With just handful of weeks left on the 2016 calendar, B2B sales pros the world over are in one of three mindsets. Either they’re sitting pretty, relatively relaxed knowing that they’ve hit or exceeded their numbers or they’re feeling confident knowing that an all-but-signed deal is about to close, nudging them past their finish line, or they’re in that state of nervous-almost-panic because they know they’re going to come up short this year. Whatever the mindset, one thing is certain: the calendar will turn and 2017 will arrive. And given most reps aren’t in that upper echelon of a relaxed December, it’s worth laying out a few ideas on how folks call sell more in 2017.
Sell More in 2017 by Starting Fast
We’ve seen it play out countless times: the holidays are over, but the hangover lingers—and lingers. Sometimes it’s not until February that people “get back into the swing of things.” That is nothing but missed opportunity. The first few weeks of 2017 are ripe and the right sales activity then can alleviate a lot of the stress that December 2017 can bring. In fact, it’s estimated that 40 percent of bookings are done in the fourth quarter (of a calendar-based fiscal year). That’s crazy! It’s like when a football team gets blown out in the first three quarters of a game but then dominates, closes the gap only to ultimately fall short. Why didn’t you play like that the entire game?!?!
There are a couple of factors at play in this scenario: maybe the back-against-the-wall mentality is real… or maybe buyers have to unload budget lest they not get it next year. Whatever the case, starting the year off hard and fast makes a huge difference.
So how do you start the year off fast? First, look at towards your existing accounts. (After all, it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.) Forging deeper relationships with existing accounts isn’t about straight up pitching; it’s about understanding customer problems, providing value and creating context. The best selling occurs when the customer does not feel like they are being sold. Using an example we know well, we’ve seen sales reps use our Smart Rooms to drive upsell and cross-sell opportunities with existing accounts simply by teeing up the right insights—whether they be case studies, articles, industry reports, etc.—at the right time. Teach the customer something new without expecting anything in return…yet.
Another way to start 2017 off fast? Understand why your pipeline is getting stuck. An estimated 60-80 percent of pipelines are stalled. A conversation with a lead happens and then… radio silence. To figure out why, the traditional sales rep gets aggressive. They call. They email. They call some more. Yet that smothering can often drive a prospect even further away. The fact of the matter is that leads go quiet for any number of reasons. Don’t be one. Don’t be that rep that calls and calls and calls. That’s not going to help loosen you pipeline. Instead, think like a fisherman. Dropping the right lures (information) in the right places (not email, not phone) at the right time (when you know your prospect is hungry) makes a lot more sense.
So as you get ready to turn the calendar, focus on selling more by starting fast and, well, less salesy.