Most of our clients are reporting a noticeable increase in business activity and companies are again opening their wallets and making buying decisions. As we begin to exit one of the worst recessions on record many companies are hoping that things will soon return to normal, but most economists are predicting that this will be a jobless recovery. As companies were forced to reduce their workforces they had to do more work with less people. Many found that their remaining workers were more motivated due to fear of further cuts and their productivity increased; some companies simply reduced headcount and hoped they could hang on until the economy returned to normal.
We believe that due to the severity of the recession and the cautious hiring stance being taken by many companies a "New Normal" has emerged. Enlightened companies are looking at ways to streamline their processes and investing in tools rather than headcount to improve efficiency. In this New Normal era hiring managers will be challenged by executive teams on any requests for additional headcount. ROI requirements will replace the "I think we need more people" plea. Sales organizations will not be immune from the New Normal. The days of measuring cost of sales as a percentage of revenue are over. Sales leaders need to implement new processes for lead identification, lead nurturing, and for providing their sales teams qualified sales opportunities to pursue. Finding ways to make your highest cost and most valuable employees more productive won't be easy. Old school approaches will need to be abandoned and new investments will need to be made, but the cost of change is much less than the cost of failure.
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