton

I think this quote requires a serious revision - for the sales force and for the company.

First, let's make it shorter.  

Action.  Today, any action is better than inaction. And don't react, just respond appropriately.  Reactions are emotional while responses are intentional.

Change is good but forget trial and error.  In this economy there is no margin for error.  Everything you do must be time-tested and proven

Hope is not a strategy but unwavering belief will lead to progress and in turn, confidence

My revision: If what you are doing today is not yielding the desired result, respond, take action, change, believe, progress, succeed.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Salesforce, Sales Force, success, improve sales, economic crisis, sales results, Forbes

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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