Conquering the Holiday Slow Period in B2B Sales
While the holiday season means increased sales numbers for the average B2C business, it typically means declining figures for B2B organizations. This is only natural, as people tend to take time off, go on vacation, or check out for other unknown reasons. However, despite a less active market, there are still ways to remain profitable and bolster your sales numbers before the end of the year. You just have to know some helpful tips, techniques, and secrets.
Understand Influencing Factors
Start by going back to the basics. According to Lisa Burger of the American Marketing Association, there are four key influencers of B2B buyers. They are:
· B2B customers make buying decisions based on a compromise of business needs and personal needs.
· B2B customers very rarely make a purchase decision on their own.
· The professional title – i.e. owner, CEO, sales manager – of the B2B customer impacts their willingness and ability to make a purchase decision.
· The B2B customer’s existing product knowledge dictates their buying behavior.
While this may not be a new revelation to you, it’s important to look at these factors in light of the holiday season. During this time of the year, it’s common for one or more executive level employees to be out of the office for extended periods of time. Because B2B buyers rarely make purchase decisions without the support of multiple people, it can be challenging to close a deal. This may alter your approach.
You also have to consider the fact that businesses are preparing to close their books for Q4. This either makes them more or less willing to make major purchases. Try to gain a feel for where your customers stand and leverage this knowledge to your benefit.
Promote Impulse Buys
Everyone knows that retailers use a slew of tactics to capitalize on impulse tendencies of consumers. However, did you know that B2B buyers also make occasional impulse purchases?
While the average B2B purchase is heavily researched over a period of time, there are ways to shakeup the sales process. From a personal point of view, B2B buyers are already conditioned to seeing great deals around the holidays. Black Friday has created a sales culture that expects incredible deals and offers during late November and early December. However, they rarely expect to see these same deals in the business world.
Can you find a way to offer exceptional deals during the holiday season? Very few B2B businesses run sales in November and December because they don’t believe the demand justifies the marketing costs. Using reverse logic, you can differentiate your products from the competition by targeting B2B customers.
Show Customers You Care
The holiday season is a time of reflection and giving. If you want to close 2015 on a positive note – and position yourself well for 2016 – consider sending cards and gifts to top customers and promising prospects. This allows you to stay fresh on their minds and may even allow you to close one last sale before the end of the year. Just make sure you don’t make these mistakes.
Motivate Your Sales Reps
As the holidays approach, it’s natural for your sales reps to get a little bored. They start thinking about time off and may not be as ambitious as they were during the spring and summer. One way to keep them motivated and active is to offer incentives. Allow them to make their own holiday wish list and reward them with these gifts as they accomplish certain goals. Another idea is to reward them with extra time off at the end of the year for closing certain sales.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be slow this year. While most B2B businesses tend to slow down, you should ramp up your efforts and end the year on a strong note. Use some of these tips and strategies to propel your efforts!