Every year around this time, sales reps may start thinking about what they would ask Santa for Christmas, given the chance: More leads, because every sales team is always on the lookout for new prospects. Simple legal negotiations to speed up those drawn-out but necessary contract proceedings. A bluebird, or a rare deal that comes out of nowhere and is a perfect fit for your company, because who doesn’t love receiving a gift they wanted but didn’t think they were getting?
And, while all of these wishes are something a sales rep could hypothetically receive (especially if they’ve made the nice list this year), there’s one holiday present reps can give realistically themselves this year through planning and thinking ahead: meeting their end-of-year sales goals.
As any good business-to-business salesperson knows, deals can really start to slow during this time of the year. Prospects begin traveling, getting sick or mentally checking out, making the chances of closing a deal a before the holidays much lower. So, how can a sales rep close the remaining deals he or she has, without hounding their lead? Here are a few tips closing those last, elusive deals before the holidays.
Also Read: Interview with Chris Rothstein, CEO, Groove
Action Plan to Achieve EOY Sales Targets
To close those last few deals, your sales team should take the following steps:
- Start early and a create sales strategy in advance: Your team should develop a “final sprint” sales strategy today and use it to guide you through the last few weeks of the month. Design this strategy to have the bulk of your work completed in the first two weeks of the month, and use the last 1-2 weeks for finalizing contract details. The next aspect of this plan should include a risk review of every remaining deal in your pipeline. For this, you should examine the risk of losing a potential deal before pursuing it more intensely. You should know the next 2-3 actions to take in each deal before the clients start to check out for the holidays in order to react quickly should the timeline change. This includes planning any meetings now, preemptively scheduling emails to send on a specific date and keeping any communications brief but concise.
- Optimize your content and its timing: Most people don’t check their emails the day of holiday celebrations, but we have had great success in the past sending our prospects optimized content during holiday weekends. People only scroll through their emails every now and then over the holidays to ensure they haven’t missed anything pressing, so you should be respectful of their time and attention. Craft your subject lines to be concise and direct regarding the reason for your email. For the body, stay to-the-point, list specific action items for the person to take and tell them you will follow-up in a few days’ time. By doing this, you’re showing that you respect their time off, all while remaining on their radar.
- Incentivize your employees: Incentivize your employees to power through the holiday slump with programs like call blitzes and SPIFs (Sales Promotion Incentive Funds). Sales reps notoriously love a little friendly competition, and the idea of some extra holiday cash would certainly motivate them to stay focused as your company closes out the year.
- Incentivize your clients: Sometimes your prospective clients may be on the fence about closing a deal and ask to think about it until after the holiday. This is one of the riskiest things you can agree to, because the longer you let a deal sit, the more likely you are to lose it. You and your sales team need to get a little creative and incentivize your leads to close the deal before end-of-year: add an opt-out clause that allows the customer to use the product or service for a trial period (that ends after the New Year), offer a quarterly contract rather than yearly one, etc.
The end of a year is always a slower time for B2B sales, so reduce some of this risk by planning in advance and getting a little creative, and your EOY sales targets will thank you. While the techniques listed above are useful for achieving those final, elusive targets, keep in mind that this is also the time for celebrating your team and its accomplishments. The end of the year is perfect for reflecting on how things are going in your company overall, boosting team morale and celebrating your culture. Use this time to take the lessons you’ve learned from the entire year to craft an effective strategy for next year.
Recommended Read: Is Data Slowing Down Your Sales Rep?