As the temperature rises during the summer months, many companies see their sales results drop accordingly.
This isn’t a huge surprise. The sales industry has typically struggled during the summer season, due largely to both prospects and your own reps spending a lot of time out of the office on vacation at the beach. What can you do to snap your team out of these blisteringly hot summer doldrums?
A lot, as it turns out. Here are 7 tips to beat the heat and ensure that summers for your sales team don’t go to waste.
Plan well in advance
It might be too late to realistically do anything about this summer’s sales results, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next summer. If you know that you will see a drop-off in both new opportunities and old opportunities who are ready to buy, you should prime your sales pipeline well in advance to meet this shortfall.
Keep your sales cycle in mind before you begin this full-scale prospecting experiment. If you have a two month sales cycle, make sure that your reps prospect heavily in April and May next year. Schedule some of your strongest marketing campaigns for that time period. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you’ll have an even greater pipeline coverage in June, July and August, even higher than what your typical pipeline-to-quota ratio demands.
Change your pitch
Your prospects are usually too wrapped up in the moment and focused on their summer vacation plans to think about the second half of the year. Maybe a wake-up call about how your product or service can help them overcome pain points specific to them and help them achieve their end-of-year goals will resonate more loudly with them. Frame your pitch around giving them a leg-up on their competitors; while those competitors are sunning themselves on a beach somewhere, your prospect is actively doing things to give them an edge, like buying your product.
Focus more on networking and events
If prospects aren’t picking up the phones during the summer, you might be better off sending your reps to networking events and conferences where they can get face-to-face time with other prospects. You could even send your reps to conferences in sunny, summery locations to give them a little treat while they’re at it. As a bonus, attendance for networking events are usually sparser during the summer – your reps will stand out as dedicated attendees, and have less competition to fend off.
Adjust your quotas accordingly
Expectations are everything in life. Gird yourself against disappointment during the summer by adjusting your quotas accordingly to reflect the realities and difficulties of the summer selling season. You can always make up that shortfall in another part of the year, when sales will be more robust and prospects more receptive.
Offer a summer discount
It’s not an ideal situation – you never want to give up your business’ margins unnecessarily – but the reality is that negotiating for discounts is an unavoidable reality of B2B sales. Embrace this reality as a solution to your summer sales slump by putting a greater emphasis on this during these months. Prospects willing to drag their feet and let the sale rollover into the fall might gain a greater sense of urgency to buy if you dangle a time-exclusive discount in front of them.
Explore reconverted leads or a closed-lost campaign
This isn’t likely to move the needle much, but turning to a set of reconverted leads or looking into a closed-lost campaign might be a helpful salve for the summer. After all, these prospects already have some familiarity with you and your company, thereby sparing you the need to make lengthy initial introductions and allowing you to shorten your sales cycle. Some of these previously dismissed prospects might be just the right fit during the summer months.
Maintain morale among your reps
Finally, it’s important to never use the word “slump” around your sales reps. It is imperative that you maintain morale and a sense of optimism, even if and when sales are struggling.
You could also adopt an attitude of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” with your sales reps. Take advantage of the summer weather by giving your reps seasonal-based incentives, such as Summer Fridays if they hit their weekly goals. By doing so, your sales reps won’t be beaten down by the natural pessimism that envelopes the sales industry when the weather gets hot.
Summers aren’t necessarily the best time for raw sales results, but it doesn’t mean that the season has to be a waste! It all depends on how you look at it and how you approach this unique seasonal challenge. Follow these tips and you too can have an enjoyable summer, while keeping your sales results strong.