Reboot your sales pipeline and recover from the summer slowdown
In most B2B sales environments, summer is a quiet season. Decision makers are on holiday. Or even if they’re in the office, there are enough people on vacation that purchasing decisions are often delayed. Summer slowdown can be frustrating, especially if sales teams are behind on targets.
For those working through summer, or those just getting back from a week or two break, there are ways to reboot after the slowdown, and hopefully, avoid the same next year. In this article, we look at how to reboot and recover from a slow summer, and steps to proactively take before the summer in future years.
How to recover from a slow sales summer?
Something to remember about summer: Not every one of your prospects is going to be on holiday every day during the summer. Work still gets done. It sometimes takes longer, but business still happens.
Recovering from a slower summer requires a renewal of focus.
Focus on your most viable prospects. If you’ve kept in contact during the summer, then use the end of August and start of September to shift back into gear. Ask them what they did, where they went? Arrange a call, online demo, or an in-person meeting.
Do the same with the accounts (current clients) whom you’ve been in contact with during the summer. More often than not, these are the ones that are the most viable prospects. Whatever you do after the quieter weeks/months, make sure the renewal of focus is spent on the most active accounts and/or prospects in the pipeline.
After that, start prospecting more proactively. Get as many new leads into the pipeline as possible. Now, let’s take a moment to consider ways to avoid summer slow-downs in future years.
Future steps: How to avoid slow summers
In part, this depends on your sales cycle and average timescale from initial contact to a sale completing (for completely new clients).
For the sake of an example, let’s imagine your average sales cycle is 3-months. So, if you are worried about maintaining an active sales campaign in summer, you need to be thinking about those that should close in July — August entering the pipeline in April. Think 3 months ahead. If you’ve got a longer sales cycle, plan even further ahead.
The same goes for the last few months of the year, from September onwards, when most professionals in a B2B environment get busier. Decisions are made. Sales confirmed. During these months, you should aim to close the deals that came in before and during summer, while focusing on filling the pipeline with viable leads for the start of the new year.
However, for many salespeople, this can cause two layers of panic: Get enough in the pipeline for the new year, while still trying to hit this years goals. Why else do so many change jobs in January? For those working for a company where they’re not a good fit, or who’ve failed to hit target, the rollover from one year into the next is prime moving season for salespeople.
One way to avoid this is to proactively plan ahead in the run up to summer, and then use summer as prospecting season for the new year. This way, you’re already a couple steps ahead of yourself and one busy period rolls more smoothly into another, making it easier to consistently hit targets.
Unless you’ve got a lead/demand generation team scheduling meetings for you, or an amazing marketing team feeding you qualified leads every day, then you need to be proactively hunting. Of course, keep looking after your clients. Keep selling to your accounts; but remember that growth is only going to be maintained when you bring in new customers.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
An effective combination, and if you combine with email then getting an out-of-office (OOO) isn’t a roadblock, simply a delay. In fact, OOOs can be useful: It gives you an immediate opener, an icebreaker that neatly pivots into asking what a prospects goals are for the rest of the year.
Referrals are powerful.
Get enough of them and you’ve got a self-perpetuating sales machine.
Reviews are equally useful.
Often, these value-driving sales tactics are overlooked during the account management process. Learn to make them a normal part of how you engage and interact with clients, as a useful way to sell more and hit sales targets.
Something else that isn’t discussed in sales often enough. How to demo a product/service to prospects that want more information straight away?
With inbound leads or referrals, it could be the case that a buyer is in a hurry. If they can’t get the information they need from you they’ll search elsewhere for a competing solution.
One way to avoid missing these golden opportunities is to have the ability to offer instant online demos. With CrankWheel, you can do this whether a prospect is at their desk or on-the-go. They don’t need to download anything: you can jump on an instant demo and qualify them as a lead quickly and instantly.
Proactively avoiding a summer slump isn’t limited to one tactic or approach.
It really comes down to being proactive all year. To ensure you’ve got enough in the pipeline to keep you busy, even during the months when decision making takes longer and sales slow down.
Originally published at CrankWheel blog.