2020 was the year. Your company was going to experience exponential growth. The plans had been meticulously prepared and presented, blessed by the board, applauded by all business unit leaders around the table.
Now, the entire selling landscape has changed. Is any growth strategy relevant during these turbulent times?
The short answer is, yes, and the longer answer is, whatever you’ve been doing, you should be able to scale up or down to make the same approach work, regardless of market conditions.
Here is how:
- Establish a successful cadence. This is where operational discipline meets sales execution. When a success cadence is established, it supports any business at any time, if the right framework is in place.
- Do not chase revenue simply to make this quarter’s numbers. In the Sandler Research Center’s latest report, The Hunt for New Clients, we discovered that only 43% of respondents thought that their organization was effective at deciding on which opportunities to pursue. In this case, your sales team can be burning up time and energy chasing deals that may not even be the right ones. Remember that net revenue retention, on balance, is more valuable than one-time wins. A successful growth approach must be repeatable and scalable.
- Sales must understand how to properly land in the critical path of customers. According to the same Sandler report, only 72% of survey respondents said that they understand a typical customer’s journey. Yet, landing in their critical means that your selling process is aligned with a corporate initiative that is meaningful to the customer. In other words, unless you are selling to something critical to your customer’s ability to grow their business, reduce risk or cut operating costs – it’s unimportant to your customer in this environment. If you are selling into discretionary budgets, then your growth strategy is not going to survive.
- Tightly align sales and the organization. This is backed by an entire belief system, and not just a one-time implementation. It is an ongoing and shared responsibility to build sustainable and repeatable growth. Don’t ask your sales team to close deals, ask them to help build the business.
- Sustained operational discipline stems from continuous learning. Yet, we know from our research that 43% of sales managers do not feel that they receive effective training for their role. Everyone is a student in this new environment. That includes the leadership team. The boss can’t possibly know it all or foster an environment where everyone believes that the boss knows it all. Everyone, including leadership, must be “willing and able” to commit to the continuous evolution of knowledge and skills. And if you can’t learn it, be prepared to hire for gaps.
- If you go too fast, you will get eliminated. Don’t push sales for speed. That only satisfies a short-term need. By pushing sales, the organization will simply continue to run into the same problems, only faster.
We’re at the onset of radical change, without knowing exactly what that entails. But that doesn’t mean that rapid growth is off the table for 2020. Some predict a U-shaped recovery is on the horizon. In order for your growth strategy to succeed, no matter what the market conditions – you will need a repeatable process that is either defined or continuously refined by the organization. Landing in the critical path of your customer takes time, discipline, process and cadence, but the ability to do so will be rewarded with sustainable growth and long-term value.