Sales Management

A CSO’s Guide to Quarter Closing in Difficult Times

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June 14, 2023

3 mins read

CSO Guide Blog to sales success

A CSO’s Guide to Quarter Closing in Difficult Times

For many, the end of Q2 isn’t looking too optimistic in the quota arena. All signs are pointing to more slowness on the horizon, and a recession is looming if not already here. Doing more with less isn’t just the phrase of the day –– it’s most likely going to be the mantra for the year.  

You are probably already seeing all of the signs: 

  • Pipeline shortages
  • Slowing growth
  • Delayed decision-making
  • Extending sales cycles
  • Churning customers 
  • Difficulty forecasting.

In times like today, I love to summon the old adage that “tough times don’t last; however, tough people do.”  

In a world of constant change and uncertainty, the ability to pivot and adapt quickly is the key to sales success. There is no question about it: sales teams must be  flexible and embrace change to be able to grow in tough times. To survive, you must embrace persistence, creativity, and adaptability. 

Top 5 Actionable Strategies for Challenging Times

To help illustrate how to do this with concrete actions, below I have outlined the top 5 sales success strategies I believe sales teams need to focus on in today’s challenging economy.

  1. Expand relationships. Now more than ever it is crucial to sell wide within an organization. Build relationships beyond your current buyers and establish strong relationships with all members of your buying groups. In uncertain times buyers will turn over, and it is essential that you expand your use cases, develop new champions, and build some fault tolerance.
  2. Become a learning organization. Learning organizations refine, adapt, and change based on feedback or new information. The teams experiencing the most sales success that I have seen are learning machines, constantly improving themselves to deliver better results. Take time as a team and individually to discuss what worked and what didn’t, and remember that this is a time to be honest, transparent, and critical. Use this feedback to adapt the strategy based on what is working and what is not. This is important in good times, and especially in times like today.
  3. Stay close to your customers. Invest the time to know your customers’ businesses, their challenges, and how you can help them. Reach out to them early and often, and try to learn how their business is being impacted. Don’t be afraid to ask the simple question, “How can we support you during this time?”  Not only is this approach great for showing partnership and support, but it will also give you better insight into how your company can best support them.
  4. Focus on value. Right now, businesses are being extra cautious around spending due to uncertainty. It is imperative that your sales team can clearly articulate the level of impact and value that your solution provides. Your sales team needs to be armed now more than ever before with collateral and training that supports this effort. Invest in ROI calculators and customer stories that highlight cost justification and how your product makes your clients more effective. You need to arm your teams with the right talk track for the times.
  5. Employ data-driven decision-making for prospecting. We all need to be driving towards greater efficiency with our limited resources and over-taxed teams. That’s why being data-driven and using every indicator revenue teams have at their disposal is critical to ensuring that your sales team is as productive as possible. Matching the right message, to the right buyer, at the right time needs to be on everyone’s mind.  

With global and local factors at play, the next few months will be critical to building and strengthening teams that can find sales success and sail through headwinds, like the current downturn we’re facing. I believe the strategies outlined above are necessary year-round, but especially during lulls and slow quarters like the one we’re living through now.  

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John Eitel

Chief Sales Officer, Demandbase

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