COVID-19 has caused economic effects across all industries and countries, sales forecasts are down but more than that, there is an element of entering the unknown. Some companies are comfortable to take a wait-and-see approach whereas others are feeling mounting pressure to cut costs. But where? How do you maintain your budget and deploy your resources optimally?
Focus on learnings and listen to your market
To maintain an up to date sense of market conditions CSO’s need to gain an objective perspective through sales analytics. During these unique market conditions each customer segment is responding slightly differently, and adaptations need to be made. Some industries are seeing a decrease in demand whereas others are finding new strengths. Considering a bottom-up approach may help to get a clearer forecast.
What will recovery look like?
A theory on recovery and the development plans to gain momentum must be developed. Jake Soffer, Founder of Rollio states, “ Budget management, especially during a pandemic, is a moving target: throw the ball where the target is headed, not where it's standing at this moment. Yes, we need to survive through this tough times, but assuming you do, you don't want to play major catch up. Long story short, even if you don't have budget right now, don't stop evaluating game changing solutions and new strategies to cut FUTURE costs, so you can hit the ground running when budget is sufficient again.”
While these seem obvious, they are critical in evaluating reductions in the sales team. Communication needs to be opened up between the teams in sales operations and sales enablement to assess the lead time to rebuild the sales force. For example, it can take up to two months to hire a new team member and another 6 months to train and get them ready to sell. Being left behind as competitors gain momentum may be a hard blow to absorb.
Cost optimization and reorganise resources
This pandemic has challenged nearly all sales organizations regardless of how efficient and effective they were. According to Gartner, CSO’s that leverage a multifaceted strategy to cost optimization reduce the chances of more dramatic and disruptive cost-cutting methods that jeopardize continued success.
CSO’s will need to work closely with their CFO’s to ensure that current savings minimally impact on tomorrow’s growth. The sales function must not recover slower than the economy or the direct competitors, if this happens, they run the risk of losing market share.
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