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Grace Under Fire: How to Prepare Your Sales Pipeline for 2021 2020 has been a kick in the teeth for businesses, but flexibility and agility can help any team bounce back.

By Mark Thacker

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Vladimir Vladimirov | Getty Images

Due to the havoc wreaked by the twin crises of 2020 — the global health emergency and the economic recession — every business has been forced to change the way it approaches sales.

More specifically, the crises completely upended businesses' sales planning. Economies around the world are cautiously reopening, but business in four specific sectors — restaurants, manufacturing, retail, and travel — could face a long and difficult recovery. These industries, which were hardest hit by the recession, could take more than five years to bounce back to previous GDP levels.

Businesses that lacked a flexible contingency operations plan were significantly impacted. It's always easier to establish a plan before there is a problem and make adjustments as you go rather than try to create a plan amid a crisis — or just try to wing it. That said, there are lessons to be learned from those examples that you can apply to your own sales strategy and contingency plan for the future.