Rumble. Rumble. Rumble.

Are you tuned in? Most of us are hearing and talking about it. There are certainly conversations happening and important questions being posed. There are signs and economic indicators that we may be heading towards a recession.

We’ve heard opinions that the economy may stay flat, and we’ve felt the pre-rumbles of corporate nervousness. Recently, confidence among some of the nation’s top CEOs saw the biggest quarter-over-quarter drop in seven years* according to the Business Round Table (BRT) economic outlook index.

Why it matters: Corporate America’s level of optimism has dramatically receded in the last two years, especially in the wake of heightened trade war uncertainty What will be the state of the economy be moving forward? Which industries will be impacted? What opportunities could arise from a tightening or a downturn?

While you can’t change what happens in the marketplace, you do have many choices about your preparedness. One of the first choices we would make if we were you is to develop and enact a Sales Recession-proofing Strategy. (Call it whatever you want if you don’t like acknowledging the “R” word.) It is imperative to pay attention, a lot of attention, to preparing and building a sales team with a strategy that can withstand a financial stress test. Then implement it. Either way – even if you are gifted with continued growth – you need to deal in reality; not fantasy. And, there’s nothing more real than actual sales revenue and revenue trends.

Here are few key areas to prioritize, evaluate, and focus on strengthening:

Selling and Closing Rates

What are your current sales capabilities and how is your pipeline management? Are there better ways to find and reach decision makers? Is your sales process tight and effective, and are your reps skilled at using it – or is time for a “tune-up?” Can your high performers continue to grow? Are you truly developing your reps? Do they understand that mastering the art of selling is an expectation? Do they know how to accurately forecast their pipelines?

Delivering Extraordinary Sales Success through Teamwork

Organizational Silos negatively impact sales results, referrals and the client experience. Does your entire organization feel they can and want to contribute to sales results? Have you taken steps to ensure everyone knows your current sales capabilities and offerings? Does every team member know how to present the company to others and, more importantly, how to identify prospective clients? We believe world-class sales performance requires cross-functional effort – all hands-on deck!

Sales Talent Matters

Are you keeping your key sales talent intact and happy as they can be? Remember, top performers are at the top of their game because they like to win and master things. Keep them challenged. Keep them engaged. Have you found smart ways for them to contribute to the success of the whole? Are you rewarding them for what they do? You want to have high expectations, then celebrate the heck out of their wins, console their losses and make sure to learn the lessons that both winning and losing bring.

Always be recruiting for sales talent both externally and internally. You just may discover there is someone already on your team who makes sense to invest in and to develop. Unfortunately, you also will have to deal with the sub-par performers – those members of the team who aren’t developing no matter what you do to support them. Sorry about that.

Focus on Referrals

Are you paying particular attention to the rewards that referrals bring to your sales success? You should! Pay close attention to cultivating your customer relationships. Be ready to identify and pursue opportunities left by those competitors who are not able to lead their way out of market troubles. Can your team see the possible opportunities to provide new solutions to solve customer’s evolving business needs.

Now is the time to keep your eyes wide open. Stay focused, commit to looking for recession proofing strategies, lead with your strengths, and find new opportunities for your company no matter what happens.

Remember all the previous business cycles you’ve weathered? This is the time to proactively prepare. Ensure the entire company is actively engaged in improving sales results, committed to and focused on delivering value-driven solutions and exceptional customer experiences.

We’ve given you a few tips, but we have a lot more. Curious about partnering with us? Reach out. We create custom solutions that produce real improvements and bottom-line results. Be wise. Invest in your team now. Then, recession or not, you know your organization is aligned and ready for the next business cycle.

Source: Business Roundtable survey*