Look, selling in a recession is tough. Every salesperson in the world is looking at their quota and trying to figure out how they’re going to hit their numbers when companies are tightening their budgets. Lucky for you, Keenan put out a new eBook last week to guide you through the steps you need to take to sell in this environment.
Shrink your ICP
First things first, take a look at your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). It’s likely that it’s a pretty wide range of organizations. This is fine during an economic surge. It gives your outbound team a long list of companies to prospect. The problem with keeping your ICP wide reaching during a recession is that a lot of these companies you would normally target are cutting budgets and running on low margins. They don’t have the cash flow to spend on solutions that aren’t super relevant to them.
You need to highlight the ICP that is most likely to struggle with the problems you solve. Take a deep look at your ICP and your PIC and consider honing in on the companies that are the perfect targets for your product. Reminder: perfect targets does not mean a company that will be “wow’d” by your features. The perfect target is an organization who is suffering from a business problem that you can alleviate. We’re not worried about location, revenue, or number of employees anymore. None of those firmographics mean anything when it comes to finding a perfect candidate for your product or service.
Shrinking your ICP down to the ideal target allows your company and especially your sales team to focus on only those prospects that have the highest potential to close. This is where a PIC is an unbelievable tool. Having a strong PIC is the first step to finding your recession proof ICP.
If you’re going to take the time to shrink your ICP, you also need to know your ICP’s environment in a way you haven’t before. You need to take some time and really dive into what potential problem’s have arisen that are hurting them in this downturn. There are likely issues, that will cost more to not solve than your product or service would cost. This is the sweet spot for selling in a recession.
Recessions can add a separate set of problems and you need to know how costly each of these can be. Recessions are not the time to buy “nice to have” products or services. Companies are making the same decisions we’re telling you to make. They are culling projects that are losing money or are not worth their limited time. They’re focusing on ways they can make the most, mitigate the most losses, or at minimum minimize the negative impacts of recessions.
Keenan lays out a perfect example in the eBook:
Imagine you sell oil drilling bits that make it easier and faster to drill, particularly through hard or difficult drilling sites that may consist of granite or other hard surfaces. These drills save everyone money if they use them, but when the cost of oil gets really low and oil companies are doing everything they can to cut costs, shrinking your ICP to all oil companies and drill location that are in difficult to drill / hard surfaces area is a key strategy.
Study your ICP
To be successful targeting these companies you need to study your ICP. You need to know everything about their environment. That means understanding the costs associated with drilling in this type of environment, how difficult it is to drill in these locations, how that level of difficulty affects drilling time, how often these drills break, the cost of this downtime, how often they need to maintain, etc.
All these pieces play a role and salespeople need to know this information to be able to have meaningful conversations in a discovery. Subject matter expert. Additionally, you need to know how each barrel of oil is sold. You need to study the process, product offerings or services, and methods. You also need to know how the recession is changing these things. How does the market impact these processes, where are they making adjustments, who is making the decision to change these processes. The key to selling in a recession is finding a problem or set of problems that is exacerbated by these conditions and how you can solve that.
Understand their KPIs, what are the critical KPIs, what happens if they don’t meet those KPIs, and how the recession is influencing those KPIs. What specifically about those KPIs is being affected by the recession? Being a product expert isn’t enough, you need to be a market expert. The better you understand the market and environment the better leverage you’ll have to position yourself as a valuable solution and not simply an additional cost.
Ready to stop with the bullshit and become recession proof? Download Keenan’s guide to selling in a recession here.