Now is when it counts: How to revamp your sales leadership strategy in 2023

Audrey Rampon
April 18, 2023
min to read

Now is when it counts: How to revamp your sales leadership strategy in 2023

Audrey Rampon
April 18, 2023
min to read

Alright sales leaders, what if I told you:

Waves of layoffs are happening.

A recession is on the horizon.

The B2B SaaS industry is slowing down.

Yikes. But sounds familiar, right?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that a downturned economy has become the new reality. That’s why now, and more than ever, it’s imperative for sales leaders to adjust your leadership strategy to fit this new norm.

Sales teams have experienced a favorable period for roughly the past 10 years: they exceeded their goals, received a steady flow of leads, enjoyed commission checks, and overall benefitted from a strong economy. 

And then… Last year, things started to change and sales teams began experiencing:

👎 Reduced inbound leads,

👎 Increased cancellations,

👎 And higher resistance to prices. 

In these situations, and because we’re just humans after all, we may tend to focus on the slowdown and start to feel sorry for ourselves. 

This is why it’s your responsibility, now more than ever, as a sales leader to take action and equip your team with the necessary tools to sell during a slowdown. 

You still with me?

Awesome, so keep reading as I’ll share actionable tactics to help you revamp and refresh your leadership toolkit, by covering the 3 M’s:

😃 Morale

💰 Money

🚀 Momentum

M for Morale: How Can You Boost Your Sales Team’s Morale?

During an economic slowdown, SDRs/AEs certainly face challenges in meeting their revenue goals, which can negatively impact morale. 

It’s crucial to keep the team motivated and engaged in order to overcome these obstacles. To achieve this, you can re-evaluate how you measure success and redefine their metrics.

For instance, instead of solely focusing on Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), here at Chili Piper “our sales team's leaders restructured their goals into controllable behaviors'', explained Alex Franco, Sr. Sales Manager at Chili Piper, in a recent MasterSaaS session with Blind Zebra. You can watch the replay here

This means, we now measure metrics that AEs have complete control over, such as the number of accounts and contacts reached out to, the quantity of outbound behavior, and other achievable milestones. By doing this, we are  giving our sales team more confidence that they can reach their goals.

Another option to explore: 

As a sales leader, you can implement recognition and reward programs to boost morale. These could include:

⭐️ Public recognition of top-performing salespeople

⭐️ Awards and bonuses

⭐️ Or even incentives for achieving individual goals. 

These types of programs can motivate the team to stay focused on their objectives, and ultimately contribute to achieving the company's targets. Win-win!

Investing in team-building activities and providing training and development opportunities can also help boost morale. 

Don’t we all thrive in environments that foster collaboration, communication, and professional growth? Offering this will not only keep sales teams motivated but also increase their effectiveness in selling through challenging periods.

The bottom line – By redefining goals into achievable and controllable behaviors, implementing recognition and reward programs, and providing team-building and development opportunities, you’ll have higher chances to maintain your team’s motivation, improve their effectiveness, and ultimately succeed during challenging times.

M for Money: How To Handle The Increase Of Price Pushback?

Our prospects' budgets are shrinking. And our sales teams can be facing pushback on price. Ouch.

Here’s an opportunity to start coaching your SDR/AE team on how to handle pricing pushbacks effectively. 

A crucial lesson is to teach the importance of emotional neutrality when discussing money. It’s natural for people to become emotional when discussing finances, but sales teams must learn to remove their emotions from these discussions.

You can encourage your team to approach economic discussions from a mathematical perspective rather than an emotional one. This means focusing on the numbers, such as the prospect's budget, projected ROI, and the costs and benefits of the proposed solution. By doing so, we can effectively collaborate with prospects to determine whether the deal makes logical sense.

Also, you can provide your team with negotiation training to develop their skills in handling pricing objections. This training should include techniques for: 

✅ Active listening

✅ Asking open-ended questions

✅ And understanding the prospect's needs and motivations

A good idea is to role-play to simulate different scenarios and help gain confidence in negotiation tactics.

Also think about how you can provide your team with competitive intelligence to help them better understand the market and their competitors' pricing strategies. By having this knowledge, your SDR/AEs have an opening to provide more value to the prospects and justify the proposed solution's cost.

