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Building a Sustainable Sales Model in the Haunting Shadows of Economic Uncertainty

Oct 31, 2023
3 min read
The turbulent economic climate we live in today has necessitated a fundamental shift in how businesses approach sales, as it has made it increasingly difficult to sustain growth. Organizations operating on narrow margins find themselves facing a multitude of sales challenges. A sustainable sales model is no longer a luxury, but a requirement for survival. It's not enough to chase growth at all costs, especially when the signs of an impending recession loom.

In this blog post, I’ll look back at the challenges my team and I have faced over the past year, our learnings, and strategies to create a sustainable sales model that’s needed during economic uncertainty.

Current Sales Challenges

The "growth-at-all-cost" mindset, which often involves heavy spending and hyper expansion, can be perilous during economic uncertainties. It leaves companies vulnerable, with little room to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. Recessions and economic downturns can expose these inefficiencies. 

Changes to our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). We are finding more and more that we can no longer rely on just our historical “bread and butter” accounts. We are pivoting to “value-based” organizations that have been focused on EBITDA and profit margins rather than growth alone. 

Now that the cost of capital is higher than in years past, tech companies are finding the best way to impact their bottom line (EBITDA) is to cut costs. As a result, our bread and butter are spending less money than in years past. Even deals that do get done are running into much more scrutiny. CFOs are requiring more in-depth business cases than ever before. My team has to spend much more time and energy selling than we ever had to previously.

Overcoming Current Sales Challenges

So what do we do? How do we change the sales motion?

Rework territories

One strategy for building a sustainable sales model is to rework territories. By optimizing sales efforts and maximizing results in well-defined areas, organizations can operate more efficiently. For example, a company could focus on underserved regions or reallocate resources from underperforming territories to high-potential ones.

Redefine the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Another strategy is defining a clear ICP. Focusing sales efforts on the most promising leads not only increases conversion rates, but also improves overall sales efficiency.

When businesses define their ICP with precision, they can target their marketing and sales campaigns more successfully, reaching potential customers who are more likely to convert into paying clients. Has your ICP changed as much as ours has? If so, how?

Expand into different verticals

It was essential for us to recognize that opportunities for growth existed outside the tech sector. Exploring other industries that are thriving can be a game-changer. By identifying new target prospects and expanding into these verticals, companies can diversify their revenue streams and reduce dependency on a single sector.

Make the Go-To-Market (GTM) motion more effective

Effective GTM strategies are crucial for reaching target prospects. Aligning sales and marketing efforts creates a cohesive approach, ensuring that both teams work in harmony to engage potential customers.

When sales and marketing are on the same page, customer messaging is consistent and the overall customer experience improves. This alignment also streamlines lead generation and nurturing, resulting in a higher likelihood of successful conversions.

Taking Immediate Action: Getting Ahead of Q1

The urgency of taking action now cannot be overstated. Instead of waiting for next year, businesses must implement changes now to gain a competitive edge in the coming quarters. Procrastination can be costly, especially in a volatile economy.

Companies that act swiftly have the opportunity to outmaneuver their competitors, secure new customers, and adapt to changing market conditions more effectively. This proactive approach can lead to a more robust bottom line and a better position in the market.

The Consequences of Inaction

Waiting on addressing these sales challenges can have severe consequences for business performance. Inaction carries the risk of falling behind competitors, missing out on opportunities, and experiencing financial difficulties—especially during economic downturns.

The Need for a Sustainable Sales Model in the Current Economy

In the face of economic uncertainty, building a sustainable sales model should be a top priority for every organization. It's not just about growth at any cost; it's about smart growth that ensures longevity and resilience. By reworking territories, defining a clear ICP, exploring new industries, and aligning sales and marketing efforts, businesses can navigate the challenging economic landscape and thrive. Immediate action is key to gaining a competitive edge and avoiding the negative consequences of inaction. 

It's time for sales leaders to prioritize implementing positive changes in their organizations to secure a brighter future.

Griffin Coyle
Griffin Coyle
Senior Sales Director

Griffin is a passionate sales leader with over 15 years of experience building sales teams, accelerating growth, and delivering value across the tech sector.