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Driving Sales Efficiency During a Market Slowdown - Part 1

Increasing Productivity While Reducing Cost


Market downturns and the resulting budget belt-tightening are painful for sales and marketing teams. Pipeline predictability goes out the window as deals take longer to close and desperate competitors drop prices. At the same time, investors and CFOs impose budget cuts and want sales to deliver more with less resources. What can sales and marketing leaders do to keep selling in these turbulent times?

an upward trending arrow made of dots connected by string

This two-part series provides six proven techniques to improve execution without major investment. In this piece, we focus on saving money and time, with concrete ideas for finding hard dollar savings and getting more productivity from sales reps.


1. Generate Internal Savings – Reinvest Intelligently

The average company is spending on at least 4-6 sales and marketing tools that are unused and/or over-licensed. The actual number of “ghostware” sales and marketing apps is often much higher. In good times, marketing and sales spend prolifically on tools and CRM add-ons. By eliminating unnecessary apps, the savings can be material – typically equivalent to one or more FTE sales reps. This frees resources for investments that make an impact. The average company can reduce its sales and marketing tech spend by 10% without putting the top line at risk. The best companies reallocate 50% of the savings and invest in high impact tools and process improvements that deliver immediate gains – and then pocket the rest of the savings.

2. Eliminate Friction – Shorten the Sales Cycle

Scrutinize processes, with a focus on taking time and friction out of each step of the process. Map the end to end prospect to closed/won process and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where is there manual intervention?

  • How long does it take to respond to a prospect inquiry?

  • Can existing accounts purchase online without having to speak to anyone?

  • Can new sales quotes be generated online by a prospect, or does it take days or weeks for a sales rep to create a quote by hand?

  • Is the demo process automated or does it require going back and forth with the prospect to schedule?

  • Are your references available on-demand, or do they require scheduling? Is the contracting process as automated as possible?

  • Are T’s and C’s available online or does each new contract require hand-crafting?

Time kills all deals. Any lag or delay in moving a prospect through the funnel introduces risk of losing the deal. Once the process is mapped, create a stretch goal of cutting 75% of the time on your side of the transaction out of the process.

3. Give Sales Reps More Time to Sell & Stop Sales Excuses

Get more productivity from your sellers by giving them more time to sell. How often have you heard a rep say they are spending their time searching for references or onboarding a customer because processes are too difficult? Up to 30% of a sales rep’s time can be spent onboarding new accounts, due to a friction-laden quote to cash process. Reps find themselves bogged down in ‘busywork’ like scheduling reference calls rather than closing deals. When resources are available on demand, like customer reference interviews, reps can spend their valuable time driving revenue rather than dealing with (and complaining about) reference scheduling issues. Process improvements and automation give your sales organization more time to do what they do best – sell.

These proven techniques improve productivity while managing to save money and are available to any sales or marketing leader looking to accelerate selling. Next up we have ideas for filling the top of the funnel, rising above the competition early in deals, and leveraging your best sales tool.


Interested in saving time and driving productivity through your customer reference processes, with less effort and investment?

Reach out to the Verified team via the button below. We help organizations like yours accelerate your road to revenue.


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