This is the second of two posts on AchieveGlobal’s study on business-to-business selling during an economic downturn, covered in our report “Surveying the Sales Landscape: The B2B Response to a Changing Economy.” Be sure to read the complete report.
If you keep an eye on economic reports from day to day, you have the feeling that you might as well be asking a “Magic 8-Ball” which way the economy is headed. Even as economic indicators suggest a swing toward positive growth, top economists hold back on their optimism as they continue to ponder the broader picture of international markets.
Most reports seem to have in common the projection that full recovery is not going to be an overnight journey. That being said, there are major lessons we can learn about how to survive – or even thrive – despite economic reality.
We recently polled B2B sales professionals about how the economy was affecting their sales outlook, and how their selling behavior had changed in response. A general consensus among our participants: the economy has definitely impacted customer spending.
Our study also discovered that while organizations seem to be focused on pursuing new customers, changes in interpersonal communication are left up to individual salespeople.
Now consider this: we know from past studies that when the economy goes south, our customers seek business partners who are also advisors, and will help them navigate the major changes they themselves confront. During economic uncertainty, the sales organization must help its salespeople resist the tendency to turn inward, and instead encourage them to turn outward and stay focused on the customer’s strategic, business and even emotional needs.
Just ask the Magic 8-Ball: Are individual salespeople important in sealing the deal during economic downturn? The Answer: Absolutely!
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida