Will there be a recession this year? It seems economists can’t even agree. Yet, regardless of how likely it is, the simple fact that it’s possible is brewing uncertainty. So, what’s a seller to do?

On the latest episode of the Winning the Challenger Sale podcast, host Andee Harris, CEO of Challenger, is joined by Tim Kocher, Director of Business Development at West Monroe, to discuss how to drive sales growth and capture market share in the face of economic uncertainty.

Listen as we discuss: 

  • Why sales and commercials leaders should play offense amidst economic uncertainty
  • Tips to differentiate post-pandemic
  • High-performing seller behaviors that are effective in a downturn

Listen to “#60 Playing Offense in Economic Uncertainty and How to Sell Post-Pandemic” on Spreaker.

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Sales leaders play offense to win in a recession

The current looming recession isn’t Tim’s first rodeo. He’s navigated and led sales teams through four recessionary periods throughout his 30 years in the industry.

And while many companies are slashing budgets, Tim says that now is the time to invest. Those willing to take calculated risks will prevail when the economy kicks back into gear.

“If you invest, that’s when you gain market share,” he says. “You can actually grow revenue—or relationships that lead to revenue—in difficult times.”

There’s life on the other side of recessions. So, rather than buckling down and looking only at the short-term, take the offensive and think forward. What are you doing now that will give you an advantage later?

Simple, yet unexpected, ways to differentiate post-pandemic

You might be surprised to hear about Andee and Tim’s ideas on how to differentiate during a buying process:

Show up

It’s time to get back to the basics. Showing up and spending face-to-face time getting to know your customers, their businesses, and their goals is how you differentiate from the competition.

“Our competitors are now walking the halls of our customers talking to them,” Tim warns. “If you are not building rapport and credibility with your customers right now, someone else is. Inaction comes at a cost.”

While Zoom is great at connecting when you can’t be together physically, in-person interactions lead to much higher-quality conversations where you can glean better, more accurate insight into your customers.

Leverage dissatisfaction 

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the current satisfaction level is at its lowest point in 17 years.

The backdrop of dissatisfaction provides you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Make sure you’re attracting the right talent, serving your customers in unexpected ways, and going the extra mile to make a difference.

Behaviors that high-performing sellers are using to navigate a downturn

The pandemic made many sales teams comfortable in remote settings—we all got used to working in our pajamas.

But Tim shares a hard truth: Sellers can’t be as successful solely relying on technology and virtual selling.

Remote and flex work has opened up new opportunities and connected people across the globe, but selling takes more than a good tech stack. Tech should be used to augment and complement the sales process; it will never be enough without the right skills, the right message, and a relentless focus on your ICP and best-fit deals.

“You need to bring value and be a collaborative partner to your client regardless of what’s in the [tech] toolbox,” Tim says.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Winning New Business in a Sideways Economy

He also offers two main areas he’s promoting with his team:

Focus on account-based growth

It’s vital to be bold enough to challenge your existing customers, especially in difficult economic times.

“We prove ourselves into long-term relationships,” Tim says. “We earn the right to the next initiative because the last one was so successful.”

Focus on customer improvement—providing a unique perspective and offering a vision for improving their business—over above-and-beyond customer service or a “customer is always right” mentality.

Prioritize deals with a Mobilizer

Sales can be difficult when you’re not connected to the right people. You can have an engaging conversation with the same customer for weeks, but unless that person has the power and ability to make a change, efforts will be fruitless. (We call those people “Talkers.”)What you’re looking for is a Mobilizer—someone with the authority to make a change or advocate for the change you’re offering. These are the people you can work with for mutual growth.

Want to learn more about how to sell during uncertain economic times? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Tim reveals more about leveraging your strengths, collaborating internally and externally, and what’s to come in the sales universe over the next five years.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).