Q: Based on what is going on in the world right now (coronavirus), is this the right time to ask businesses to outsource? Should I keep my cold calling team? What will be the best marketing strategy?

There are no easy answers, but we do know one thing:

When things come back, you will need everyone great.

Marc Benioff said one of his top mistakes was not hiring enough salespeople in 2009, during the peak of the last downturn.

  • At almost every company, if we’re honest, the “bottom” 10% doesn’t contribute that much if any value. If you have to cut, start there. Every VP, every manager, and probably even most employees know who isn’t contributing enough. It’s about a 20-minute discussion to align on who the bottom 10% is. Beyond that is harder.
  • And then, if you have to cut more, at least think about if you can repurpose folks first. Can sales help more with customer success? Can demand gen do more in customer marketing?
  • And finally, if you do have to cut — be cognizant of if you’d want them back down the road. If so, somehow try to keep them if you can. It is always hard to find great people, and just as hard to train people. You really don’t want to lose any strong, scaled, trained resources. This could be a short downturn, or a very long one. But keeping your top folks is always worth it, if there is a way.
  • “LIFO” is probably realistic. It may not be fair, but the newest hires may need to be the first to go. Why? You just may not have enough data to know if they are great. If a sales rep has never closed a deal, how will you really know how good he or she is? But you’ll know for sure on anyone that’s been there for 6+ months.
  • If you have 24+ months of runway, the very last thing I’d cut is good people. You’ll be selling in force again by then. We know that.


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