When crisis hits, whether it’s a biological crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a meteorological catastrophe, economic downturn, etc., everyday norms change. But even in the face of a life-altering crisis, businesses must still find ways to function. To keep employees working. To serve customers. To contribute to the economic well-being of the nation.
It might not seem obvious at first, but when a crisis hits and an economic downturn results, sales leadership consultants can be more important than ever to fill the inevitable void in sales leadership and help small to mid-sized businesses stay on top of their game.
Here are just a few reasons why sales leadership consultants are uniquely positioned to help businesses weather a crisis:
Bringing High-stakes Corporate Experience
During a crisis, all businesses – from the largest to the smallest – need a leader that has been through a crisis before – they need someone that has been “in the trenches” and has made it out successfully. In the corporate world, those trenches can have enormous, high-stakes consequences. In other words, even minor missteps can have multi-million-dollar ramifications. At the small to mid-size business level, the total dollar impact might be far less, but can be just as critical to the business’s owner, its employees and customers. In fact, with less margin for error and fewer economic reserves, smaller businesses are usually at greater risk for failure if the economy suffers – for any reason.
So, smaller businesses benefit if their advisors have the kind of high-stakes experience more common at the large corporate level. Sales consultants, coming from such a background, have been through many varied crisis situations with high-dollar consequences. They bring the perspective, expertise and experience to help small to mid-sized businesses navigate toward calmer waters.
Does the type of crisis matter when it comes to high-stakes experience? Regardless of the nature of the crisis, businesses must sell to survive, thrive and serve. So, whether the crisis is global like a pandemic, local like a hurricane or tornado outbreak, or market-based like a recession or the rise of a tough new competitor, sales leadership consultants can be a difference-maker.
Providing Cost-effective Engagements
During a crisis, small to mid-sized businesses must be more vigilant than ever regarding expenditures. By using a fractional sales leadership consultant to help them excel and compete in a volatile economic marketplace, they can gain superior experience and expertise at a fraction of the cost of a full-time sales leader with more limited credentials.
Ability to Adapt Sales Strategies, Processes, and Communication Opportunities
In a crisis, the traditional methods of selling might become either unavailable, ineffective, or obsolete. For example, during a biological crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face selling might be unwise or impossible. When this happens, a sales leadership consultant can help a smaller business leverage other sales strategies and methods, perhaps using technology to shift sales and communication processes while reaching out to prospects and customers with essential and reassuring messaging.
Ability to Develop a Crisis Sales Plan
A sales leadership consultant can also be called upon to help small to mid-sized businesses draft, implement and manage a Crisis Sales Plan.
A Crisis Sales Plan is best crafted as an adaptation of the business’s standard sales plan (sometimes called a Sales Action Plan). This standard plan typically helps businesses:
- Know their customers
- Develop target market and industry positioning with differentiation from competitors
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals
- Establish key sales metrics
- Track and measure sales team performance with a well-designed and utilized CRM
- Develop clear territories
- Maintain customer relationships
A sales leadership consultant can adapt a business’s sales plan into a Crisis Sales Plan by helping the business leverage these six essential steps:
- Identifying the type and scope of the crisis
- Determining the likely duration of the crisis
- Implementing changes to your sales plan as necessary
- Communicating and motivating throughout the crisis
- Refining your sales plan as necessary during the crisis period
- After the crisis ends, reviewing the Crisis Sales Plan for necessary enhancements
When a crisis hits, traditional sales strategies and methods must adapt. This is especially critical – yet also especially difficult – for small to mid-sized businesses who are more vulnerable to business disruption. Can these businesses continue selling in a crisis? Yes, but probably not without new ways of operating in the new crisis environment. A sales leadership consultant can bring external, big-picture perspective and experience to help a smaller business recognize threats and opportunities, survive and thrive during and after the crisis period.
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