By teaching emotional neutrality, approaching economic discussions from a mathematical perspective, providing negotiation training and competitive intelligence, you’ll equip your team with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate challenging market conditions successfully.

M for Momentum: What Strategies To Adopt To Increase Sales Success?

Speed is not only important for responding to leads but also for moving prospects through the sales cycle quickly. 

The longer a deal sits in the pipeline, the more likely it is to stall or fall through. Sales reps must be trained to qualify leads efficiently and identify the best opportunities for conversion. By doing so, they can prioritize their time and focus on the most promising leads, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

In addition to speed, sales teams must also focus on providing value to their prospects. Prospects are nowadays more likely to be cautious with their spending and might require more convincing before making a purchase. Therefore, SDR/AE's must be equipped with the knowledge and tools to communicate the value of their solution effectively. 

This includes understanding the prospect's pain points and how the solution can solve them, as well as highlighting the return on investment.

You could also create a culture of accountability within your team. This means setting clear expectations and holding team members accountable for their performance. Sales reps should be regularly evaluated on their progress towards their goals and given feedback on areas of improvement. By creating a culture of accountability, you motivate your team to perform at their best, even in challenging market conditions.

Speed is critical for sales success, but it isn’t the only factor. We have to focus on providing value to our prospects, qualifying leads efficiently, and creating a culture of accountability within our sales team. 

Final thoughts

To all the sales leaders reading this: now is when it counts and we need to adjust our strategies to meet the current market reality, marked by a downturned economy, reduced inbound leads, increased cancellations, and more resistance to prices. 

To navigate these challenges, it’s easy to remember the three M's: 

Morale: to boost team morale, redefine goals into achievable and controllable behaviors, implement recognition and reward programs, and provide team-building and development opportunities. 

Money: to handle the increase in price pushback, teach emotional neutrality, provide negotiation training, and give competitive intelligence to your team. 

Momentum: to increase sales success, focus on speed and value. By qualifying leads efficiently, prioritizing their time, and communicating the value of their solutions, sales reps can successfully navigate challenging market conditions.

Want to get more tips? 

Watch the replay of the great MasterSaas session hosted by Blind Zebra in Q1 2023. Lots of tactical nuggets to take from it! 

Alright sales leaders, what if I told you:

Waves of layoffs are happening.

A recession is on the horizon.

The B2B SaaS industry is slowing down.

Yikes. But sounds familiar, right?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that a downturned economy has become the new reality. That’s why now, and more than ever, it’s imperative for sales leaders to adjust your leadership strategy to fit this new norm.

Sales teams have experienced a favorable period for roughly the past 10 years: they exceeded their goals, received a steady flow of leads, enjoyed commission checks, and overall benefitted from a strong economy. 

And then… Last year, things started to change and sales teams began experiencing:

👎 Reduced inbound leads,

👎 Increased cancellations,

👎 And higher resistance to prices. 

In these situations, and because we’re just humans after all, we may tend to focus on the slowdown and start to feel sorry for ourselves. 

This is why it’s your responsibility, now more than ever, as a sales leader to take action and equip your team with the necessary tools to sell during a slowdown. 

You still with me?

Awesome, so keep reading as I’ll share actionable tactics to help you revamp and refresh your leadership toolkit, by covering the 3 M’s:

😃 Morale

💰 Money

🚀 Momentum

M for Morale: How Can You Boost Your Sales Team’s Morale?

During an economic slowdown, SDRs/AEs certainly face challenges in meeting their revenue goals, which can negatively impact morale. 

It’s crucial to keep the team motivated and engaged in order to overcome these obstacles. To achieve this, you can re-evaluate how you measure success and redefine their metrics.

For instance, instead of solely focusing on Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), here at Chili Piper “our sales team's leaders restructured their goals into controllable behaviors'', explained Alex Franco, Sr. Sales Manager at Chili Piper, in a recent MasterSaaS session with Blind Zebra. You can watch the replay here

This means, we now measure metrics that AEs have complete control over, such as the number of accounts and contacts reached out to, the quantity of outbound behavior, and other achievable milestones. By doing this, we are  giving our sales team more confidence that they can reach their goals.

Another option to explore: 

As a sales leader, you can implement recognition and reward programs to boost morale. These could include:

⭐️ Public recognition of top-performing salespeople

⭐️ Awards and bonuses

⭐️ Or even incentives for achieving individual goals. 

