How Sales Leaders Lead Through Disruption

Thriving in times of uncertainty

Leading sales through uncertainty

Economic cycles of expansion and contraction are an unpredictable reality. Untimely response to such turns can set up sales teams for failure. For CSOs, risk management related to the COVID-19 pandemic extends beyond the sales organization to risks originating in the customer ecosystem and the supply chain. The planning and execution decisions CSOs make today will help the sales organization to weather the crisis as it unfolds — and position sales well for the recovery phase when it comes.

70% of sales leaders express low confidence in their ability to translate strategy into action.

At a time where leadership is being tested in its ability to navigate uncharted waters, it was a moment of sanity and clarity to speak with others facing the exact same challenges. I'm thankful to Gartner for their proactive approaches during this time.


Cost management as a long-term strategy, not just a short-term margin play

During disruption, sales leaders’ first instincts are to stop discretionary spending, lay off staff, reduce training and cut capital investments. A poor balance between revenue generation and cost-effectiveness can put sales growth at risk or drive up the cost of sales. The key to the problem is to get ahead of difficult cost management decisions and explore cost-optimization strategies that focus on long-term, productivity-oriented investments. Gartner can help you avoid these pitfalls and provide immediate relief by: 

  • Prioritizing lower-risk cost reduction strategies

  • Controlling select sales compensation expenses

  • Mitigating general sales force reductions

A bar graph displaying the spectrum of cost cutting into cost management.

Developing sales teams to outperform during disruption

As organizations become prone to uncertain conditions, they risk losing their best talent by hampering seller creativity and innovation in individual deals. CSOs should proactively develop a strategy for talent management that encourages managers to train in a way that promotes recession-proof skills and maximizes retention of high-performing sellers. Gartner can help you avoid these pitfalls and provide immediate relief by: 

  • Prioritizing lower-risk cost reduction strategies

  • Controlling select sales compensation expenses

  • Mitigating general sales force reductions

Skilled sellers who operate in a team climate characterized by high levels of autonomy, collaboration and creativity are 15% more likely to stay with an organization.

Insights you can use

The current environment is creating another turn for companies to pass through.  Gartner’s strategic account management insights, advice and tools help position sales organizations to succeed during economic uncertainty. 

CSO Actions in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 crisis is evolving by the day, chief sales officers (CSOs) and sales leaders need quick perspectives to ensure they are taking the right actions for their organizations, employees, shareholders and themselves. Learn how Gartner can help CSOs confidently make decisions during uncertain times. 

Sales Enablement Leaders Actions in Response to COVID-19

Learn the recommendations and actions 90+ sales enablement leaders are currently taking in four key areas during COVID-19. 

Sales Operations Leaders Actions in Response to COVID-19

There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the time it will take for businesses to return to their pre-COVID-19 operating levels. Learn the initial reactions and near-term priorities of 50+ Sales Operations Leaders across three key areas. 

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How Gartner supports account management

Brian Jacowitz, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Black Box, shares how Gartner supports him and his team through the account planning process.

Gartner topic experts

Gartner's sales experts support a range of activities around key account management. Meet a few of our leaders.

Matt Dudek headshot

Brent Adamson
Distinguished VP, Advisory
Tom Cosgrove headshot

Maria Boulden
VP, Executive Partner
Brent Adamson headshot

Scott Collins
VP, Team Manager

Tom Cosgrove
Sr Director, Advisory

Dave Egloff
Sr Director Analyst

Liam Kelly
Sr Director, Advisory
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Danielle McKinley
Director, Advisory

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