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How to nail your sales before christmas

For many organisations it is the most frenzied time of yea where the busiest trading period combines with the last chance to hit end of year sales targets. So how can you nail your sales before Christmas? Here are five things every organisation involved in B2B marketing should think about:

1) It's not just about new customers: sales and marketing investment is frequently skewed towards hunting down new customers. Most companies miss a trick by failing to target and rekindle relationships with lapsed or dormant customers. These old flames can be a valuable source of revenue and because the relationship is there, sales often come more quickly. Consider the introduction of a reactivation incentive.

2) Target existing customers: once the sale is done and the money in the till, many businesses forget about their existing customers as a source of new revenue. Setting targets for upselling or cross-selling can deliver significant sales growth – and as you know them already you should be able to get your pitch to them just right. Align sales promotions and offers to entice customers with targets set for the sales team.

3) Make every person a sales person: of course your sales team are the people who should be hauling in the new customers but you should think of everyone in your business as someone who can bring in new sales revenue. Whether it is the people you have answering the phones or those who manage client and supplier relationships, they all have a powerful influence on how much you sell and how loyal your customers are. Set targets for customer service standards and ensure that there is a process for referrals and sales opportunities to be followed up quickly.

4) Get your customers to sell for you: your best ambassadors are the people who are already buying from you. Make them your sales people and get them recommending potential clients or customers who you can talk to. Introduce a Friend programmes can be extremely powerful.

5) Get the reward right: recognition for the people you are asking to do your selling is critical, whether they are customers, sales people or channel sales managers. While people value cash, this gets lost in the mix and so too can the impact of the reward as a result. Create a ring-fenced set of incentives, separate from the usual bonus and salary arrangements, to reward the behaviour of those who go the extra mile and meet the targets you set. This will keep them motivated to do more for you in the future.

Needless to say, for the best impact, you need to think about your end of year sales well before the final quarter. But even now is not too late. A programme with clear targets, communicated well across your business can still have a substantial impact on your end of year sales if you plan it this week – why wait any longer?

Colin Hodgson is sales director, Incentives and Motivation, at Edenred,

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