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      4 Mins

      Why sales teams need to change when the economy gets tight

      Why sales teams need to change when the economy gets tight Featured Image
      Published on May 26, 2023 by Jon Payne

      If your sales aren’t where you want them to be right now, the reason why probably looks pretty obvious – the economy is underperforming, so of course your sales team isn’t bringing in the deals they’re used to.


      It makes sense to adjust your expectations right now but the outside world isn’t the only thing that affects how your sales team is performing. When the economy tightens up, that changes the way people buy – and that means you can’t keep trying to sell in the same way and expect the same results.


      Sadly there’s no silver bullet. Even something like HubSpot, as magical as it is, can’t parachute in and boost sales if the processes going on in the background aren’t right. But your team doesn’t have to resign themselves to struggling just because the market is – not if they’re willing to be flexible and embrace a new way of thinking about sales.


      If the economy’s changed, your team needs to


      If you’re wondering why your sales team is suddenly coming unstuck, it might be because they were actually running pretty well before. But now that the economy’s turned on its head, what worked before won’t have the same results now.


      Sometimes that can also mean embracing a pivot. Say you usually offer five core services and have been for years. But while three of them are still selling well right now, two of them have had a significant drop – rather than pushing harder to get those two back up, it might make more sense to focus your sales efforts on what’s still selling.


      Plenty of SMEs are doing that at the moment, doubling down on what they can sell best rather than diluting their sales team. We’ve even done it ourselves – Noisy Little Monkey has moved away from offering content recently, and put more focus into our SEO and HubSpot onboarding services, which is where we’re really able to deliver value.


      Do you know who your competitors are today?

      Brown chess piece being knocked down by a white chess piece.

      Every business knows who their competitors are, right? Figuring that out is one of the first things you do when you set up – by now, you know them inside and out. But when the economy shifts underneath you, it can also change who you’re fighting against.


      Case in point – office chairs (bear with us, this is a good example). I was recently looking at replacing the chairs in our office because the arms on our current ones had been scuffed against desks too many times and were falling apart. Everything else about the chairs was fine, but there’s no harm in investing in good furniture.


      Except when budgets are shrinking and prices are rising, of course. So instead of buying new chairs, I found someone who made replacement arms specifically for the chairs we already had. An office furniture supplier probably wouldn’t think of a small online business like that as their competitor, but they lost a pretty big order to them regardless.


      A bad economy changes how customers look at what they’re buying. They’re more informed about their options and used to shopping around for someone who can solve a highly specific problem. That means you have to accept that your competition might be coming from an unexpected corner, and be flexible in the way you fight it.


      You can’t sell more if no one’s buying


      When the economy dips and customers start drifting away, it’s easy to take a knee jerk response to the problem. There’s a new hole in your sales pipeline, so what better way to plug it than with more sales, right?


      But the problem is that the hole exists because your customers don’t have as much money right now, and trying harder than ever to sell to them isn’t going to change that. Instead you need to remember that this is temporary – your customers will come back once things level out, so focus on nurturing those relationships through education and valuable content.


      Your sales team might think that’s a job for marketing, but actually they need to work together. If the marketing people are trying to maintain relationships but your sales team keeps trying to make deals happen, your customers will feel pressed instead of nurtured.


      You can only grow so far when everything’s manual

      Several Handheld Tools on White Printer Paper

      Sometimes however, the problem isn’t having no one to sell to at the moment – it’s not having the capacity to handle sales. Maybe you have an opportunity to grow your revenue, but can’t afford to hire more salespeople to begin with. Or maybe you’ve been forced to let some of your sales team go, and the ones who are left are struggling to keep up with the workload.


      This is where automation comes in. If your sales team is bogged down with manual tasks like filling out contact details for leads or sending individual emails, they’re not putting their full attention into what they’re best at – building customer relationships and managing sales.


      Those manual tasks might look small to begin with. But if automation like HubSpot is taking them off your sales team’s plate, it can free up as much of their capacity as adding an extra salesperson.


      When you can’t increase your resources, you have to make the most of what you’ve got – because if you aren’t making use of something like automation, you know your competitors will be. More than that, it takes a certain agility and flexibility to look at optimising your sales team rather than just bolstering it with more bodies, and that mindset will underpin the other changes your team will need to make to ride out this wave.


      A trusted HubSpot partner can help you automate and optimise your sales process from start to finish. Find out how Noisy Little Monkey can help.

      Jon Payne

      Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.

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