Continuing uncertainty within the economy may have led to a drop in economic activity during October. The Chicago Federal Reserve's National Activity Index decreased to -0.56 during the month of September as fears of the Federal fiscal cliff continue to discourage investment.

Congress is debating solutions to the pending financial crisis and the uncertainty of a resolution makes it difficult for businesses to plan their future. Additionally, global issues such as a slowing economy in China and a recession in Europe have limited the potential for expansion. All of these factors discourage businesses from spending money on new endeavors leading to the drop in activity in October.

Even the consumer market is facing additional financial strain as debt levels remain high and salaries are stretched to their limit. Companies in either the consumer or the B2B sectors face difficult challenges in securing new sales during these periods of uncertainty. Proper sales performance management can teach sales staff to overcome the challenges within the market to nurture new leads and complete transactions.

During periods of economic uncertainty, potential clients take longer to nurture, requiring more time and resources from sales departments. Addressing these challenges can help staff members improve their performance and create steady revenue for their companies. Additionally, documentation, educational materials or websites provide the means to keep targeted consumers moving along the sales process, but this strategy should also focus on properly training employees to identify ways to cut through prospects' buying resistances and build trust.

Anyone can sell during good economic times. When businesses and consumers feel confident in their financial security, it is easy to find buyers, but when time are tough, getting clients to spend their money requires showing them the value they will gain in return. Smart companies will focus on promoting the benefits of their products and how they will help the client. This is especially true in the B2B sector. Companies will want to invest in tools and solutions that improve the efficiency of their operations and allow them to cut costs or streamline production. Identifying and understanding how the product can help organizations accomplish their goals may lead to additional purchases.

Strong sales coaching helps employees improve their ability to coordinate solutions for clients. The key to maintaining strong sales during tough economic periods may lie with boosting the skills of sales staff. Focusing on building knowledgeable staff allows companies to build trust and overcome resistances to complete transactions.