Subhakar Rao Surapaneni

Investor, Sales and Marketing Pioneer, Author, Technology Champion, Philanthropist, Leadership Mentor

6 Ways you can use this Economy as an opportunity to Grow

6 Things Sales Champions and Leaders Must Do to Grow in this period of Global economic recession.

Everyone in your firm is probably wondering “How has this economy affected our business?”. “What is the company doing and what’s the action plan for 2009?”. Here are six ways you can use this Opportunity and Economy to Grow.

1) Reassure Top Champions that their jobs are safe and their bonus potential is even higher with the new plans for 2009 (even if their results may be lower). Wear your thinking hat and come up with a adrenaline charging Bonus plan for your sales champions.Praise the Sales Champions even for maintaining Status Quo. Just maintaining the previous levels of sales it self is a challenge. Overcommunicate that you have confidence in the team and world is not coming to an end.

2) Focus on existing customers :

  • Selling existing products to existing clients takes 1:2 effort
  • Selling new products to existing customers takes 1:4 effort

compared to

  • Selling new products to new clients which takes 1:24 effort.
It is 6 times easier to sell to existing clients -even the ones who might not have been freaking tickled or happy with your previous delivery, might still want to deal with you if you proved to be a company that will address customer issues instead of running away at the first sign of trouble. “A known Devil is better than an unknown Angel”. Keep uncovering new requirements, new opportunities from existing clients and Keep your existing clients happy.

3) Focus on Qualified Prospects/Industries and introduce targeted strategies to lower the risk of buying. Industries like Food, Alcholic Beverages, Healthcare are Growing even in this economy… Can your Business services these industries?. Can your business service Globally? With advent of Voice Over IP and high speed internet, you can have a UK line at your desk tommorrow -Go conquer Europe or Asia or any other continent left!!

4) Improve People, Processes and Technology/Software. Sales will improve with better training and improved processes along with superior software/technology. It’s time to improve, Trim the fat or the bottom 10% of your workforce, but don’t cut the muscle!! Actually, Grow the muscle through Training the rest of the folks in this economy. It is time for the rest of the champions that survived the cut to improve.  I was speaking at a Conference on Sales & Marketing and one of the attendees asked “If we train our Sales folks and what if they leave”, I retorted back asking “What if you don’t train and your sales folks remain duds for life?”. Good times or Bad times, Training always pays. Invest in it now more than ever to get the best ROI.

5) Sure the Newspaper headlines screaming negative news of the economy is a cause for concern, fear and anxiety. This not the time to crawl under the desk and pray. Sales leaders have to convert this anxiety into energy for their troops. Last Monday, I had one of our top Sales Business Development Managers walk up to me and say “Have you read the news ?” .. I said Yes, and went on to say “The economic outlook looks a little gloomy”. He stopped me and reflected the fact that the recession if any has started in November 2007 last year and we really haven’t felt the pinch of it till date, now is not the time to overly get concerned. Stop Talking about the Recession!! Look at the turnaround and growth happening next year 2009.
6) Get Agressive with your Advertising and Marketing offers and Get on the offensive. It’s time to give your competitors a true run for their money while your conservative competitors are on the defensive. The Economy might take the wind of the sales a tad bit and empty our pockets, but it cannot empty our spirits. Sales Leaders need to improve their mindset, become charged up more than ever and keep the spirit of selling in your organization alive!!
Good Luck & God Speed.. Remember Luck and God always favors the hard working!!

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