When we experience a crisis, we may be strongly tempted to focus our attention on what was happening during the period that came right before the crisis, the ‘Old Normal.’ We may even be preoccupied with the current impact of the crisis itself. It goes against all tenets of self-preservation to look beyond that immediate time of crisis and instead focus on a plan of action in the future recovery phase.
It makes sense that humans do this. The recovery phase is always the hardest to understand, as it is full of unknowns and very little information on where to pitch your tent and start a fire.
However, experience tells us that we get what we plan for, so the first question we must address is this one: Do we have a team focused on building our recovery plan?
In the New Normal market, sales teams will be faced with a range of new challenges. Speaking with many of our clients, we now hear clear evidence of changes in how their customers will:
- Evaluate buying decisions and assess ROI
- Review in-house vs. outsourced activity as they refocus on their core competencies
- Evaluate their supplier base, particularly in searching for more innovative suppliers
These changes suggest that sales leaders need to accept that there is a very high probability that the New Normal sales landscape will call for significant changes in recruiting and retention priorities.
As such, the major question for sales leaders shifts away from ‘Do I have the right people?’ to ‘Do I have the right people in the right roles?’ We need to review what is needed in terms of skill sets, and assess our people so we can understand who provides the best fit.
Questions that leaders need to ask themselves in preparation for the recovery phase include:
- How are you currently assessing your people and teams?
- Can your assessment process be improved?
- Do your people possess the requisite traits and skills that will ensure they can be successful in the current market environment?
- Are they both willing and able to do the job you design for them?
The answers may not be familiar or comfortable, but they must be identified.