Selling in a Recession: 5 Strategies for Growth

Author:

Aoife Daly

Selling in a Recession: 5 Strategies for Growth

Author:

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Selling in a Recession: 5 Strategies for Growth

Aoife Daly

Content Marketing Manager, Operatix

With the threat of recession looming, it’s essential that business leaders are prepared to deal with the slowdown that comes with an economic downturn. As budget cuts increase and the sales cycle slows considerably, sales representatives can expect an upturn in objections and rejections – something they must be equipped to handle in advance. Selling in a recession requires preparation, increased creativity and, often, a change in strategy. 


Unsure of where to start? Take advantage of our strategies to help you sell in a recession and secure your growth.



How to Sell in a Recession

Selling in a Recession Tips



Understand the new pain points of clients


There is a misconception that businesses stop their spending altogether as soon as there is a threat of a recession. While yes, budget cuts are likely, an economic downturn will often bring about new pain points for your target market – and thus, new opportunities for you to sell.


An essential part of successfully selling in a recession is understanding these new pain points and how your product/service can help solve them. Take time to consider how your prospective customers may have been affected by the recession and adapt your messaging to pitch your service as a solution they simply can’t pass up on. 


What worked for your sales team may no longer work in a recession, so don’t be passive and stick to the traditional approach. Reframe the benefits of your product/service to make it all the more tempting.



Increase sales activities


It’s typical for sales cycles to get even longer during an economic downturn, as there are more hoops to jump through as people are increasingly worried about unnecessary spending. An increase in the decision-making process is likely, as every cost is scrutinised – no matter how essential.


In light of these changes, it is imperative to focus on increasing your sales team’s output and the number of touchpoints they make on a prospect.


Set a sustainable target for your representatives to meet; it can be tempting to up the number severely, but this will likely result in burnout. One way of getting around this is by using an outsourced sales company, as this will increase the amount of activity done on behalf of your product/service, generating pipeline and accelerating sales without running your current team into the ground. 


By diversifying your team with an outsourced sales team, you’ll get to utilise new strategies and skills – something that can make all the difference when selling in a recession. Outsourcing sales can also be especially useful if your sales force has been impacted by layoffs. While increasing headcount might not be part of the companies’ short-term plan, budgets can be used with outsourced firms to guarantee that pipeline is still generated, despite a reduced team. 


Increasing your outbound sales activities is of particular importance when accelerating growth during an economic downturn, allowing you to target your ideal customers who may not know about your business, build brand awareness and pitch your product/service in a way that appeals to specific pain points.



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Expect a decline in customer confidence


Selling in a recession comes with new objections, so your sales team must be prepared to prove the worth of your service. 


As businesses become stricter with their budget, you will need to sell your product with a value-based approach – words and promises of success will likely not be good enough. Proven, factual and real success stories will help you stand out from competitors, particularly if you have a variety to choose from. In fact, 92% of B2B buyers said they were more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review about it.


Utilise case studies, video testimonials and reviews from existing customers on platforms such as G2, Clutch, Capterra, etc. to do so, picking out key statistics for your sales team to use when selling to prospective customers.



Invest in training


While you may be making budget cuts yourself, investing in training will ensure your team can hone their skills and understand how to make the most out of every opportunity. Encourage your sales reps to undergo training courses and look at resources such as podcasts, videos, articles, etc, particularly those that revolve around selling in a recession.


After all, there will be new objections to overcome, tools to use and negotiation tactics to pick up. As mentioned previously, you cannot expect the same results by using old methods – your sales team must evolve with the times. Training and development is one area that should not be overlooked.



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Don’t forget about retention and expansion


As important as it is to double down on prospecting and pitching to new customers, you can’t forget about retention and expansion. 


Many business leaders and sales teams are, understandably, under the impression that customer expansion is unlikely during a recession. However, loyal customers are already aware of the benefits your service can bring, therefore making them more likely to invest. 


Encourage your team to look for up-sell opportunities, and ensure to improve communication with customers to keep them onboard for as long as possible. Iron out issues as quickly as possible and keep relationships positive.


Don’t overlook the importance of this, either – research shows that just a 5% increase in customer retention can bring in 25 – 95% more in profits. Selling in a recession shouldn’t just be about finding as many new customers as possible, but also looking for any opportunities for growth within current contracts.



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If you need assistance with selling in a recession, Operatix can help. Our team of outsourced sales development representatives specialise in accelerating revenue and growing pipeline for software vendors across the globe. Get in touch to find out how our expert team can help you.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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