Managing a team during a recession can be extremely difficult. Emotions are running high, sources of stress are everywhere, and with a limited budget, it can be hard to keep teams motivated.
However, when an economic downturn hits, few things are more important than your sales team. After all, it’s your talented sales reps that will turn prospects into leads, and leads into lifelong sources of loyalty and profit. Failure to manage and lead your sales team effectively could mean you not only lose your top talent, but your consumers too.
So, what can leaders do to ensure their teams stay happy, productive, and motivated?
Here are our top tips for success.
The first step in knowing how to manage your team during a recession is understanding how a recession affects your employees. It’s easy to take a narrow view when dealing with an economic downturn, focusing solely on your bottom line and revenue.
However, its this kind of thinking that frequently prompts sales managers to overwhelm their highest-performing teams with unrealistic demands and expectations. Unless you see your team members as the human beings they are, you put your company at risk of dealing with burnout, increased turnover, and an expensive recruiting process.
The main thing to remember is that during a recession, your employees aren’t just worried about reaching their quotas or impressing their boss. They’re concerned about their job security. No-one wants to be left jobless at a time when layoffs are increasing, alongside the cost of living.
Leaders who recognize this concern, empathize with their employees, and strive to deliver peace of mind will end up with more loyal, productive, and happy teams.
Contrary to popular belief, managing a team during a recession doesn’t mean doubling down on demands and asking for more than your employees can deliver. Even if your bottom line is struggling, it’s important to remember the best mentors and leaders are also the most empathetic.
Employee wellbeing and business success go hand-in-hand. When your team members thrive, your business thrives too. Happy employees take fewer sick days, are more productive, and have lower rates of turnover and burnout. With all that in mind, think about how you can support your teams physically, and emotionally during a difficult time.
Talk to your employees about their needs. Consider offering them more flexible work opportunities if they’re struggling with long hours at the office, and make sure you’re not overloading them with too much work. A flexible approach could even help you to save money during a recession, by reducing your overheads for office space and utilities.
Achieving success in sales is about more than just ensuring your employees can hit quotas. In a difficult economic climate, you might be tempted to push your team members to spend more time on lead acquisition and generation. However, instead, it might be worth focusing on building relationships with your existing customers.
During a recession, it’s going to be much harder for your reps to close new deals. However, their chances of converting an existing customer, or upselling to that same client is much higher. Encourage your employees to double-down on relationship building. Look for ways to create long-term relationships with your clients, and deliver more value based on their needs.
Remember, increasing your retention rates by just 5% can boost your profits by up to 95%.
When budgets are low, it’s easy to put training and coaching on the back burner. However, training your teams is still essential to ensuring they can deliver their best work. Not only will a good training and development strategy help you attract job seekers in the future, but it will also make your existing team members more efficient and productive.
Look for new ways to engage your teams in training sessions, with strategies like gamification. Focus on building the skills that will benefit your employees during the current economic downturn. For instance, teach them how to build rapport, and connect with prospects on new channels. Remember, training doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even create a collaborative learning environment, using mentors within the workforce to train new team members.
Clear expectations and goals are crucial to driving revenue in any sales environment. Your employees need to know how they can succeed in their roles, what impact their work has on your business, and how their performance is going to be evaluated.
Just remember, it’s not enough to simply tell people what you want them to do. You also need to show them that they can achieve those goals. Motivate your employees, and remind them of their strengths. Provide them with advice and guidance when they need it. Model the behaviors you want your team members to display. Most importantly, be realistic. Set expectations that make sense.
If you want your top talent to thrive during a recession, you need to ensure they have as much support as possible. This means not just providing them with the right training and guidance, but also giving them access to tools that can help them thrive. Solutions that allow your team members to automate certain tasks, like dialing numbers or creating emails can save them a lot of time.
The less time your employees are spending on repetitive tasks, the more time they’ll have to focus on things that actually bring value to your business. If you’re not sure what kind of automation technology will be most beneficial to your employees – ask them!
In any sales environment, consistent and transparent communication is crucial. However, if you want to master sales during a recession, you need to double down on communication. Being transparent about the challenges and opportunities your business is encountering will help to create trust among your team members, and reduce their stress levels.
Additionally, committing to two-way communication and collecting feedback from your staff will help you to adapt quickly to the changing market. Encourage your employees to share their insights for how you might be able to increase your revenue potential. Ask them to clearly describe any issues or concerns they might be facing.
Just as managing a team during a recession can be difficult, hiring new employees for your workforce can become a challenge too. We’re living in a time of hiring freezes and talent shortages, making it more difficult than ever to build the right recruitment strategy.
Here are some quick tips to help improve your hiring process:
When a recession looms, every member of the sales team is affected. Relying on layoffs and hiring cuts to save your bottom line is rarely the best idea. Instead, business leaders should be investing in their sales teams, and ensuring they have what it takes to amp up performance.
If you commit to properly managing and growing your sales team during a recession, you can not only survive an economic downturn, but you can also begin to thrive.
Learn more about managing your sales team, training employees, and boosting engagement, by joining Hypcccycl today.