These types of programs can motivate the team to stay focused on their objectives, and ultimately contribute to achieving the company's targets. Win-win!

Investing in team-building activities and providing training and development opportunities can also help boost morale. 

Don’t we all thrive in environments that foster collaboration, communication, and professional growth? Offering this will not only keep sales teams motivated but also increase their effectiveness in selling through challenging periods.

The bottom line – By redefining goals into achievable and controllable behaviors, implementing recognition and reward programs, and providing team-building and development opportunities, you’ll have higher chances to maintain your team’s motivation, improve their effectiveness, and ultimately succeed during challenging times.

M for Money: How To Handle The Increase Of Price Pushback?

Our prospects' budgets are shrinking. And our sales teams can be facing pushback on price. Ouch.

Here’s an opportunity to start coaching your SDR/AE team on how to handle pricing pushbacks effectively. 

A crucial lesson is to teach the importance of emotional neutrality when discussing money. It’s natural for people to become emotional when discussing finances, but sales teams must learn to remove their emotions from these discussions.

You can encourage your team to approach economic discussions from a mathematical perspective rather than an emotional one. This means focusing on the numbers, such as the prospect's budget, projected ROI, and the costs and benefits of the proposed solution. By doing so, we can effectively collaborate with prospects to determine whether the deal makes logical sense.

Also, you can provide your team with negotiation training to develop their skills in handling pricing objections. This training should include techniques for: 

✅ Active listening

✅ Asking open-ended questions

✅ And understanding the prospect's needs and motivations

A good idea is to role-play to simulate different scenarios and help gain confidence in negotiation tactics.

Also think about how you can provide your team with competitive intelligence to help them better understand the market and their competitors' pricing strategies. By having this knowledge, your SDR/AEs have an opening to provide more value to the prospects and justify the proposed solution's cost.

By teaching emotional neutrality, approaching economic discussions from a mathematical perspective, providing negotiation training and competitive intelligence, you’ll equip your team with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate challenging market conditions successfully.

M for Momentum: What Strategies To Adopt To Increase Sales Success?

Speed is not only important for responding to leads but also for moving prospects through the sales cycle quickly. 

The longer a deal sits in the pipeline, the more likely it is to stall or fall through. Sales reps must be trained to qualify leads efficiently and identify the best opportunities for conversion. By doing so, they can prioritize their time and focus on the most promising leads, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

In addition to speed, sales teams must also focus on providing value to their prospects. Prospects are nowadays more likely to be cautious with their spending and might require more convincing before making a purchase. Therefore, SDR/AE's must be equipped with the knowledge and tools to communicate the value of their solution effectively. 

This includes understanding the prospect's pain points and how the solution can solve them, as well as highlighting the return on investment.

You could also create a culture of accountability within your team. This means setting clear expectations and holding team members accountable for their performance. Sales reps should be regularly evaluated on their progress towards their goals and given feedback on areas of improvement. By creating a culture of accountability, you motivate your team to perform at their best, even in challenging market conditions.

Speed is critical for sales success, but it isn’t the only factor. We have to focus on providing value to our prospects, qualifying leads efficiently, and creating a culture of accountability within our sales team. 

Final thoughts

To all the sales leaders reading this: now is when it counts and we need to adjust our strategies to meet the current market reality, marked by a downturned economy, reduced inbound leads, increased cancellations, and more resistance to prices. 

To navigate these challenges, it’s easy to remember the three M's: 

Morale: to boost team morale, redefine goals into achievable and controllable behaviors, implement recognition and reward programs, and provide team-building and development opportunities. 

Money: to handle the increase in price pushback, teach emotional neutrality, provide negotiation training, and give competitive intelligence to your team. 

Momentum: to increase sales success, focus on speed and value. By qualifying leads efficiently, prioritizing their time, and communicating the value of their solutions, sales reps can successfully navigate challenging market conditions.

Want to get more tips? 

Watch the replay of the great MasterSaas session hosted by Blind Zebra in Q1 2023. Lots of tactical nuggets to take from it! 

Audrey Rampon

Audrey is a Sr. Partner Marketing Manager at Chili Piper. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, yoga, and time spent in nature. After years spent in France and Australia, she is now settled in sunny Lisbon, Portugal.

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