5 Areas of Focus for Your SKO in the Current Economy

5 Areas of Focus for Your SKO in the Current Economy

Categories: Economic Change

Ongoing uncertainty in our economy may demand a strategic pivot for how you reach revenue goals in your sales organization in the coming year. Like many sales organizations, you may have faced new challenges due to economic shifts this year. As we enter into sales kickoff planning season without a clear picture of what next year will look like, the challenge becomes identifying which priorities are most critical to devote resources to.

Your sales kickoff is an opportunity to create the momentum your team needs to tackle whatever happens in the coming year. Take advantage of that opportunity by using this event to align on strategic initiatives, reinforce core methodologies, and lay the groundwork for habits and practices that will drive revenue even through the unexpected.

Start making your plan now to reinforce these priorities before, during and after the SKO so you can ensure a high-impact event that helps your team successfully move through a challenging environment and hit revenue targets.

1. Solidify Your Message on What Matters to Customers Right Now

While the current economic climate may be impacting internal decisions for your company, it’s critical that leaders also consider their buyer’s evolving needs. Remember to get customer-focused. Have an outside-in approach that helps your company leaders and sales organization understand what’s most relevant to your buyers today. Given the economic headwinds, your buyers are likely focused on reducing cost inefficiencies and managing revenue.

In a challenging market, a successful discovery formula becomes vital. What resources are your customers working with? What are their mission-critical priorities? What new problems are they experiencing due to economic windfall? Sellers need to be able to identify these factors skillfully and efficiently.

While there’s always scrutiny when allocating funds and resources toward a new solution for the business, the current economic state will only amplify that scrutiny. Provide your sellers with a buyer-focused sales message and approach that helps them stay relevant to their customers’ changing needs.

Sales organizations need a core value message that can align with evolving buyer problems, outline specific business outcomes and speak to top-line priorities in the buyer’s organization. Use your SKO to explore how you can work with your company leaders to get customer-focused and operationalize a sales message that helps your organization stay relevant to buyer needs.

2. Execute Sales Fundamentals in an Elite Way

Good selling is good selling; don’t complicate it. Especially in a time of resource scarcity, it’s important for leaders to find innovative ways to maximize their current talent’s potential. Protect your people investment by building your sales team's knowledge around key fundamentals.

You and your managers can fuel sales consistency by coaching your salespeople on the skills and knowledge they need to execute in every opportunity.

One focus leaders are taking right now is up-leveling their managers' skill sets. Coach your coaches. Share these resources with your managers to help them level up their coaching skills.

When sales fundamentals are supported by coaches who teach salespeople how to execute those actions in live opportunities, your reps will develop skills they can use to consistently improve numbers.

Identify opportunities to elevate your salespeople and managers’ skills. Implement key strategies to drive elite execution of sales best practices like the ones covered in this conversation on mission-critical sales actions for a changing economy.

3. Take Great Care of Your Customers

Equally important to winning new deals is nurturing relationships. When leaders align their product, delivery and sales teams behind a customer-centric approach, it creates momentum in the sales cycle that continuously helps feed the pipeline.

Now is the time to stay close to customers. Focus your sales teams on expanding and renewing current business. The most elite sellers are already reaching out to customer contacts to understand their evolving needs, build business acumen and provide further support. Help your entire sales organization focus on actions like these with your high-value customer accounts. These actions will help you maintain revenue and provide your reps with another source to build pipeline.

In a conversation on mission-critical areas of focus for your SKO, Brian Walsh shared strategies on how to equip your sales organization to have conversations about measuring solution success. Enabling reps to capture success metrics in sales conversations will help your organization improve its ability to reduce churn and drive expansion revenue.

4. Help Salespeople Prioritize the Right Opportunities Quickly

Your sellers’ time is always valuable, but economic uncertainty adds to that pressure. Given the potential economic headwinds and your aggressive revenue targets, your salespeople may be more inclined to get into an unqualified deal or skip key steps in the sales process to keep pipelines moving. Ensure you have both the processes and qualification methodology in place to equip your salespeople to efficiently seek high-value opportunities and progress them correctly.

Consider how your ideal customer profile may be impacted by external market forces, and align your sales team behind the new target including specific benchmarks. Equip managers to enforce and guide along these benchmarks to ensure adoption all year.

Learn what other leaders are focusing on and implementing to maximize their salespeople's time and resources. Get insights from our recent conversation with industry revenue leaders on how to drive revenue predictability, even in a challenging economic landscape. 

5. Manage Opportunities to a Successful Close

As the selling environment changes, your salespeople may not be able to influence deal closing timelines as successfully as they have in the first half of the year.

Sellers can avoid delays by taking certain actions earlier in the sales cycle. We often say, salespeople should always be negotiating. Without early negotiation, sales reps may enter a conversation on pricing behind the curve and be forced to discount. Help your salespeople avoid playing catch up. Instead provide the skills, knowledge and tools that will help your reps negotiate early and often throughout the entire sales process. With the right negotiation approach throughout the sale, your salespeople will be able to pull business value into the final negotiation and win at a high value.

Through deal reviews or one-on-ones with your reps, ensure managers are keeping reps accountable for negotiating early and often in their deals. Consider this resource for further reading on how you can adjust your sales organization’s negotiation strategy.

Execute An Event That Advances Your Strategic Priorities

You're investing a lot In your sales kickoff. Maximize its impact by putting strategies in place to ensure your strategic efforts continue to drive revenue all year. We identified the four most common mistakes made by sales leaders during sales kickoff season, which we've learned from years of helping hundreds of sales organizations plan transformative events that move the needle on revenue.

Don't let your SKO efforts fall flat. Download our Guide to Sales Kickoffs to learn the mistakes you may be making plus specific strategies and action items to ensure success.

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