Start your week with the stories and insights that matter most to the sales community. Subscribe so you never miss an issue.
November 7, 2022
5 min read
Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch. Our mission is to cover news, offer insights, and profile rising stars in the sales community.
Today, our Feature Story, in the wake of last week's heavy dose of layoffs, offers five ideas for ensuring your sales job is safe.
In the Weekly Chart, the Layoffs.fyi tracker gives us a startling visual: we're on pace to have more companies letting employees go than we did during the initial pandemic wave.
Finally, in The Closer, we pass along the “hierarchy of business value” framework.
Layoffs.fyi tracks (mostly) tech companies with official layoffs. This broad group goes beyond "startups," with companies like Twitter, Stripe, Netflix, Spotify, Salesforce, and Uber listed.
As we see, the total number of employees losing their jobs and the companies bringing that pain this year – starting in Q2 – is exponentially higher than in 2021 and now outpaces that awful time for the world when the pandemic first hit.
So if we're still fortunate to have a job, what can we do to keep it?
Elon buying Twitter and promptly cutting 50% of its workforce on Thursday was jarring. Stripe also laid off 14% of its staff on Thursday. No doubt these headlines, coupled with what feels like a continuous stream of our LinkedIn peers flipping to “Open to Work,” are anxiety-inducing. Not to mention the guilt of feeling lucky to still have a job, just with fewer of our friends at work.
However, we sales pros are a resilient bunch. We face rejection, objections, ghosting, break-ups, and relentless negotiations every day, and we do it all with grit, hustle, and belief that our hard work and discipline will pay off.
Here are five ideas that sales (and non-sales people) can apply to their current workflow to become irreplaceable, no matter the current macroeconomic environment.
Now is the perfect time to shorten sales cycles. With fiscal year-end approaching, 2023 planning, and execs rethinking how they'll drive business impact next year, account executives can take advantage.
Think of the business problem and how our solution makes or saves the prospect money (or time). Focus on the value and return on investment by boldly sharing a real dollar (or hours) amount our solution or product will save them.
Use discounts wisely and always ask for something in return. Consider #6 or #7 from that list an easy ask this time of year to get the deal done before December 16!
In the spirit of maintaining our average contract value, and instead of a “discount,” we could add another product for free or allow them to trial something without paying for it – in exchange for a faster signature.
Shortening deal cycles will always impress our sales leaders, but so will three or five-year agreements. In our current world of “cash is king,” this predictable revenue beefs up the company balance sheet for years to come.
Try the 10/5/0 or 7/4/0 framework, where the most significant price increase is presented in the shortest term (one year). A two-year term increase is not as substantial. And we lock in pricing or keep it flat for the customer in exchange for a three-year term.
A realistic target is 75% of all wins should include multi-year terms or a price increase. Aim for a quarter of all those wins to have both!
Every business has a list of happy customers. Consider our renewal rate or customer satisfaction. Sure, for some, it might be a best-in-class 90%. For others, it could be 70-80%. But it's never zero.
Identify our healthiest and happiest customers and find “white space” where we can sell them more value with other products. Often, this means multi-threading and cracking into other buying centers within our current customer base.
Ask that happy customer contact to make an internal referral if we can't sell them anything more directly!
If not shattered, trust in leadership for companies with layoffs is undoubtedly in rebuilding mode. Many teams, now left with doing more with less, need to bang the proverbial drum and make noise on how our job is more challenging.
Can we shape our role and team to become more efficient if we did X, Y, and Z? Meet with peers and leaders in and out of the sales team consistently to document pains and challenges, but also where things are improving. Where can we catalog and provide constructive feedback? But approach it with a growth mindset and a learning opportunity.
Knock on those “open doors” our leaders keep mentioning. Seize this moment to offer solutions and stand out from the pack as a problem solver, not a complainer.
This balance is essential for all sales pros, but especially for leaders. Showing empathy and prioritizing employee well-being is crucial. If our team has been impacted by layoffs, we can't make the announcement, have an “ask me anything,” and quickly sweep it under the rug.
Many of us are hurting – whether we have a job or not. The best leaders will continue to own up to their mistakes, listen, and be receptive to feedback and solutions for how the business, our team, and our role can make a meaningful impact.
But those same leaders will also paint an exciting future full of purpose and infuse hope in an otherwise unsavory situation.
How will our right-sized businesses be better for us, our customers, and our product or solution in the long run? There has to be hope in our answer and in how we lead.
In order starting with the most important, customers or prospects should consider how to:
Most of our buyers (and our competitors) focus on the last one and ask, “can your product do this or that, and how is it different from this other product?”
It takes discipline and a lot of confidence to redirect those product questions and probe our customers – “Have you considered how much extra revenue you could generate if we helped solve this problem?"
“How much cost savings are in play if we helped solve this problem?”
You made it to the end! Thank you for reading and subscribing to our newsletter.
Please consider forwarding this email to your team and asking them to subscribe!
Start your week with the stories and insights that matter most to the sales community.