How many times have you heard the saying necessity is the mother of invention? I think we can all agree to the truthfulness of that saying. Because of recent events, today, more than ever, companies and employees are being called upon to be inventive as they are required to do more with less.
As I contemplated this idea of doing more with less, I thought about my early career in sales.
I had an associate that was raised in India. He told me a story about when he was a child. He said that in the community where he grew up, they were so poor that when someone in his family received a letter, they would turn the envelope inside out and use it again to send another letter. Nothing could be wasted. It blew his mind when he moved to the United States, and he visited a McDonald’s for the first time where he witnessed people throw all their plastic cutlery, cups, and Styrofoam packaging in the trash. He wondered why we wasted so much without giving it a second thought. His story resonated with me, and I never forgot it. The point is that when resources are scarce, there is no room for waste, not even something as simple as an envelope.
Now I want you to consider this scenario for a moment. You are asked to accomplish a task with “less” resources. The first thing you would want to determine is that you are not wasting any of the resources that you have on hand to accomplish that task. Yes, when you are trying to do more with less, there is no room for waste.
For instance, consider if you have fewer prospects for your product or service. Perhaps getting someone through the door of a business potentially costs a company hundreds of dollars in advertising expenditures – should any of these opportunities be wasted? For example, say that a company has ten qualified prospects that contact their business as a result of an advertising campaign. The salesperson is a superstar and sells three out of ten (thirty percent) of the prospects. Many companies would be satisfied with those results. But I just described losing seven out of ten (seventy percent) of qualified prospects. Are those results “good enough” during uncertain economic times? No. Because as the economy slows down and consumer demand decreases, the number of prospects will also decline. Therefore, a business can ill afford to waste seventy percent of qualified prospects.
It makes sense to convert qualified prospects at the point they are interested in your product or service. Bearing in mind the circumstances we face today, companies need to analyze and curb potential “waste” and certainly cannot afford to squander sales opportunities. If your team continually wastes prospective customers, working as if the next ready buyer is just around the corner, that is a quick recipe for disaster.
At this time, your salespeople simply cannot take selling opportunities for granted. Each prospect must be handled effectively since your team is being called upon to do more with less. It is that simple.
Furthermore, if your sales process was not working effectively before the pandemic and produced less than the desired results, it is time to consider a different course. Now, more than ever, your team needs to be professionally trained, especially as it relates to consumer behavior and its application in the sales process to be prepared with a high level of sales-readiness. No doubt, in this tenuous environment, your company cannot persevere with novice salespeople.
With the appropriate training and preparedness, a company can set a realistic goal to do as much as before the pandemic and economic recession – in other words, “doing the same with less.” Once that milestone is reached, the company can establish the next goal of trying to “do more with less,” which I am sure you would agree is ambitious. Then, during the economic recovery, consumer confidence will return.
At that time, companies that took care of each valuable prospective customer and did not waste opportunities will be positioned not only to survive but thrive by “doing more with more.”