We are in a recession, possibly going into a depression. The world’s GDP has contracted and economic recovery is anyone’s guess. Anxiety and fear are prevalent in people’s homes and businesses. But now, more than ever, it’s important for sales management and go-to-market (GTM) leaders to come together and audit their businesses, develop a plan, take action and respond to the changing economic environment. As John Adams once said, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” This crisis may your opportunity.

Sales Management to Land, Expand + Retain Business

Now’s the time for certain departments within companies to work side by side and determine what the business can do to land, expand and retain business. I would propose that, at a minimum, sales, presales / technical sales, customer success, product marketing, product management, sales engineering, demand generation, thought leadership, human resources and finance collaborate on this.

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As your sales management discusses the way forward, during the gathering of the minds, it is suggested that the team look at two things. First, they should look at the macro factors impacting their industry, markets they serve, partners they work with and demand durability for their offerings to assess their position in the market. Second they should determine how they should approach land, expand and retain efforts. Below are some sample questions to consider.

Land Business

  • Do we have growing demand for what we offer?
  • How can we outperform the competition?

Expand Business

  • Can we upsell into our existing customer base?
  • How can we cross-sell other product offerings to our customer base?

Retain Business

  • How can we minimize churn?
  • What can we do to help customers impacted by the covid recession?

Asking the Right Questions

Given today’s economic conditions impacting your business, here are some sample questions each functional leader can consider to get further fidelity on how to optimize your GTM:

Sales/Sales Management

  • Are we clear on qualifiers and dis-qualifiers that make a good customer for us?
  • What sales team members yield the greatest leverage on dollars spent?

Technical Sales

  • How are we optimizing the delivery of our demos?
  • How are we managing evaluations effectively to increase technical wins?

Customer Success

  • How can we minimize churn and retain our existing customers base?
  • How can we expand and/or upsell to our existing customers base?

Product Marketing

  • How does our product convey hard and/or soft dollar return on investment?
  • Are we clear on the outcome(s) we enable for our customers?

Product Management

  • What type of price adjustments must be made to retain customers?
  • What type of promotions should be made to expand or retain a customer base?

Engineering

  • What initiatives can reduce product delivery costs?
  • What features can enable us to retain existing customers or land new ones?

Demand Generation 

Thought Leadership

  • Does our identity clearly convey to our target audience(s) what we stand for?
  • Are we clear on the type of value proposition we provide?

Human Resources

  • Who are the critical employees that the company must retain?
  • How do we best take care of current and soon-to-be former employees?

Finance

  • When do we run out of cash?
  • How can we extend our runway by either cutting costs or new revenue streams?

Don’t be surprised if a much longer list of questions surface from your functional sales management leaders. This is a good thing, because it will drive healthy discussions on how to best triage your company’s GTM. Hopefully this sample list will spark healthy discussions within your team.

Summary

We are in a global economic crisis, and it’s impacting our lives, businesses and customers in a multitude of ways. But as we all know, if you can’t control what is happening, then your power is controlling the way you respond to the challenge. I hope this post provides some inspiration to unlock your team’s power to survive and even prosper during these economic times.