2014 is coming to a close and businesses in the B2B sector are slowing down. In the B2B sphere, end of year sales can be a time of missed targets and inactivity. This does not have to be the case, however. As a sales solutions partner, we forecast B2B sales trends and take into account seasonality to equip our Sales Scientists™ with the tactics needed to finish out the year strong and setup additional pipeline for the Q4 to Q1 transition.
While on the front line of sales, the expectation we maintain is that the performance to quota sale achieved in a month such as July, should match one in a month like December. Though this is not a completely realistic expectation, sales do still exist. The vast majority of Q4 still offers ample opportunity and with adjusted expectations and constant communication sales quotas can be achieved at year’s end.
Here are the tactics we employ to secure those hard to reach end of year sales numbers:
Build seasonality into established goals for year-end sales. When done properly, Q4 becomes not just a time for hitting or exceeding those goals, but also building pipeline as you head into Q1. Within seasonality, Q1 is comprised of a low goal in January with increased expectations for February-March. In order to achieve results and close deals in those early months, November-December must be full of sales activity.
End of year signifies busy seasons for some industries and slow ones for others. When approaching prospects, there is a strategic need to choose carefully which prospects should sales teams push through the funnel. So while there is an obvious reason to avoid retail based businesses, industries that aren’t reliant on the majority of their business taking place Nov-Dec are viable prospects and should be reached out to.
Price versus Value
If sales teams can reach key decision makers outside of retail-dependent industries, Q4 presents the perfect opportunity to talk about the difference between price and value. Put simply, price is what you pay and value is what you get. As a sales partner, this is when our Inveniologists seize the opportunity to act as advisers and help prospects map the road to their 2015 goals.
Contact rate will be lower than normal, but that’s precisely why activity must be higher. Specifically, sales goals should be readjusted early on to anticipate shortened weeks, missed contacts and uncooperative gatekeepers.
The vast majority of Q4 still offers opportunity to close. It is up to team leaders to constantly relay enthusiasm and encouragement to combat any apathy that may set in as a result of a decreased contact rate. It is imperative to communicate to sales teams that though contact rate may be lower, the conversations that do happen with decisions makers will be more meaningful.
With the help of a true sales solutions partner, even the end of the year can be a time to capitalize and grow business. Equipped with the right strategy and tactics, Q4 holds the potential to not only finish out the year strong, but offers the opportunity to lay out actionable pipeline for the new year.