Downturn Deal

Published on January 8, 2024 by Sawyer Middeleer

Downturn Deal

In an economic downturn, the B2B market transforms significantly. Budget cuts, delayed purchasing decisions, and increased scrutiny of investments become the norm as companies strive to safeguard their bottom lines. Such an environment entails navigating a labyrinth of financial caution and risk aversion. However, for astute businesses, a downturn isn't just a period of survival but an opportunity to thrive by securing 'downturn deals.'

Understanding how to secure and leverage deals during these inevitable cycles is crucial for maintaining momentum and potentially capitalizing on the market's unique conditions. This comprehensive article will offer insights into navigating a downturn to not only weather the storm but potentially emerge stronger.

Shift to a Value-Centric Approach

In a vibrant economy, companies may indulge in forward-thinking investments or experimental tools. Downturn shifts priorities towards immediate, tangible value. Your sales proposition must adapt accordingly.

  1. Reassess your pricing structures. Flexible pricing models could be more appealing than fixed costs in tighter budget scenarios. Consider offering modular services or performance-based pricing.
  2. Demonstrate a clear ROI. Every dollar counts during a downturn, so prove how your offering either saves money, boosts revenue or, ideally, does both.
  3. Align with core needs. Fringe benefits take a backseat to essential services. Reframe your product as not 'nice-to-have' but as 'critical infrastructure' for your clients.

Strengthen Customer Relationships

During a downturn, the hard sell approach may backfire as businesses become cautious. Shifting focus from acquiring new customers to deepening existing relationships can yield better dividends.

  1. Enhance customer support. Go above and beyond with your current clientele. This loyalty can lead to renewals and referrals, which are gold in a downturn.
  2. Focus on customer success. It's more cost-effective to upsell or cross-sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. Understand their evolving needs and tailor solutions accordingly.
  3. Be a strategic advisor. Don’t just push products; offer actionable advice that can help companies navigate the downturn. Positioning your company as a trusted advisor can yield future dividends as the economy recovers.

Target the Right Prospects

Not all sectors are equally impacted by an economic downturn. Some may even thrive. Tailor your prospecting to focus on industries that are stable or growing despite economic headwinds.

  1. Conduct market analysis. Use real-time data and tools (like Aomni) to identify which industries are still investing in solutions like yours.
  2. Tailor your messaging. Create industry-specific content that speaks to the unique challenges of sectors that are still thriving.
  3. Be strategic about outreach. Use data-driven insights to inform your prospecting efforts and ensure you're reaching out to opportunities with the highest probability of closing.

Adjust Your Sales Strategy

Traditional sales strategies may not cut it in a downturn. Instead, they need to be strategic, empathetic, and highly attuned to the current market conditions and pressures faced by prospects.

  1. Flexibility in the sales process. Be willing to negotiate terms or adapt your typical sales cycle to match the prospect's current procurement processes.
  2. Longer nurturing cycles. Sales cycles usually elongate as decision-making slows. Invest in nurturing leads throughout the extended timeline while continuously demonstrating value.
  3. Emphasize long-term partnerships. Rather than quick wins, encourage discussions around long-term strategic value and partnerships, offering stability to prospects in uncertain times.

Maximize Efficiency and Strengthen Internal Teams

During tough times, efficiency becomes the watchword. Maximize your team's productivity by refining processes and targeting efforts where they're likely to have the most impact.

  1. Prioritize high-impact activities. Analyze your sales funnel and focus efforts on activities that drive results.
  2. Refocus on training. Upskill your sales team to cope with the unique challenges of selling during a downturn.
  3. Leverage technology. Use CRM and sales automation tools to streamline tasks, maintain pipelines, and facilitate remote work if required.

Be Prepared for Recovery

While it’s crucial to adapt to the downturn, it’s also important to plan for recovery. Those who are prepared when the market rebounds will have a significant advantage.

  1. Stay informed. Keep abreast of market trends and indicators of economic recovery.
  2. Invest in innovation. Use this slower period to innovate and develop new products or enhancements that address emerging post-downturn needs.
  3. Maintain marketing efforts. While it’s tempting to cut marketing budgets, maintaining visibility ensures your brand is top-of-mind when spending resumes.


Securing downturn deals and thriving in challenging economic times requires a strategic shift in your B2B approach. It demands a deep understanding of your customers' evolving needs, a commitment to long-term relationships, and an ability to demonstrate indisputable value.

While these times test our resilience, they also forge stronger businesses - those that can prove their worth in adversity are often the ones that lead the market in prosperity. It's not just about weathering the storm; it's about setting the sails to catch the wind most effectively when the skies clear. Focusing on your clients, adapting your sales tactics, and targeting the right prospects, while maintaining an efficient internal operation, are strategies that will help ensure your B2B startup doesn’t just survive a downturn, but thrives during one.

Take your workflow to the next level