4 years ago
May 5, 2020

8 Ways to Be a Proactive Sales Leader During a Crisis

A crisis is a time for sales leaders to step up. It’s time to be proactive and take steps to minimize risk and protect the organization. Every decision you make…

Rhys Metler

A crisis is a time for sales leaders to step up. It’s time to be proactive and take steps to minimize risk and protect the organization. Every decision you make will impact the company now and in the future. One thing you don’t want to have is a “wait and see” approach. If you’re reactive, you’ll always be working from behind, putting out fires, and you will make it more challenging to meet your customers’ needs and those of the greater organization.

Here are some important tips from Toronto sales recruiters to take a proactive approach to sales leadership during a crisis:

1. Take Action Now

Now is always the best time to act. How a crisis affects your company depends on many factors. Your location, industry, what you sell, brand, and your crisis management strategy all matter.

Take a look at industry trends, what other companies are predicting, and start taking steps now. Prepare for how the crisis at hand will impact operations:

  • Do you expect sales to drop? If so, how much?
  • How are your customers affected by the crisis?
  • Could there be issues with the supply chain?
  • How should you shift your sales process?
  • Can you expect customers to take longer to make purchase decisions?
  • Will your business become highly focused on a particular product or service?
  • Will there be a surge in sales as the crisis comes to an end?

Do anything you can right now to avoid potential disruptions down the road.

Toronto sales headhunters say now is the time to be proactive

2. Identify Risks and Prepare to Manage Them

Any crisis situation will present a series of new risks and threats to your company, operations, and sales team. It can touch all areas. It’s vital for you to take a proactive approach and start identifying potential issues before they arise. Think about worst-case scenarios and play them out. Develop a strategy around them. Be prepared for anything and everything.

3. Don’t Be Tone Deaf

A crisis is not the time to pretend nothing is going on and people are not affected. With any crisis, there is one underlying thing that matters to the business – how you are going to get through it.

The same applies to your customers and sales reps. Customers are worried about being able to continue operations. Your sales reps are concerned for their wellbeing and jobs.

Forget about what was important before the crisis. Your job now as a leader is to help your sales team and your customers deal with the issues they are having right now. Be flexible and agile. Make some changes to how things are done to be as accommodating as possible.

4. Have a Short Term and Long Term Plan

Things will not automatically go back to normal when the crisis ends. There is also no telling when it will end. Therefore, it’s important to have short and long term plans. Know what you need to do now, day-to-day. But also, have long term goals set for how you will come out of the crisis. Adjust these plans as things change over time.

5. Find Ways to Be More Efficient

Efficiency is critical. Budgets get tighter, and sales get harder to come by during a crisis. Look for ways to operate lean. Are there certain things you can afford to cut or reduce? Are there processes that can be adjusted or evolve as circumstances change? Be on the lookout for ways to be more effective and efficient and help your sales reps do the same.

6. Encourage Innovation

If there was ever a time to be innovative, now is it. There is always an opportunity, even during a crisis. You just need to identify it. Promote a collaborative environment where your sales reps can make suggestions and bring new ideas to the table. Keep an open mind. You never know when an opportunity may present itself.

7. Strengthen Relationships and Partnerships Now

The decisions you make today will affect what happens in the future. This is particularly true for how you treat your sales team, customers, and business partners. Sure, sales may be down, but there is a lot more you can do than trying to sell. Now is the time to foster deeper relationships. Spend time on training and development with reps. Be a trusted consultant for your customers. Find ways to support your business partners or look for new ways to collaborate. Building stronger relationships now will help position you well for when the crisis comes to an end.

8. Always Be Recruiting

How your sales reps react to a crisis situation can be very telling of their skill and potential. Be on the lookout for people who step up. It’s also important to keep building relationships with the talent you were recruiting prior to the crisis.

More Sales Leadership Advice From Toronto Sales Headhunters

Great sales leaders know there is always something new to learn. Check out these insightful blogs by our expert sales recruiters. They are packed with tips for how to manage your sales team, deal with a crisis, and improve your sales management techniques:

6 Tips for Managing a Remote Sales Team

7 Ways to Be a Leader in a Time of Crisis

8 Signs That It’s Time to Expand Your Sales Team

Top 6 Challenges Sales Managers Face & How to Deal With Them

Hiring a Sales Director? 6 Things to Look for on Resumes to Find the Best of the Best

5 Things Sales Managers Wish They Knew Before Taking the Job


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.