Times are hard but they will get better, which is why now, more than ever you need a sales team of Challengers.
Selling during a down turn isn't impossible, I also highly advise to continue doing it. However, it does take a shift in method and mentality if you plan on coming out of this with minimal loss and deals that are queued up and ready to close when it's all over.
Who's on your sales team?
Think of it like a sports team. Any professional team has players that can play every position. But, in order to get the best output, each player is optimized to play the position they excel at the most. On a sales team you have 4 types of sellers:
The Hard Worker
The Relationship Builder
The Lone Wolf
The Reactive Problem Solver
Typical sales organizations have a combination of the above. High performing sales organizations usually have Hard Workers, Challengers and Lone Wolves as their Account Executives, and Relationship Builders and Reactive Problem Solves usually falling into better suited roles as Account Managers.
Why your starters all need to become Challengers.
In an analysis done by the best selling book The Challenger Sale, participating companies ranked sales reps based on performance, then determined what seller profile each one fell into. What the study showed was fascinating. The bottom 80% of sellers were distributed among all 5 seller types, indicating that mediocrity comes in multiple flavours. But when looking at the distribution of star performers across the same five profiles 40% of all high performers in the study were Challengers.
In a down turned economy, one thing is for certain; purse strings get tighter. This means that no amount of Hard Work (followups, emails, calls, activity) or Lone Wolf Hail Mary's (one- track plans, favours from friends) will change how prospects behave given that the world is (in this case) quarantined around them. In this climate, a Challenger, someone that can teach, tailor and take control, is the only type of seller that has the toolkit to continue closing deals.