Crisis Management in Sales – How to Act Before, During and After a Crisis
Crisis Management is tough, especially when you are leading a sales team.
Apart from the dwindling sales and broken deals, you also get to see the disappointed faces of your team members. There are so many changes and shifts, that you are left confused.
But here’s a thing, if you have an effective crisis ṣmanagement plan in place, you will glide through it easily. Yet, even though 79% of business decision-makers believe a crisis is impending within the next 12 months, only 54% of companies are ready for it.
Crisis, if not dealt with wisely can not only taper your sales but also crumble the entire organization down to the ground. I am sure, you don’t want to be one of them.
So, let’s dive deeper into it and understand the action steps that you must take before, during, and after the crisis crashes at your door.
What are some common kinds of crisis a business might face?
1. Global crisis or a Pandemic
After the recent hit of Covid-19, this point doesn’t require an explanation. We have all experienced how a global crisis or a pandemic can cause a nation-wide shutdown and hamper your sales, budgets, management, everything, and leave you in a pool of mess.
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2. A key member of the team suddenly leaves
If the key support of one of your teams’ leaves, your operations are blond to stumble. And if you have any of the teams missing, well, you are in a state of emergency. Most companies ardently look after the professional benefits of their key members, but an exit can happen due to personal reasons as well.
3. Failure in accomplishing the set targets
Not reaching your sales quota for consecutive months in a row can be a cause of worry, as it affects your revenue and raises questions on your team. This means that in addition to the challenges of sales, your team has to deal with the anxiety that comes along with the trouble.
4. Reduced or Slashed Budgets
Budget cuts don’t just reduce your funding; they also hit your confidence to survive. If you were capitalizing on a huge budget, around which you had a strategy planned, and it suddenly gets reduced or slashed, you’re in obvious trouble. You still need to produce the same results, but now get creative with the limited resources.
5. High-Value Client(s) churns
If you have VIP clients who drive a massive portion of your revenue, you might want to be very particular with the services provided to them. If they are not served right, an immediate exit from their side can cause a huge gap in your revenue, forcing your sales teams to work harder and hence pushing you into a commotion.
6. Serious Misconduct and disorganization
Misconduct is very common in workplaces – your employees could be involved in illegal activities, or maybe they’re rival spies. Don’t be paranoid but keep a check on them from time to time. Disorganization can involve anything from poor coordination to inefficient resource utilization or even breakdown of the hierarchy. If not dealt with early in the stage, it might cause a serious crisis.
What should you do before the crisis?
1. Discuss the situation with your team
In the cases where you can see the crisis coming, don’t take the pressure all on yourself. Share the important details with your team and trust them with it. This is the time when you can identify them as your assets. 93% of companies who self-identify as “in a better place” confirm that they acted as a team in response to the crisis.
Discuss the intensity of the crisis, how the job roles of your teammates will change, and prepare them for what is coming to the firm; because a team that sweats together, sticks together.
2. Ask for ideas and active participation
When you are expecting a crisis, the best way to find a solution is to seek ideas. Ask your team to take initiative and come up with their version of solutions. Each of them will have a different approach to the crisis which might just be your light through the tunnel.
Encourage your team to actively participate in the brainstorming, after which you can come up with a master plan to deal with the crisis. The more they are invested, the more they will feel equally responsible and confident about the situation.
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What should you do during the crisis?
1. Keep a check on your team and empathize with them
Handling a crisis can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting. On top of that, if you insanely start giving orders, it will not only put them into a state of depression but also hamper your recovery.
It is hence advisable to check on your team from time-to-time, not just as professionals, but human beings as well. Listen to their doubts, acknowledge their insecurities, and motivate them to give their best!
2. Know that everything is not under your control
A crisis often makes you feel restless and helpless. When you look at how the difficulty unfolds, you will realize that it is a combination of two kinds of factors – ones that are in your hand and others which are not.
If you go about putting your resources in trying to improve what is not under your control, you might just make it worse. Identify the factors that you can control and focus on them. The sooner you accept that not everything can be controlled, the better you will be ready to fight the tough time.
3. Seek accurate information and data
The power of right data and information in times of crisis is very often undermined. However, it still remains one of the most powerful tools to get back to on the charts.
Since all your decisions are backed on data, right sources will help you bank on it. On the contrary, wrong sources can burn you to ashes. So, make sure that you have credible and trusted tools in place to pass on the right information.
Information is a two-way street; keep an eye on the media and press to ensure that they’re not spreading any misinformation about your firm – 65% of respondents feel that social media worsens the crisis, yet 55% say it helps the recovery as well.
What should you do after the crisis?
1. Recap what has happened and create a report
After the catastrophe has passed, take a breath and acknowledge what just happened. There can be permanent unpleasant changes in your organization like budget cuts, employee layoffs or even shifts in power. But now that you have survived through it, give yourself time to get back up.
Take time to address the events, answer the questions your team might have and appreciate them for sticking through the storm. File a report with even the minute details, so that the next time you’re in a tough spot, you can capitalize on your experience.
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2. Set new goals and targets
Crisis, once passed, is bound to leave you shaken, and it is going to take a while before your team and business can come back to normal. 48% of Board members think that a crisis is most likely to affect morale. The goals you had before the crisis will no longer be supported because of the changes you just underwent.
Motivate your team, celebrate small-wins, and discuss their upcoming tasks. Revisit your takeaways from the crisis and use it to modify and set new goals and targets for your team.
A crisis is tough to handle. They are a rollercoaster ride – emotionally, mentally, and physically, which is why you will always find your team in a dull spree to somehow manage everything. It ultimately boils down to your efficient management of the things that you can handle and let go of those you cannot.
When you keep your communication genuine and intact during the recovery process, you come out stronger and closer as a team.
Learn from your experiences and you will be good to get back on track. But if you think, you just cannot stay afloat, don’t hesitate to reach out to expert B2B sales and marketing consulting firms – professional help along with experience in crisis management can help you sail in the difficult times.
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