There is a lot of buzz Re. the US economic outlook and a potential recession yet this year. Honestly, I don’t get concerned about these things.
I am a 25-year business development leadership veteran that has gone through three economic downturns (the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2000, the financial crisis in 2008, and Covid). In the past 3 recessions/downturns, I led growth that was stratospheric. Business development teams should always be developing and managing their sales pipelines. From these previous rough economic times, I have learned some sales pipeline management best practices.
The top 3 are below. (1) Believe in the process and stay with the program. When the going gets tough, those basics are often ignored. Sales processes and the pipeline management best practices that are proven apply no matter what the economic environment is like. I have seen business development persons and teams often get worked up over the prospect of not making top dollars on commissions and bonuses, and then they make short-sighted, ad-hoc, and gut-feel-based decisions rather than believing in the process & the data. The execution of a proven, repeatable process is always the best bet and leads to greater financial returns. (2) Keep the focus on the top of the funnel. Especially, if/when sales closings slow down and the pressure is on to deliver the numbers increases. I have seen some
develop tunnel vision. They tend to focus on the ever-shrinking number of opportunities at the bottom of the funnel and try to get those across the finish line. With hope and prayers, they are regurgitating these opportunities and ignoring the fact that with time the likelihood of closing those shrinks (time kills all deals). * What is needed now is fresh and new opportunities entering the sales process. Keeping a focus on the top of the funnel ensures success. (3) Do not drop rates or give discounts. Reduced rates or discounting seems like an easy fix to get a deal across the finish line. And clients will ask for it, stating that their business is not doing well, pointing at the economy, sharing that your competitors are discoun
ting, and if you just were to do it, you would get the deal. Maybe?
And even if you are successful in closing a deal by offering reduced rates, the psychology that is at work when you do has detrimental effects: - You are saying that you don’t believe enough in the value your c=services/products provide that you think you can sell it for the standard or reduced price. - You’re showing your cards and proving that you have a weak hand. - And when you offer reduced rates / discounts, there’s no going back. You will be stuck with it forever.
Do not discount. Always promote/espouse the value. It is simply, stick with the basics.
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