Sales leaders under pressure to cut costs must look beyond the “quick
wins” and instead focus on long-term, productivity-oriented investments,
according to Gartner, Inc.
“When faced with a looming economic downturn, it’s easy to see ‘quick
wins’ as a palatable solution to save money in the short term,” said Brent
Adamson, distinguished vice president, Gartner. “However, these
types of decisions can inhibit sales strategies coming out of that tough
economic environment and make bouncing back that much harder. Sales
leaders instead must focus on making small but powerful changes to start
positioning their teams to take advantage of the opportunities that
economic uncertainty and a downturn can create.”
Gartner recommends the following cost
management activities to address three of the most common
Get Ahead of Travel and Entertainment Cuts
It’s common for sales organizations to freeze travel and entertainment
(T&E) during tough economic environments, however, doing so can leave
customers underserved. Instead, sales leaders should leverage their
internal financial planning and analysis partners to review current T&E
spend and identify trends that can be proactively remedied.
Communicating new T&E behaviors to sellers ahead of a potential economic
downturn can help mitigate overly broad cuts later.
Analyze Sales Productivity
In an economic downturn, sales leaders often face the unenviable task of
reducing their sales force size based on past sales or future sales
projections. To mitigate this, sales leaders should engage sales
operations teams and analyze sales productivity ahead of time. By
leveraging market, customer and seller data, sales leaders can optimize
seller time between farming and hunting activities, as well as new and
Audit Subject Matter Expert Activity
Gartner research shows that subject matter experts (SMEs) provide more
value, on average, than sellers when closing deals. Instead of reducing
SME head count to cut costs, sales leaders can optimize SME productivity
and spend by working with SMEs to audit their time, identify low-value,
high-frequency sales activities. Sales leaders can then codify
information related to those activities in enablement tools for sellers.
“Economic cycles of expansion and contraction are an unpredictable
reality. By pursuing opportunities for cost optimization before the
urgency and uncertainty of a downturn hit, sales leaders better position
their sales teams to weather the storm and help their customers do so
too,” said Matt
Dudek, vice president and team manager at Gartner.
Additional details are available to Gartner for Sales Leaders clients in
the report “Making
Smarter Cost Management Decisions.”
About Gartner for Sales Leaders
for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the
insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical
priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and
existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative
research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat
commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and
seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing
growth potential and optimize sales force enablement.
About the Gartner CSO & Sales Leaders Conference
Sales leaders face unprecedented changes in customer expectations,
technology and the talent needed to drive results. At the Gartner
CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place September 17-19,
2019 in Las Vegas, sales leaders will learn from the latest research and
Gartner experts covering sales talent, customer buying behavior, sales
enablement and sales operations. Follow news and updates from the event
on Twitter at #GartnerSales.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory
company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with
indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their
mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations
Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and
data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the
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To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of
business, visit gartner.com.