Most of the discourse on sales burnout and sales slumps focuses on how to end one that’s already started. Sometimes the reason a top salesperson (or an entire organization) ends up with depressed sales figures isn’t obvious at a casual glance.
Make sure prospecting hasn’t gone neglected.
While many slumps result from burnout, some happen because salespeople, or those responsible for generating leads for the sales team, haven’t been putting their best effort in to generate those leads. Take a good long look at your lead generation process before considering how to get out of a sales slump, as you may find that the slump doesn’t lie on the sales side of things at all. Think about using tools such as social media and podcasting to improve lead generation if you find a slump in prospecting.
Watch those who have a major sale fall through.
Individual slumps, rather than team-wide affairs, often start with the loss of a major client or a big potential sale not going through. When these happen, keep an eye on the salespeople assigned to such cases, as they may have the failure “get in their head” and slow their productivity on other accounts. Depending on your options, you can try throwing them a few “softball” sales opportunities to rebuild their confidence or discuss the matter with them directly.
Try an incentive program.
While these can be costly if management isn’t careful about finding the balance, a slump stemming from overall team morale can sometimes be mitigated or stopped entirely through an incentive program. Though not all incentive programs work out, many researchers have put in the time to learn how an incentive program might be optimized to lead to the best possible result. Make sure your slump doesn’t stem from a failure to prospect, or from something you can’t control, before trying such a program, however.
Sometimes, a slump can’t be controlled, only weathered.
Economic indicators, seasons, and current events can all cause a slump, or make a slump worse. While the above tips for spotting the reasons for a slump or cutting one off at the pass can help, try to recognize when the slump stems from a change in consumer behavior or a major event influencing purchases. Don’t take this as an excuse to become less ambitious, though, because that can turn a short-term slump into a long-term loss.
What do you think?
Slumps can come about for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to be able to quickly assess why a downturn has happened – for both individual salespeople and whole organizations. Have you been part of an organization-wide slump? Have you successfully caught a slump before it started? Share your story with us in the comments.