During December while most retailers are busy dealing with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s much slower for the majority of B2B sales teams. Over the last several weeks of each year, most of your clients are busy closing out their books and setting their budget for the next year, with little room left to spend in the current one. Beyond that, most of your contacts are probably in and out of the office, taking half-days and holiday time. And even if the holidays aren’t a slow period for you, it’s probable that your sales are somewhat cyclical, giving you off-peak months where sales just aren’t aggressively rolling in.
Being a successful salesperson means finding ways to turn these off-peak weeks into something more valuable. To help you out, here are six things you can do to facilitate future sales when current accounts are hard to come by:
1. Fine-tuning templates
Automation is a great way to engage with your customers without having to spend all your time managing each campaign. During the holidays, it’s the perfect time to create these templates or fine-tune the ones you already have in place. Make sure they’re professionally branded and customized to each customer’s place in the sales cycle. Take a look at which templates are generating results and which ones aren’t, and tweak them accordingly. When your customers are ready to start spending again, you’ll already have great content to automatically send them.
2. Map out purchasing processes
The holiday season is the perfect time to ask questions that give you more insight into your most important clients’ buying processes. For example, some of them might have fiscal years that end in a month other than December, leaving them more wiggle room to make purchases now. Others might even have a budget surplus, forcing them to spend money lest they lose their budget for the upcoming year. Understanding these processes further allows you to sell more and will help you forecast sales more accurately in the future.
3. Taking time to train
Sales training provides a variety of great benefits for a sales team. Morale and retention improve as your salespeople feel like you’re investing time and money in them. Confidence improves as they’re given the skills that they need to grow. Most importantly, these newly acquired skills will help your team secure and retain more accounts.
4. Focus your efforts
During the holidays, you might simply need to focus your efforts when it comes to what you’re trying to pitch. Annual products, such as yearlong licenses or service contracts, are the perfect types of sales to push during the holidays. If you have a number of these lined up for January or February, you can try to get them renewed in December instead, allowing your customers to save next year’s budget for bigger projects and boosting your revenue before you wrap up your firm’s fiscal year.
5. Digging deeper into existing accounts
You can try to use the hectic holiday season to your advantage by reaching accounts you haven’t had much success with yet. After all, if your competition isn’t taking the time to call them, you might have a chance to make that connection for the first time.
It’s also an opportune time to dig further into accounts you already have one or two contacts for. If your main contact takes a vacation, reach out to the person filling in for them and introduce yourself. Ask if there’s anybody else in the organization that would be worth engaging too.
6. Just saying hello
One of the hardest parts of managing a large portfolio of business contacts is that a handful are bound to slip through the cracks, leaving you scrambling for relevant ways to reach back out to them. The holidays are the perfect time to do just that. You can send them a thoughtful holiday card or just a quick email letting them know you’re wishing them a happy celebration and would like to reconnect sometime after the holiday season ends. Then in mid-January, you could reach back out, rekindle the connection and start selling to them again.
As a salesperson or sales manager, it’s easy to take a laid-back approach during the holidays as you enjoy the office parties and your paid time off. Taking a break to enjoy yourself is great, but it’s also important to make the most of your time in the office. Outworking your competition during the holiday season will have a dramatic impact on the bottom-line, whether you selling anything extra in December or not.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also does marketing at Conversio (your all-in-one ecommerce marketing dashboard), Tenfold (your modern phone intelligence platform) and Big Drop Inc. (your preferred web design and development partner). To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.