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How many hours did you put in over the last 30 days to sharpening your skillset in anticipation of the recovery?

Here is the reality - if you want to emerge stronger from this crisis environment and into the recovery, you’ve got to be spending this time “watching the tape.” That means, analyzing what you’re doing and identifying what you need to change to do better. In other words, right now isn’t a time for a water break – it’s time to sharpen your skillset and train for the recovery phase.

Here are the top 4 areas of focus as you get started.

  1. The Success Triangle

It’s tempting to focus primarily on technique when talking about sharpening skillset. Afterall, it’s the easiest component to fix should there be an issue. Yet, a more holistic approach to skills development also addresses attitude and behavior.  



In terms of attitude, the reality is that you lose more than you win in sales and that has to be okay – especially during a period of recovery. In fact, sales may lose even more often during a recovery. In light of this, sales leaders need to be in particularly in tune with the overall mindset of the sales team. If the team appears to be stuck in a comfort zone or circling in a pattern of negative self-talk, this is the time to coach the team on making plans to adjust.

Behavior is also important during a time of recovery because this is what drives sales momentum. In its simplest application, behavior is what dictates who will sign up for the gym on January 1st and quit by February. In this environment, salespeople must “up” their behavioral plan to be the first in line when the economy picks up. In fact, based on our own experience, we believe that behavioral plans need to be at 40% higher from last year just to break even.

Behavioral plans aren’t exclusive to individual salespeople. Even for sales leaders, if you don’t have a behavioral plan, you should! This plan should include the number of times you are proactively coaching, role playing, etc.

2. KARE Account Planning

KARE is an acronym for Keep, Attain, Recapture, Expand. It is down to the sales team and its leadership to accept ownership of growth in the face of the new, fluid, highly competitive landscape that is now emerging. Specifically, sales leaders need to apply best-practice evaluations of their markets to identify routes to growth, instead of responding to external changes as they arise. That means creating a targeted market development plan. To begin with, we need to look at all the possible market opportunities open to us and segment them using these four KARE criteria:

  • Keep: Customers who generate solid income but show limited opportunity to grow.
  • Attain / Acquire: Organizations who we do not currently work with, but whom we can help by selling them our products or services.
  • Recapture: Clients we had but then lost.
  • Expand: Existing clients who have a substantial opportunity to grow with us.

Note that there is a different approach, script and behavioral plan for each and every one. It is important to plan and prepare account plans and bake it into a CRM. This is your team’s roadmap.

3. Plan and Debrief

Consistency is important in today’s environment. The simplest way to achieve that is to have a pre-call plan and consistently use it. 80% of salespeople are more likely to exceed quota if they take the time to plan.

For sales leaders, pre-call planning is one of the best sales tools of all time in terms of being able to coach a salesperson on the call before the call happens.

This is especially important in a team selling situation. The further deals progress down the funnel, the more expensive it becomes, and the more people that get involved. Sales leaders need to have insight into what is going on. Pre-call plans and debriefs should be immediately loaded into a CRM as part of the deal history so that leaders have a real-time, accurate view.

4. Measure and Track the Sales Process

If your organization doesn’t have a sales process, you end up following the buyer’s process. It’s important to have a sales process and methodology that can be tracked and analyzed through a CRM. If you have peaks and valleys, leaders must be looking at funnel metrics to understand why that is.

As part of that, it’s important for sales leaders to both offer areas improvement but also point out areas where salespeople are performing well. There should be a behavioral plan that tracks to the sales process. The sales process is how you are going from prospecting call to a happy customer buying more “stuff.”

In order to have a true sales culture, you must have sales process, you must have sales methodology and you must be tracking and analyzing it through a CRM.


Being in sales right now is no easy job and this year is no exception. We can’t tell you when the recovery will be in full force – but we do know that the time leading up to it shouldn’t be used for a break. Sales teams and leaders who use this time to “watch the tape,” update talk tracks, adjust behavioral plans, and use their CRM consistently to measure and track, will be the ones who come out on the other side with the skillsets they need to ensure continuous and sustainable growth.

Download the webinar on demand to hear from Sandler CEO & President, Dave Mattson, as he talk more in-depth about actionable strategies to achieving growth during the recovery.



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