Podcast: Sales as a key factor during a crisis

In my last blog post, I commented that the current political and economic constraints and conditions suggest that we are facing a veritable economic crisis. At the same time, I argued that sales plays a key role in the crisis, just as I named the relevant success factors.

  • Sales staff
  • Customer
  • Products
  • processes
  • interfaces
  • Corporate language
  • Rules

Before I’ll deal with these key success factors in other blog posts, I’d like to share with you my underlying logic. Simple in its basic structure, this logic is nonetheless effective, since it focuses in its innermost on the customer, his business interests and the relationship with the customer. Let us therefore place the customer problem at the center of our consideration. The basic assumption behind it: when we are in crisis, it´s the same way for our customer. He’s probably going to behave much the same way as we do and might think about cost-cutting programs.

So, assuming that the customer is like we are in a phase of corporate crisis during a general economic crisis and, furthermore, assuming that we need to assist the customer in his crisis, it becomes immediately clear what we have to think and talk about when planning our sales activities.  So, the key questions are not about which of our products will be particularly stable during the crisis or which of our products we will use to make good money during the crisis. The central questions are formulated in an upside down logic.

Examples

  • Which of the customer products are vulnerable during the crisis?
  • Which products are the cash cows of our customer?
  • What are the rising stars of the customer in the crisis?
  • For which products should the customer have the highest price stability during the crisis?
  • Which products are likely to see the biggest drop in prices?

In reverse, that means for us that we do not have to ask ourselves how we can market our products in the crisis sufficiently well or even better. It requires a reverse engineering way thinking which ends up in an upside-down logic.

Examples

  • Which of our products support our customers’ products particularly well?
  • Which of our products will most likely suffer from the collapse of customer products?
  • What products do we need to develop being able to provide the customer with the products he needs most for the crisis?
  • What are the core processes of our customer, which we can support particularly well with our products?

In summary, therefore, we are faced with the challenge of carrying customers through the crisis. If the customer survives, we survive.

We should help customers continue to earn their income through the crisis with and through us. It is precisely this reverse logic that will let the customer understand that he has a partner in crisis within us. It will be no surprise then that we will not be exchanged for a competitor during the crisis.

I have prepared a structured little tool for this area, which can assist you in analyzing your situation. Talk to me and I like to share this tool with you.

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Greta Andreas

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