What Now, Wall-E? Time to Start Selling!

May 25th, 2009 by

By Pat Hinds

I have been spending time with various sales teams recently and I’m starting to see a trend that needs to be addressed if companies and sales people want to succeed in the weak economy. In the Fall of 2008, the economy collapsed after a 5-year bull run that saw unprecedented growth based on companies and consumers having access to credit. If you were a sales person during this period of growth you didn’t really have to compete for business; if your company had the capacity to meet demand in the growing market all you had to do was take orders. We are now in a period of decline that is also unprecedented, and I am seeing lots of sales people who are staring at the phones wondering what is going on; wondering where are the orders. When I see these sales people I can’t help but think of the scene in the movie, Wall-E, when he was on the spaceship and all the humans had forgotten how to walk and all they did all day was ride in conveyor belts and eat.

In one of my earlier blogs entitled, Advice to Obama: Get Back to the Basics, I made reference to one of my football coaches, Bob Garcia. The lesson I learned from Bob was when faced with adversary and things appear to be most complicated one needed to get back to the basics. When I am working with companies helping them achieve greater market share, my first step is to use model called the Product Market Matrix designed by Igor Ansoff. I have listed the four main bullets from the Product Market Matrix model and provided some recommendations on how to start selling in this new economy:

Relatively low risk strategy growth strategy directed towards selling existing products to existing customers primarily through well-known markets and products.

New Economy Selling: Stop waiting for the phone to ring; call your customers and ask what they require from you to help then through the economic downturn. Face the challenge of the weak economy head-on by communicating and setting expectations on what it is going to take to get the orders flowing again. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers the tough questions; use you relationships to get honest answers.

Medium risk growth strategy to sell existing products to new customers.

New Economy Selling: Take what you learn from calling your exiting customer base and applying it to new customers. The competition is making the same mistakes by not communicating with customers. Take what you learned from your customers and apply this knowledge to new prospects.

Medium risk growth strategy to introduce new products to existing customers. The organization needs to develop modified products that appeal to existing customers in order to encourage them to spend more on these products.

New Economy Selling: 80% of the revenue from an account comes from 20% of a companies product portfolio. Now that the reps have more time on their hands, dust off the products you were to busy to sell and attack your existing customer base.

Highest risk strategy that markets new products to new markets and requires acquiring experience in both sectors.

New Economy Selling: Is this the opportunity for your company to diversify? If you have been waiting to launch a new product into a new vertical but did not have the resources, this might be your opportunity to reallocate resources from existing products to your new product.


Topics: Business Intelligence