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How RevOps can support sales teams in the economic downturn

RevOps has a specific and crucial role in strategizing for an economic downturn. Here are the must-know considerations, from tactical to strategic, for RevOps leaders navigating a recession.
Elisia Guerena
5 minutes

The word is out: Economists predict a 70% chance of the U.S. entering a recession in 2023. For revenue leaders, this downturn is a call to action. A Bain survey found that while only 43% of sales organizations plan for a recession in advance, 86% that do plan can leverage the downturn to gain market share.

RevOps leaders have a specific and crucial role in strategizing for an economic downturn. You’ve got your finger on the pulse of all the essential data, systems, and day-to-day operations that drive a business. With a strategic approach to weathering this economic storm, RevOps can protect their business from the rain — and even use it to grow. 

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or this is your first time wrangling an economic slump, here are the must-know considerations, from tactical to strategic, for navigating a recession. 

Tip #1: Tidy up your tech stack

Even in lean times, sales teams still need the right technology essentials. Gartner found that 80% of CSOs consider an effective tech stack critical to making revenue. Take a good look at your tech stack to make sure every inclusion counts. Conduct an audit to see what your team actively uses and what you could eliminate to save money. Here are some tips to guide your process.

Look for redundant or underused tools

Sometimes sales teams will purchase products or services that sound good in theory, but don’t deliver on expectations. Or they’ll make changes without updating the technology to match. These oversights can result in tools that are no longer relevant to their sales technique. 

Decision makers should ask themselves if each tool still makes sense for the team’s current situation. Are you seeing returns on investment? Can you cut obsolete solutions without impacting productivity? How about tools with overlapping capabilities? See if you can consolidate these solutions, paying for one tool instead of two. 

Also check to see if vendors have released new functionality to their product lines worth implementing. And if you’re evaluating new solutions at this time, seek those that automate processes. Any tool that offloads work allows your team to be more efficient and productive. (Here are some of our favorites.)

Review users and permissions on your essential tools

Many sales teams have made considerable changes to their team size and structure. Reflect those changes in your tech stack’s users and permissions. Trim excess seats to save money on monthly subscription costs. Ensure the remaining team members are fully empowered to use all of the capabilities their seat offers.

Identify any gaps in your flow and functionality

Make sure the tools you use support your ideal customer journey. After defining the exact experience you want a customer to have, map the tools and processes you’ll use to support it. It’s a useful exercise to see gaps or overlaps, and a powerful visual for training your team on how all the pieces fit together.

You can also “mind the gap” by ensuring all your tools are optimized to work together. Apply all possible integrations between tools. This eliminates steps and saves your sales force energy.

Tip #2: Tighten up processes

We value “time savings” for a reason. Especially when you’re facing strong economic headwinds or budget cuts, time is money. Maximize efficiency by making processes airtight. From SDRs’ daily workflow to the way your organization communicates, you’ll want to examine your team’s every move. Here are some tips to guide you.

Ensure processes support objectives

When teams are lean, it can be tricky to ensure that your processes offer the right support for achieving your goals. Essentially, you’re trying to do more with less: More work to overcome economic setbacks, with less manpower to execute.

To manage, use the 1-2-3 rule: Does each next step in a sequence make logical sense? And is that intended flow as easy to follow as 1-2-3? When a process is simple and clearly understood, it more easily translates into decisive and impactful action.

(Re)define lead routing

Double-check and redefine, if necessary, the way your organization routes leads to sales reps. If you’ve made changes to your team or tech stack, consider reworking this flow. Treat change as an opportunity to improve on existing processes.

Use workflow triggers

Have standard workflows in place for key events, such as a prospect responding to a cold call. When your team knows exactly how to respond to any situation, they don’t miss opportunities or waste time. Automation can help support and organize this follow-through.

Erase silos between teams

RevOps is uniquely positioned to consider all the departments and how their operations affect sales. Check that cross-departmental processes, including automated ones, work to support each other. Build bridges if necessary to align them, and see if you can streamline any existing workflows.

As you follow these steps, continuously circle back to your tech stack. Do the adjustments you made still make sense with the tools you use? If the answer is “no,” tweak your tech stack until it’s a “yes.” Replace old solutions with more supportive ones, or scale back further if necessary.

Tip #3: Tell a data-driven story

RevOps leaders can help their organization stay strong during a recession by telling a clear story about what the data shows — and surfacing recommendations based on it. Quality data-driven insights rely heavily on a well-polished tech stack. Tools with strong predictive sales analytics capabilities can help you forecast trends and build out a matching strategy. 

When building your narrative, keep in mind that sales cycles take longer during an economic downturn. Companies are more reluctant to buy and involve more stakeholders in decisions. Besides encouraging sales leaders to coach for these challenges, allow extra room in any story you tell for those variables. 

Staying dynamic will also allow you to incorporate feedback from internal stakeholders. Remember to continually check in with them to see what’s working and what needs improvement. This communication drives success by allowing you to keep tempo with changes.

In a final nod to proactive communication, be sure to share learning across teams. This practice creates consistency across your organization. It can also boost morale, as people see the payoff for their hard work. Celebrate any wins — they count for twice as much in tough times! 

By aligning your organization’s focus and resources, equipping the right people to take the right action, and staying nimble, you can take any recession-related wrenches thrown your way and use them to build a stronger organization. To learn more, download our eBook: “Navigate your sales team through the recession.”

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