The National Post, Profit Magazine and Canadian Business Magazine have all reported that companies who continued to invest in sales and marketing during a recession acquired more customers and emerged in a stronger position than companies who decreased their marketing efforts. Let’s face it you can’t cost cut your way to prosperity.
We all know there is a need to cut expenses in order to weather this economic storm. Sure you can stop the business lunches with little impact or try using recycled ink and toner as another method. However, there are areas where you need to show momentum and leadership if you want your company to survive and prosper.
“Going dark” is the term generally used for companies who stop spending on sales, marketing and advertising, but the same phrase can be applied to the communication you are delivering to your employees through both word and action. Your employees are most often the front line between your company and your customers. Are you delivering a positive message to your people that you are a strong, or are you sending the message they may not have their jobs for long at the rate you are going? If your employees think the company is in trouble and you don’t show the strong leadership required to change this mindset, then you are in trouble.
We keep hearing the mantra to cut expenses. What’s left to cut? The new battle cry from companies who are going to survive will be “make sales”. People and companies are still buying but the question now becomes; “if not from you then from whom?” If you do not continue to drive sales and market your products or services, your competitors will take advantage of any mistakes you make and attack your customer base.
Now is the ideal time to look at how technology can be employed to reduce your costs and improve your revenues. For example, don’t fly your sales people to training sessions or sales meetings, invest in on line systems, webinars and conference calls. You can often accomplish more in a few hours of well focus training than taking your people out of the field for a few days at a very high cost and lost selling time.
An economic downturn often breeds innovation, and creates ways for companies with strong leadership to do more with less. Everyone at your company should be focused on doing everything possible to find new customers, new products and new opportunities. Every employee in your company is a potential sales person not an expense. To paraphrase Charles Darwin, it’s not the strongest nor the most intelligent that survives, it’s the one most adaptable to change.
Robert J. Weese, B2B Sales Connections