Prepare for Economic Change: Use Your SKO to Invest in Your Salespeople
Categories: Sales Leadership | Sales Kickoff | Economic Change
Your sales kickoff is a crucial tool for maximizing your sales team's potential. As the economy shifts, leaders are looking to increase efficiency in critical areas to hit their revenue goals.
Assess your team's current skills, tools and knowledge. Are they equipped to be relevant to changing buyer needs or qualify and progress opportunities efficiently? Without effective coaching and support, salespeople may struggle to compete or resort to heavy discounting, leading to weakened revenue streams and lowered morale.
As a sales leader, it’s critical to acknowledge the current economic state, align your organization on key objectives and provide managers and sales reps with a framework for success. As you define the go-to-market strategy for the upcoming year, here are three ways to use your SKO to invest in your salespeople’s (and your company’s) success.
1. Launch and Train on New Buyer-Focused Messaging
Facing economic headwinds, buyers may be dealing with new priorities and increased budget scrutiny. As a sales leader, how you help your sales team address these shifting buyer needs will be crucial to their ability to win high-value opportunities as the market continues to evolve. Use your SKO to train your sales team on a buyer-focused message that will enable them to cut through the noise and be relevant to evolving buyer priorities.
Assess how this economic environment impacts your buying community. Encourage your sales team to check in with existing customers. Elite sellers will use this time to continue to maintain strong relationships with critical customer accounts by understanding how their customer’s needs are evolving and providing support to weather the challenges. These conversations will give your account teams insight on what’s most important to your buying audience right now. Those actions can help prevent churn and showcase some bright spots in your organization right away.
However, to drive organizational impact, you need to find ways to bring your entire team up to speed on new buyer needs. Now may be the time to strategically reframe your sales message for what’s happening in the market. Define new or elevated value drivers in the context of your buyer’s current economic environment. Use your SKO to train sellers on uncovering and speaking to those specific buyer pains. Understand how leaders are planning to use their SKO to launch an evolved, buyer-focused sales message by listening to this conversation.
2. Launch and Train on a Robust Qualification Process
In a challenging market, reps don’t have time to waste on unqualified deals. Qualification is often the first place sales leaders look to increase efficiency and adjust course before business predictability takes a hit. A well-defined and custom sales qualification process is often the missing link for sales organizations facing these challenges:
- Losses due to indecision or “do nothing” decisions
- Time lost stuck in the wrong deals instead of building pipeline
- Inability to accurately predict revenue
- Lowered margins due to discounting
- Sales cycles and negotiations drawing out too long
These challenges are common in sales organizations, regardless of external challenges. Provide your reps with a process that focuses their energy on deals that will bring in revenue. Implementing a customized sales qualification process will enable reps to pursue deals with the highest propensity to close at a high value. Your SKO is the ideal time to align your sales organization behind a qualification process that is customized to the way your buyers want to purchase solutions.
If the challenges listed above are becoming more apparent across your sales organization, then improving your qualification process may be your best opportunity to invest in your salespeople's success. Here’s a resource that digs deeper on how to get started.
3. Launch and Train on a Value-Based Negotiation Process
Use your SKO to operationalize a value-based negotiation process. Consider an approach that will enable your sales team to combat buyer uncertainty that may arise due to the economic landscape.
When sales teams are able to instill value in their opportunities early and often, they preserve margins — even during times of economic stress. Sellers who leave negotiation to the procurement stages are giving more control to the buyer and may end up discounting to save the deal. Empower reps to protect their time and maximize deal size by providing a framework for frequent value negotiation across all deals. Use your SKO to launch a value-based negotiation process that helps you reps negotiate on value as the deal progresses. With the right approach, your salespeople will be able to pull business value into the final sale and close at a premium. This webinar conversation covers what to consider as you build out an effective negotiation approach to launch at your SKO.
Invest in Success for Your Next SKO and the Year Ahead
In a shifting economy, use your SKO as an opportunity to invest in improving critical sales skills and competencies. Stay in constant communication with your sales team and continue to reinforce these concepts in the year ahead.
Define a plan to invest in your sales talent using the strategies elite sales leaders are already focusing on. In this recent webinar, Force Management Managing Director, Brian Walsh shares the top 5 priorities sales leaders are using to maximize ROI from their sales kickoff and ensure revenue in the upcoming year.