How To Get Leads During An Economic Downturn

  • February 12, 2024

It’s no secret that the current economy is tough.

In fact, the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic slashed the world’s collective GDP by 3.4%, which resulted in a lost economic output of two trillion US dollars.

As a result, sales development representatives (SDRs) are feeling the pressure to generate leads more than ever.

But despite the challenges, there are still plenty of ways to get leads during an economic downturn. In this article, I’ll outline 7 of them.

My name is Jed Mahrle the Head of Outbound Sales at Mailshake, and these ideas are an extract of my decade long journey in sales.

7 ways to get leads during an economic downturn

1. Adapt your Messaging

I believe that adapting your messaging is the most important step to take when it comes to generating leads during an economic downturn.

Many SDRs are still pretending that all is good, which gives birth to wrong messaging at the wrong time.

So instead of pretending that everything is going well, admit that the economy is going through a (very) tough time, and make sure your messaging reflects this.

So how can you do this? One easy way is to reduce the focus on the positives in your messaging and talk more about the negative impact of not solving the problem your product solves.

For example, if you’re a software provider, talk more about the productivity and efficiency losses your customer would experience without your product. Less positives and more negatives.

2. Increase Sales Activity

This is a no-brainer, but it’s where most average sales reps fall behind the superstars.

Remember, the world is going through a recession, and budget cuts and layoffs are inevitable. This will naturally cause you to miss out on more deals, and to make up for it, you’ll need to increase your sales activity.

So if you used to make 10 calls a day, try increasing it to 15 or 20. If you used to send out 50 emails a day, try doubling it to 100.

By increasing your sales activity, you’ll be able to generate more leads and eventually more sales even in a tough economy. Common sense, right?

3. Don’t Ignore the Fundamentals

This is one of the hardest times to generate leads that you’ll ever come across. So don’t ignore the fundamentals that SDRs are well aware of.

Focus on generating quality leads, following up with them often, and keeping your pipeline clean and organized.

I also recommend sticking to a multi-threaded sales strategy, where you approach multiple decision-makers on the buying side. This will give you the best chance of success in a tough economy.

Remember, times are tough and shortcuts won’t work.

4. Fortify your Meeting Requests with an Offer

This is one of my favorite tips for lead generation during tough times.

When you reach out to prospects, don’t just ask them for a meeting. Instead, fortify your request with an offer.

For example, if you’re a SaaS provider, you can offer prospects a free trial or demo of your product that’s specific to their needs.

Or if you’re a consultancy, you can offer to do a free audit to help them identify areas of improvement they can make in their business.

This will make your prospect feel like they’re getting something for free, which can be a great motivator in tough times.

In case you’re wondering, we’re currently offering free deliverability audits to our prospects at Mailshake (and it’s working great).

5. Focus on Accounts that are still Hiring

We talked about increasing your sales activity above. But at the same, you should also focus and prioritize those prospects that are still hiring.

That’s because if a company is hiring, it means it’s growing and probably has some budget to spare.

So when you’re looking for warm prospects, try to find those accounts that are still hiring and prioritize them over those that are not. This is a great way to find prospects that are still open to buying your product.

But how do you find out if a prospect is hiring?

One way is to browse their job listings, but that’s time-consuming. An easier way is to use tools like LinkedIn, Sales Navigator, and Crunchbase to find companies that are growing.

6. Focus on Niche Markets

Another great way to generate leads during a recession is to focus on niche markets.

For example, if you’re selling a SaaS tool, you can target niche markets like healthcare and education. These markets are usually less impacted by economic downturns and therefore may be more open to buying your product.

But once again, don’t focus too much on the positives of your product. In other words, don’t emphasize on how your product can help them with a positive outcome. Instead, focus on how ignoring your product might impact them negatively.

7. Highlight Efficiency

Of course, you’ll want to focus on at least some positives of your product in your messaging. Out of these positives, make sure to highlight efficiency the most.

That’s because during an economic downturn, people want to save money and time. So if you can demonstrate how your product will help them do just that, then you’ll have a much better chance at generating leads.

For example, let’s say you’re selling an AI-driven customer support platform. You can highlight how your prospect’s customers can get their questions answered faster with your platform, and thus reduce their costs in the process.

The key here is to focus on efficiency and cost-savings in order to make your product more attractive in tough times.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it — 7 ideas to help you generate leads during an economic downturn.

Remember, times are tough and shortcuts won’t work. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get creative with your sales tactics.

Focus on accounts that are still hiring, offer something for free when requesting a meeting, highlight how your product can increase your prospect’s efficiency, and focus on niche markets.

These ideas should help you stay afloat in a tough economy. Good luck!

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