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Navigating the current economic climate in Australia can be difficult and predicting the next normal and how buyer engagement and customer loyalty will change brings additional pressure to leadership teams.

The one known fact is that Australia’s sales and marketing priorities and processes will not return to 2019, thinking and delivery.

I have watched how companies respond through three significant downturn disruptions, and those companies that are resilient and capable of achieving growth in hard times take steps that many other companies do not do. The successful companies go the extra mile in keeping control of their sales revenue and drive growth, embracing opportunities, and maximising potential income and profit. They operate through a regimented set of processes that position themselves perfectly to be agile, responsive, and succeed.

In the past decade, many companies operated in a relatively unchallenged sales model. The changes made in response to the previous recessions have slowly crept back in. The increased cost of sales, lower productivity, less emphasis on processes, and a lack of new business being accepted. There is an extraordinary number of salespeople that have never experienced selling new business, let alone cross-selling across major corporations. Companies are not geared for new business, they are not culturally ready for the disciplines that will deliver growth, and importantly the ones that will suffer the most are those that are not disciplined from the top down.

To face the new market and bring your sales and marketing forward requires a turnaround in core disciplines. The timing is critical, and the depth of thoroughness is defining the success of your action.

  1. Review with Lean as a Priority

Sales and marketing must be analysed for excess direct costs and, most importantly, decaying indirect costs. Lean is also about productivity and resource utilisation and applying the right metrics to the analysis. Companies can be faced with making hard decisions on institutionalised thinking and having solid facts and analysis to validate those decisions.

With unprecedented experience in reviewing sales and marketing organisations we can provide you with the answers and actions that need to be taken through the lens of independent thinking and benchmarking. This is a critical step toward finding the next normal.

Our article Lean Sales Organisations from the last recession has become even more relevant today.

Check out our sales improvement services to get your company focused on the right priorities and actions.

  1. Accelerate decision-making and drive rapid execution.

Time is not a company’s friend in these changing times. It’s about making the right decisions and driving forward and having facts to support the decisions and the proper measures in place to monitor and adjust contributing elements to bring your sales and marketing forward. Those that are slow to make decisions or even worse, indecisive, and changing strategies continually will pay a hefty penalty.

  1. Measure efficiencies, performance, and respond rapidly.

Measurement supports you keeping your finger on the pulse of the market and making minor adjustments continually to stay with and ahead of the market.

People look for significant changes to adapt to, often following what competitors are doing, unaware of how much, or little,  research or truth there is behind the moves. Companies that will excel are those that measure deeply into the sales and marketing business and its performance. They look for subtle changes and respond quickly. They look for ways to make changes that will close the door on competitors eroding your customer base. The signals are there to read market and demand shifts if you have the right tools in place.

4. Leadership with a purpose for the next normal

Sales transformations bring about purpose, understanding, and intent. People are more open to transformations in these changing times as they look for their leadership to guide them into a better place. A well planned and executed transformation executed rapidly will put the business in a stronger position.

Having delivered numerous 90-120-day turnarounds, the process excels in structure, timing, and foreseeing issues before they arise. With the right understanding of outcomes, the journey, and the accountabilities and requirements, these are the catalyst that can prepare companies for the next normal. They can create much-needed agility and cultural thinking to carry forward into the future.

Check out our services on sales transformations

5. Relearn about your customers

Customers will be changing their buyer behaviour, and they need you to be more attentive, more synchronised with their needs, and capable of making adjustments to meet their ever-changing internal environment.

Face-to-face meetings will be limited, if not eliminated, by some customers depending on their working environment and location of employees. Their servicing requirements, buying process may be radically changing, and it’s time to ensure no gaps appear that allow competitors to penetrate what were once solid accounts. There will be skills learned through the crisis that will become part of the new normal, and you need to be close to customers to understand and adapt.

The lessons learned in past downturns are that customers are easily lost as competitors uncover the disconnect between incumbent suppliers and customers.

Plan for the new normal

Those that will recover and create a sustainable business are those that commence the five recovery steps early and are well prepared for the new normal. Those that take each of the steps, in sequence, and manage effective spending in marketing and sales. There will be those that cut costs in the short term but their recovery will be hindered as they pull out the old playbook and attempt to force it to work in the new normal.

Rethinking how you operate sales and marketing and utilising fact-based decision-making monitoring the market and customers is imperative.

If you would like to discuss your specific situation and how you can shift your company to preparedness for the next normal, please reach out for a discussion or video conference with Adele Crane.

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