Managing sales teams in uncertain times

COVID-19: Respond, Recover, and Thrive

Companies across industries are feeling the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 and measures taken to slow its spread. While no one knows exactly how the crisis will unfold, sales leaders are already facing difficult decisions as organisations’ revenues are disrupted and ways of working are fundamentally changed.

In past crises, sales organisations have often been vulnerable targets for indiscriminate cost-cutting, both in terms of headcount and pay. While there may be room for adjustments, the net effect of such action has often been a loss of earning power after a crisis and failure to capitalise on opportunities during one. We believe that sales leaders and their colleagues need to take a more holistic approach to managing the sales organisation throughout the crisis.

While the situation is fluid and we are continuously monitoring the environment, we recommend these three phases of action to help sales leaders and their organisations address the likely impact of COVID-19:

3 phases of action to help for sales leaders and their organisations to address the impact of COVID-19

1. Respond

Show your teams, clients, and partners you are behind them. Take visible, concrete steps to show support. Work with fellow executives to define near-term contingency plans to prevent overreaction and position the team to capture emerging opportunities.

2. Recover

As the implications of the crisis solidify, assess shifting buyer preferences. Identify opportunities to realign the organisation’s value proposition and selling strategies to new priority buyers and reallocate resources to capture them.

3. Thrive

Predicting the attributes of the post COVID-19 environment is challenging. One thing is clear—how people interact, engage, communicate, collaborate, sell, and buy will look different. Sales leaders will reimagine traditional processes and methods to meet the needs of this new environment.

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