When Times Are Tougher, Some Still Way Outperform

So times are tougher for some in SaaS, but not most, and certainly not all.  I’d roughly say 20% are growing even faster than earlier in the year, 20% are having a tough time, and 60% are somewhere in the middle.

But whether it’s not or later, you are eventually going to have tougher times.  Even, sometimes, a Year of Hell.

Here’s one big mistake I see all the time, though.  Folks aggregate performance.  In sales, in particular, I usually see even more bifurcated performance in tougher times.

In tough times:

  • I often see the worst reps stop closing at all.  They can’t close anything anymore when it gets harder.
  • But the best reps often close as much, or often more than ever in tougher times.  They often get even better at listening, at refining the value prop, at doing more.  The best reps are smart and agile enough to rapidly tilt with the times, and come out even stronger often.
  • And the mid-pack reps decline, say, 15%-30%.  They just start accepting more excuses, and give up a little more at the end of the quarter.  Especially if their manager does a bit.

Add all three together, and you see a net decline in sales.  But not in everyone.  You gotta segment it.

And then focus.  Learn all over again from your best reps.  Make sure their new playbook is disseminated to everyone. Make sure their bar is still the stretch bar for others.  Make sure, most importantly, that everyone knows it still can be done.

Because even 10 months ago, half your reps were, say, closing $800k, and now it’s just a few.

Well, it can still be done.  So at least make sure you are doing the right root cause analysis.

Because when things are good, you often don’t actually know why.  And when things are tougher, the best … get going.  They step it up, or at least, they find new ways to win.  Again, and again, and again.  Follow them.  They will light your path back to more growth and success.

A related post here:

(tough image from here)

Published on October 25, 2022

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