Most economists are expecting the U.S. to drop into a recession this year. While it’s not clear how deep the recession will be, enterprises are already planning to cut costs and scale back revenue expectations. That’s a challenging environment for sales teams. According to Gartner research, buyers facing moderate to high environmental uncertainty are 30% less likely to complete a purchase 

But you can still conquer a slow market by taking a strategic approach to grow existing accounts. When you’re mapping out important details about a new prospect or existing customer and developing an overall strategy to win, retain, and grow them, keep these strategic tips in mind for 2023 success. 

1: Weed Out Poor Prospects

With less budget, you may not have the resources to target as many accounts as last year and you can’t afford to waste time and effort on long-shot opportunities. But you can still increase revenue by selecting those prospects with the best fit for your solution. 

Take a look at your most successful accounts, not just the biggest spenders, but also those that love your products and company. Determine why they’re such a great partnership and start looking for similar prospects. Also, review current accounts for white space opportunities; in a slow economy, buyers are more comfortable working with vendors they know, so you already have an advantage.   

2: Align Your Team to Amplify Results

Whether you’re facing budget cuts this year or not, recession selling simply requires more time and effort to move buyers toward a deal. So you need understand how execs buy enterprise software in this environment. With these economic challenges in mind, take a strategic approach to account planning by treating marketing, sales, and customers success as a coordinated team instead of separate functions.  

If necessary, remove organizational roadblocks and inflexible processes that hamper alignment. Plan to use all elements of your team to educate customers, help them make the right product selection, and help them succeed across the entire buying journey. Well-coordinated sales motions provide what buyers need when they need it while preventing deals from stalling out. 

3: Get Better Intelligence Faster

In a sluggish economy, you don’t have time to make the wrong assumptions about an account. Your strategic account planning has to be based on accurate information that makes a difference in closing deals. For the best intelligence, move beyond the typical sales research to answer key questions, such as: 

  • How are business and technical pain points related? 
  • How are buying decisions made? 
  • What are the primary characteristics of the company culture? 
  • Who are the decision-makers and key influencers for technology purchases? 
  • How do decision-makers prefer to engage? 
  • What messaging resonates best with this account/industry? 
  • How do they prefer to build technical capabilities? 
  • What technical debt are they dealing with? 
  • How are budget cycles impacted during a slow economy? 

It’s crucial to find resources, such as internal champions or expert coaches like Emissary Advisors, who can quickly share this kind of deep insight about an account’s organization, buying committee, technology stack, and buying process. The faster and easier it is to learn essential details, the faster you’ll be able to engage, leaving competitors to catch up. 


4: Determine What Buyers Need From You

Making technology purchases is hard work for buyers, and in uncertain markets, it becomes even more difficult. To help move deals to close, focus account planning on ways to make the process easier and build buyers’ confidence in their selection. Gartner research found that buyers who saw information from vendors as helpful in making their decisions were three times more likely to buy a bigger deal 

In other words, understand what buyers know and what they need to know. Learn about decision-makers’ doubts about implementations, performance, and change management so you can address those concerns directly. Look for resources that buyers are unlikely to find on their own and determine what evidence is most relevant to the problems they’re trying to solve. When buyers feel they have honest, reliable, and thorough information about the project, they’re much more likely to move forward and close deals, even in a tough economy. 

5: Plan Outreach and Events That Provide Higher Value at Minimal Cost

In a recession, travel budgets are often the first in the shredder, but you still need to reach prospects through events. You can draw on experience during COVID to plan for more online presentations or smaller get-togethers near major accounts, so attendees don’t have to travel. To keep interest high, rev up the star power with industry experts who can share useful insights and help demonstrate your leadership. 

6: Rely on Experts for the Most Effective Strategic Approach to Account Planning

In a tricky economy, when effective sales plans depend on getting account details right, consult with experts, such as Emissary Advisors, who can share company insight you won’t find anywhere else. Emissary Advisors have recently served as leaders on buying committees for your target accounts. They understand the business, corporate culture, organizational dynamics, and decision-making process from the inside. They can support your account selection, vertical strategy, account planning, and forecasting with the most relevant and accurate company information. They can also provide industry leadership for in-person or online presentations. With Advisors’ input, you’ll have the inside track to grow revenue regardless of economic ups and downs. 

About Emissary

Emissary is a human intelligence network that connects enterprise sales and marketing professionals directly to a community of over 12,000 talented senior and C-level executives with recent experience at their most important accounts. 

Leveraging the Emissary network will enable you to shorten your sales cycles, close more deals, and build positive long-lasting relationships with your clients and prospects – because you’ve gathered the tacit knowledge on their challenges and needs. 

Contact your relationship manager or to learn more about how Emissary can help you win more technology deals this year.