Are You Bringing Your Best? Assess Your Business for Resilience

As a seasoned CRO with decades of experience, I’m all too familiar with working under pressure. That’s why I decided to lead a session of N3’s Cloud Executive Roundtable amidst a global pandemic. If there’s ever a time where everyone is feeling the pressure, it’s now. 

Between the 1987 crash, the dot-com boom, September 11th, and the 2008 recession, I thought I’d seen it all. The current disruption in go-to-market rivals them all.

This moment presents a unique challenge for sales leaders and executives everywhere. While none of us can control economic downturns or world crises that exacerbate them, you can assess and elevate the resilience of your business by:  

  1. asking the right questions, and 
  2. adapting to the situation and understanding that you will not get everything right. 

While many things will have to change, there are constants amidst the chaos.  

Successfully Driving Revenue Starts with a Strong Sales Approach

Developing your team’s skill set and evaluating your team with both qualitative and quantitative measures will always be a constant. When thinking about your sales approach, I believe it’s important to get back to basics: 

  • Equip your team with the right training to enable them to excel in their roles both virtually and in person.  
  • Make sure each individual on your team has the right personality traits for building strong relationships with customers  especially virtually. They must be able to establish empathy around customer pain points, build trust, and communicate effectively.  
  • Don’t wait to address performance issues. Many organizations gave teams a pass for a period as we all adjusted to a completely virtual environment, but no one can afford to let issues continue forever.    

As you assess your sales approach, you will undoubtedly identify areas for improvement. Lean into your strengths and weigh your weaknesses against each other, prioritizing the areas that need improvement.   

Adapt or Perish

In the best of times, adapting to change is a valuable tool to ensuring your business thrives. In the worst of time, it’s critical. Today’s world, regardless of COVID-19, is fast-paced and ever-changing.

As an early innovator of virtual reality, Randy Pausch, said, “It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.” 

As a leader in your organization, you must be a champion of sales transformation, ensuring your team is constantly evaluating and adapting their tools, their messaging, and their overall approach. 

At this point, we’ve all had a few months of experience using new modes and methods to drive demand and manage our sales teams. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would prefer to have in-person dinners with clients or accompany my colleagues to meetings, but we can absolutely work with what we have. Reimagine, reinvent, and retool those ways of working that are no longer possible. 

The bottom line? The worst thing you can do right now is nothing.

Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. It’s so important to make decisions at this moment. Rather than focusing on getting it all right, focus on being “directionally correct.”  In other words, identify the constants and make the necessary adjustments, having confidence that even if you’re going in the wrong direction, you can always change it.  

Rather than focus on the uncertainty, we can use this moment as an opportunity to re-examine our existing approaches to the people we lead, the processes we employ, and technology we lean on  all with fresh eyes.

Download N3’s eBrief5 Ways to Build Sales Back — Better, to learn about the steps you can take today to prepare your team for tomorrow. 


About the Author

Paul Melchiorre

Paul is one of the most successful CROs in building and exiting cloud-based software companies, including as an early sales leader at SAP America, a founding executive team member at Ariba, President at iPipeline, and CRO and President at Anaplan. Currently serving as an Operating Partner at Stripes, a leading growth equity investment firm, Paul helps turbo-charge growth for portfolio companies. Connect on LinkedIn