5 Keys to Sales Productivity in an Uncertain Economy

Brian Schoeneman, President, Dunthorpe Marketing Group

A person working at a laptop with a large stopwatch behind him.

Leading sales organizations, developing differentiators, managing pipeline, and hitting targets are all difficult endeavors each sales leader must tackle. When unforeseen circumstances – like a pandemic – strike the global economy, these charges become even more challenging. However, where there is challenge, there is opportunity. Dunthorpe Marketing Group works with many revenue teams, putting us in the unique position to both guide teams through uncertain times and see how teams respond (or don’t respond) to uncertainty. With this insight, we are able to identify what works and what doesn’t. This post explores 5 keys to sales productivity in an uncertain environment

Increase Operational Efficiencies

During the early stages of the pandemic, many of our clients shifted spend away from marketing and selling activities and instead focused spend on process, data, and technology alignment. Since many sectors were pausing spend in a “wait and see” approach, marketing and sales investment in messaging and channels were falling on deaf ears. In today’s uncertain economic time, we still see our clients focused primarily on efficiency. With constant change from day to day, be sure your prospects are open to receiving the messages you are delivering. If there is uncertainty, shifting messaging investment toward operational efficiencies can help organizations to set themselves up to scale their selling when people are open to spending. Regardless, finding efficiencies to scale is always a good foundational endeavor. 

Improve foundational practices

Identifying ideal customer profiles and developing target account lists are practices revenue teams undertake periodically. However, in uncertain economic times, ideal customer profiles and behavioral buying triggers have likely changed. Spending the time to re-evaluate, or build for the first time, will help revenue teams with clarity and focus. Put in the work to develop buying committees at target accounts. Hyper-focus your sales teams on a selling approach like account-based selling and/or social selling. Finally, double-down on enablement by developing training and collateral for sales teams to be more effective. If sales has free bandwidth, cross-train them with the product or services teams to better understand features or differentiators. Work with other departments to create the most effective after-sales enablement collateral the sales teams have been seeking. Take the time to organize it so sales can find it readily for each prospect by buying stage and need. These efforts will help shorten sales cycles and increase close percentage. 

Create New Tactics

Our teleservices teams have had to make adjustments in outreach in this new reality we live in. As more people work remotely, calling offices to find the right person is no longer a reliable strategy. As a result, we added tactics and developed tools to connect with people where they are: at home. Tools including an anonymized direct mailing site and tactics that focus on relationship building, offer development, and tele-referrals, have helped our teams stay on track with their KPIs and metrics. 

Invest in Growth

When major economic shifts happen, some companies wither while others thrive. Where challenges like these arise, there is opportunity for growth. If you play to win (as opposed to “play not to lose”) you will be investing in growth strategies, even if it feels uncomfortable. Focusing on growth means being proactive in asking (and answering) the questions: Is there new talent out there? Keep your network growing and consider “hiring without need”. Are there new market opportunities? Develop a plan to serve that market. 

Support People: People – both employees and prospects – are at the core of any business In uncertain times, enable effective remote work, be flexible with how, when, and where teams work, and be intentional about team connection. With prospects, lead with empathy. Understand that now might not be the right time to talk or buy. Since everyone is navigating this uncertainty, prioritize messages that focus less on getting to a “yes” or “no”, and more on developing a rapport and relationship.

There are numerous ways to increase sales productivity during an uncertain economic period and the overview outlined can be tactically executed in many different ways. Visit our website or reach out to us to learn how we’ve helped our clients execute.

Headshot of Brian Schoenenman

As the President of Dunthorpe Marketing, Brian focuses on creating scalable solutions to help clients achieve their operational and end to end revenue goals. By focusing on technology alignment, insights, process and account based revenue methods, Brian has enabled global companies, startups and nonprofits to build a solid foundation to achieve more with their marketing and sales investments.