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Eighty-one percent of sellers lost a deal because they lost a point of contact.

Chapter 7

Selling and Winning During Market Downturns

Sales in Asia: A Framework

Selling and Winning During Market Downturns

It’s been a challenging year for many brands in tech and beyond. In HubSpot’s 2023 Global Sales Trends Report, we learned that 7 in 10 sales teams have to do more with less in today’s climate. 71% of sales teams-1Uma Thana Balasingham shared that selling in tumultuous times requires extreme meeting prep: “Valuing your customer's time is crucial. Come well-prepared to the meeting, share the agenda in advance, and confirm that it aligns with what the customer wants to discuss.” she said. Things can change every day, and no one has an hour to waste.

In an environment where sales teams are asked to sell more despite lower demand, smaller teams, and fewer resources, it’s crucial to maximise productivity — cited as a challenge by 79% of sales leaders globally. There are many ways to approach this shift, and we’ll cover five ways that sales leaders can meet the moment and empower their teams to hit their goals even in hard times.

Identify How Your Target Company is Doing — and What They Need 





How the company is doing

  • Not hiring
  • Not spending at all because they can’t afford to 
  • Reducing spend to survive
  • Generally in paralysis mode 
  • Walking on eggshells, in wait-and-see mode
  • Not drastically cutting spending
  • Not spending excessively, as they may need cash reserves.
  • Thriving because their product or service is relevant to current needs of their industry or the public
  • e.g. Zoom in the height of the pandemic

What they need from a sales contact

  • These customers need support and knowledge from sales associates, not a hard sell.
  • These customers need support, like those in the Red Zone, but can also benefit from learning about reasonably priced products that can help them weather the storm.
  • These customers are looking to meet higher-than-expected demand and are likely in need of tools to help them get there. 
  • They are ready to make investments to support exponential short term growth and perhaps also long-term growth.

Use this framework to plan discussions with prospects and customers and align your pitch to their needs, so they’re not thrown by the wrong message at the wrong time. 

Be a Trusted Advisor and Partner — Not Just a Vendor 

Put yourself in the customer's shoes and empathise with them: it’s easy to stand out from the competition when you’re genuinely on the customer’s side and showing you care. 

Be strategic in what you try to sell: try to actually solve for the specific problems your customer is facing, not just sell your whole arsenal.

Identify your Most Important Stakeholders and Try Multithread Early

A single point of contact is also a single point of failure. According to LinkedIn’s APAC Sales Trends Report 2022, 81% of sellers lost a deal because they lost a point of contact. Don’t underestimate the power of multithreading, which is building many relationships throughout the company. 81% of sellers

Your most important stakeholders may change in a downturn: CFOs can become more involved in deals during moments like these. Learn more about CFO involvement by listening to Winning Over the Asian CFO by Christophe Randy.


Align Sales and Marketing More Than Ever

Harness the power of digital marketing and sales alignment by leveraging collaborative tools and setting regular check-ins with your Asia marketing team. Providing them regular feedback on which activities are driving sales results most effectively

Optimize Efficiency by Leveraging a Streamlined Tech Stack

The average SMB runs on almost 300 SaaS apps but actively uses only 45% of it.

Streamlining your tech stack can go a long way in helping you do more with less during tough times. Learn more from Romka and Adarsh in How to Sell in Market Downturns.

As buyer’s journeys evolve, the line between these two departments continues to blur. Your sales team might be contacted by someone who’s self-nurtured by reading all of your digital marketing content, or your marketing team might want to re-engage existing leads in your pipeline.

Your marketing and sales teams need to be in close alignment to ensure your company can effectively reach buyers on their terms. Traditional sales and marketing tactics are becoming less and less effective. In their place, cross-functional alignment and collaboration are the keys to scalable growth — and a top-tier customer experience.