Small Business Thinking in a Fortune 100 Sales Force

Yesterday I spoke to the executive team for a Fortune 100 company whose issues are exactly the same as those faced by small and medium sized businesses – except for one difference.  Their dynamic leader wants to attack the market as the economy sputters whereas many who lead smaller companies choose to wait it out.

So how much of this is economic leverage because they have the money to attack?  And what can you do?

While a big company certainly has deeper pockets to weather the storm, I believe that most of what this leader wants can be found in his mindset. If everyone else is tightening their belts then let’s be more agressive.  If everyone else is afraid of what’s to come, then let’s be confident.  If everyone else is content to lose business to scared competitors who are offering their products at fire sale prices, then let’s build more value, stick to our guns and protect our margins.  If everyone else stops spending money, then let’s get what we need now in a buyers market.

They also want to evaluate their sales organizations.  When the economy slows, companies quickly learn that salespeople who were doing great just a year ago, suddenly find it difficult to overcome the resistence from prospects and customers who aren’t so eager to buy.  Weaknesses that impact sales performance,  undetected in a strong economy, become exposed in an uncertain or worsening economy.  Order takers go out of business.  Evaluating the sales force identifies these issues early and helps companies take action to get the right people into the right seats and replace or redeploy those who shouldn’t be on the bus.

Are these strategies only applicable to the Fortune 100?  I don’t think so.  Is this thinking unique to the Fortune 100?  Definitely not!  As a matter of fact, most big companies don’t think like this and are very slow to make changes.  This is small business thinking and you should be thinking like this too.

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