A study from McKinsey that spanned over two decades and over 2,000 companies found that while the vast majority of businesses earn just a small profit, there are a handful that are immensely profitable.
Unlike their counterparts who wait until crises are severe to act and then made aggressive cost cuts once their businesses were hurting, resilient companies focus on maximizing efficiency and pivoting their strategies to keep up with the rapidly changing market. This allows them to simultaneously control costs and invest in growth initiatives.
To build a resilient sales team, you need to invest time and resources into three assets:
I spoke with Fredi Avila, our Director of Inside Sales, to get insights on how to use these assets to prepare for a successful recovery.
Adapt Your Strategy
“Things are going to bounce back, and when they do, you’ll want to have systems and processes in place to help you capitalize on it,” says Fredi.
Most markets change permanently during downturns. Resilient teams use slow periods to identify changing buyer needs and behaviors and adapt accordingly. Depending on your industry, this can be as simple as shifting your messaging to appeal to new pain points to selling via new platforms that are becoming popular with your audience.
Fredi says that now is also the time to focus on deepening relationships. “Get social selling and relationship management processes in place so you can build a strong pipeline of future opportunities.”
Resilient teams know that no one survives tough times alone. Focusing on building relationships instead of direct selling not only helps you stay in touch with prospects, but it also lets you share resources and collaborate with your network to help everyone have a successful recovery.
Optimize Your Technology
Instead of just cutting costs, resilient sales teams focus on generating more revenue from the same amount of resources. This helps them gain the funding needed to sustain other vital initiatives in the company.
To maximize the ROI from your existing tools, Fredi says, “you need to review your current processes, implement/optimize new processes, automate as much as you can to ensure you are in the best position possible to hit the ground running when we get through this.”
Start by listing out all of your team’s tools and processes. Then ask yourself if each one is achieving its goal. Commit to eliminating or improving each process and software that falls short of expectations.
Here are some common areas to optimize:
- Keep your CRM fully up-to-date. One of the biggest mistakes that sales teams make is not entering all of their opportunity-related data into their CRM. This prevents them from leveraging accurate data that’s critical to have a clear picture of your pipeline.
- Improve your lead management process. During slow periods, every lead is essential. Make sure you have a reliable method for following up with leads and evaluate your messaging at each stage to ensure it has the right tone.
- Refine your prospecting process. Are you looking for the types of accounts that are most likely to sign right now or just reaching out to anyone you can find? Shifting your prospecting to a narrower but more highly qualified set of prospects will help increase your close rate.
Making these kinds of improvements will help your team remain resilient throughout the crisis and recovery process.
Give Your Team Support
Shifting your sales strategies, fostering relationships, and optimizing technology are critical for building your business. Still, they’re all time-consuming activities that will be difficult to sustain once the recovery begins.
To prepare your team for a successful future, Fredi says, “I can’t recommend enough getting a sales VA onboarded now. Getting them onboarded now can help you get organized and processes in place, but it will also give the VA invaluable exposure to your business, customers, cadence, and tone. When things do pick up, they’ll be able to provide you with the leverage you need.”
Sales virtual assistants can tackle a wide variety of tasks, including:
- CRM management
- Lead management
- Prospect research
- Document formatting
And many other tedious tasks that pull your team away from more strategic activities.
To learn more about how a virtual assistant can help your sales team thrive, download our free guide, or schedule a free consultation.
About the Author: Emily leads Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.