Sales in a changing economy.

What we’re seeing happen right now in business development.

Time Stamp: August 2023.

Sit Rep: Business leaders are very cautious.
Typically, leaders are asking themselves questions such as.

  • Will we slip into recession?
  • Have interest rates stopped rising? 
  • Does unemployment remain this low? 
  • Will prices keep rising?

Our Sales As A Service business is very busy, every week we meet with 3 or 4 new potential clients.

Why is this important?

Because it tells us business leaders are trying to de risk as much of their business as possible. New sales hires are a high-risk decision. Outsourcing allows them to de risk some of that – albeit at the cost of some control.

If you’re like most, you spend a lot of time thinking and evaluating your offer, your company, your industry.  You’re an expert at selling, transacting and delivering your ‘thing’. Whatever that thing is.

As a result, it is likely you don’t have a lot of visibility into what’s really going on outside of your company, industry, sector. Outside your ‘bubble’.

Because, at SDA, we sell across sectors industries and services, we get an unusual snapshot of what’s working, and what’s not, more generically.

From time to time, we collate what all those signals look like and when possible I can share them with you.


Things have changed so we have to change our perspective.

  1. Phone is working well, but…
  2. Conversation attainment requires more attempts than you think..
  3. Reframe your speed to result.
  4. A sneak peek inside one of our recent campaigns.

1: What about tactics? Phone. 

We recently crunched the numbers on hundreds of ANZ dials we’ve made to CFO’s, Head of Finance, CIO’s & Head of Procurement.

I invite you to read this post on who picks up, when and who doesn’t.

If you’re doing outreach and want more details on stats and tactics, maybe watch this 30 min webinar replay (July 2023)

Phone is working a treat as long as you can nail the first few seconds as everyone has cold call fatigue.

In our experience, none of the PBO (Permission based openers) are working as well as other trainers or software suppliers suggest.

Instead take a non-sales approach to a conversation. Try leading with curiosity.

2: More attempts are required.

Most interesting to us was, we found you really need to be making between 3 and 4 attempts (Dials) within a short time frame in order to talk to your executive of choice.

The average pickup happened after 2.8 attempts!!!
Some of the cadence we use only had two or three called scheduled. Once we knew this new stat, we had to go back and re-build some cadence out to at least four calls in order to give us at least a reasonable chance of a conversation.

It also gave us some safety in knowing that we needed to place at least 4 dials and not doubt our cadence effectiveness when we don’t get conversations on dial 1 or 2. .

Have a look at your current number of attempts at conversation, are you making 4 dials? Chances are you’re giving up before you’ve given the prospect a chance to answer. 

NB: In relation to phone calls for new business, I strongly suggest you only use validated numbers.

Making calls effectively is hard. So, do it together.

We found this at SDA and I’ll bet it’s true for your team as well.

As soon as Kevin (My business partner) and I start doing more admin and stop getting on the call blocks with the team, our team’s success drops right off.

As soon as we get back on the call block and involved, the team’s results improve by 35%.

What does this mean for the scalability of SDA – I don’t know. 

What does it mean for you? Your team will get better results if you create a no excuses environment and, most importantly, lead the way.

I know we all wish we were too senior to make outbound calls, the reality is that’s never really going to be true.

3: Slow Down to Speed up.

There is not a lot that is being bought quickly these days. Especially if you’re selling a more expensive solution.

So accept that deals will take longer to transact and more of those deals will become stalled. This is our new reality.

Trying to push things through quickly will usually result in you being disqualified as a possible vendor. When buyers feel rushed, trust is lost and other vendor options are explored.

We’ve made more sales and booked more meetings as a result of being prepared to have a second or third conversion with prospects to help people feel safe about the sales process. I’m actively slowing the process down to make buyers feel safer.

Take a stand against your leadership if they’re asking for transactions to happen at the same speed as before. This is just not the case today.

For evidence to support your claim simply look inside your company.

  • Has recruiting been paused? 
  • New projects on hold? 
  • Is the CFO taking a long look at any and all requests for spending?

Well your customers are exactly the same.

The best way to overcome these challenges is to have more in your pipeline. (I know boring & predictable advice).

Under normal conditions, for every deal you close you should replace that with 4 new opportunities. In this market, replace that closed/ won or lost deal with 6 new & fresh opportunities.

Why? If you have more deals on the go and one moves out by 3 months, or worse is de-prioritised, you’ll still have many others that may land.

4: Outbound Campaign overview:

Got a tough market to engage with? Why not send them something and use that as an excuse to give them a call.

Number Plate project.

Recently we had a client who had just 22 prospects they wanted to speak with. In our pre-campaign research, only 4 picked up their mobile when we pre-called.

So we knew we had to create a more compelling reason for them to chat with us.

With only 22 possible meetings, if our outreach missed or didn’t resonate, it was going to be a problem for the client.

We created mini personalised number plates and sent them via Austpost. (Cost about $50 each posted).

We then waited for them to be delivered and used them as an excuse to start a conversation.

Quick background. 

Our client provides customised, AI workflow solutions, specific for the auto-industry.. By providing a personalised number plate, we tied it together with the customised AI solution.

It’s a thin connection but in the conversation to drive a meeting and with the reciprocity of a truly personalised gift it was strong enough.

We end up with 16 conversations and 5 booked meetings. (Campaign’s tail is still waging, so we might get a bit more out of it yet)

Here’s the cadence we used.


Day 1: Call
Day 2: Call, SMS or VM, Email
Day 4: Call, Call Office, Reply Email

Day 6: Call, SMS, Email.

Note that we made sure we have 4 dials.

All we did in each of the outreach methods was lean heavily on the ‘gift’ of the mini-personalised number plate.

This is what effective outreach needs to look like in 2023.
Lower numbers, a smarter approach, good conversations and high meetings booked rates.

Whilst these insights might seem predictable, (increased attempts + More pipeline + Slow down + Deeper personalisation) we’ve proven this through data obtained by managing dozens of different outreach campaigns in the last few months.

So it should give you some comfort as to what direction you should take. 

I hope you’ve found this helpful.
If you have any questions about what we are doing, how we are doing it in relation to outbound. Hit me up for a chat, a coffee or a beer.

📊 Until next time, do good things

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