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Make a Choice to Grow, Despite Uncertainty.

By Kevin McGirl

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Don’t Be Overwhelmed by the Perfect Economic Storm.

Distributors are battle-weary when it comes to constantly dealing with inflation, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and now a possible recession.

What you do next will determine whether you see an increased bottom line and sustainable growth or fade into the background.

Rather than shrink, make a conscious choice to seize the opportunities in front of you and set yourself up for growth instead.

It may feel counterintuitive in a time of uncertainty, but according to research done by McKinsey:

Companies who have successfully adopted growth mindsets are over two times more likely to outperform.

What does this mean? If you want to continue the growth you’ve probably been experiencing over the past year, you need to make a choice to invest – despite the whispers of a potential recession.

Choosing a growth mindset increases shareholder value. It also inspires innovation among your team. It will push and grow them, attracting top talent to your roster that will catapult your success further.

So, you know that you need to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, but aren’t sure how or if it’s the right strategy for your company during these never-ending unprecedented (or maybe by now they are precedented?) times?

The thing is: If you say yes, you may be one of the few who acts decisively. That will give you an edge that will make you the winner long-term rather than playing catchup after the storm passes.

A Blueprint for Proactive Growth.

With Bloomberg reporting that a U.S. and global recession may be approaching our front doors, will you play defense or offense?

The defensive strategy that companies typically adopt in uncertainty is to protect their bottom line, providing a cushion for loss while keeping shareholders happy. To weather the recession in 2008, companies disbanded their recruitment efforts, instituted layoffs, cut their budgets – and in turn halted innovation and growth. We’ve seen some companies already start to do that in the past month, with big-name corporations laying off hundreds as a preliminary move against a potential slowdown. In the past, this strategy has rewarded companies with stagnation and a longer recovery period – and ultimately fueled the recession.

Rather than hit pause in the face of economic disruption, companies need to design a blueprint for growth. The fastest and strongest way to lay the foundation is to play offense. Invest in the right resources, including technology to improve operational and sales efficiency and secure real-time visibility across your organization when you need it most.

The strategy can pay off. In a survey done by MIT, digitally mature firms are 26% more profitable than their peers. Don’t find yourself in the bottom 74%.

More accessible than ever, technology can be your oxygen today. It should be seen not as a cost but as an investment. Sweeping efforts, like an entirely new business system, aren’t required to have an impact.

Just like self-help books tell you to move in stages, businesses should do the same. Look for add-on solutions like pricing or sales enablement software that can immediately improve efficiencies, visibility and sales efforts. Think in terms of what you need to defend your territory – and push beyond it proactively.

Chances are, you’re going to need to pivot more than once in the next year – just as you’ve done multiple times in the past two years.

One of the distributors we work with sells new trucks. But they couldn’t actually sell new trucks because of part shortages – a big roadblock they had to overcome. So, what to do? Rather than retrench and layoff staff until conditions improved, they pivoted to selling parts to service the trucks that were already on the road. They used AI-enabled sales technology to quickly get up to speed and understand and meet their customers’ needs. The result: They grew sales by over 25%. AI, integrated into their sales-enablement solution, helped their team find opportunities to cross sell or upsell, as well as catch customers who are starting to spend less with them.

AI technology is a just one great example of technology that distributors with a growth mindset are investing in. Growth leaders invest in expanding and deepening their customer experience capabilities to streamline and personalize customer journeys, according to McKinsey. They are 60% more likely to have successfully used AI and advanced analytics to predict customer behaviours and become a "sensing and predicting" organization.

Be Bold. Choose Growth. 

What may seem like the “worst time” to invest in technology is, in fact, a great time, if you do it with a focus, such as improved sales productivity, greater operational efficiencies or improved profitability. Any tool you can give your team to make data easy to access and act upon is going to keep your company ahead. And when the economic threat passes, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors, who will have to play catch up.

As we brace for another economic impact, what will you choose: to retrench or grow?

Kevin McGirl is the president and co-founder of sales-i, a leading provider of sales enablement technology.

This article was originally published in here

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