9 ways to avoid the Christmas sales slump
As you read this blog, your sales people are already counting down to Xmas. They are thinking about the time they will spend with family and friends, partying and overindulging.
For employers, however, this jolly and jovial time of year can have a major impact on revenue generation. They see their sales dropping and they start to feel as deflated as that blow-up Santa on Boxing Day.
It’s important for managers to ensure their staff refrain from joining the “Ah, Christmas when it all goes dead” naysayers and maintain the mantra that it’s business as usual. Meetings can take place, planning can occur and training can be undertaken.
Desperately seeking consistency of sales
Organizations really want to motivate sales employees to do more of the business activities that drive company success, across all the months of the year.
Many companies measure their sales reps on lag indicators, which can be particularly dangerous when the holiday season comes around. Lag indicators are a sale or when a deal is won. Measuring an end state may mean they do not realise they have a problem until it’s too late. Often it’s 6 or even 12 months too late!
There are a lot of activities that have to be performed in order to progress the sale. Focusing staff on these lead indicators especially around Christmas time means their pipeline will be in good shape for the first quarter of the new sales year.
Focus can be delivered by making their performance visible to everyone in the company. Visibility equals accountability. If their results and progress against the targets are not made visible to the individual, the team and the office, then the rep might assume they do not matter. Further there will be a lack of timely intervention by managers to correct this under performance.
When sales employees are managed correctly, companies can expect to grow the achievement of annual goals and typically have 3x higher annual growth in revenue.
Techniques to make hay from the holidays
1. Make the most of your prospects’ New Year’s mindset.
People are strange creatures. All through December, people are eating, drinking, and spending money with wild abandon. But come New Year’s Day, everyone is on their best behaviour, resolutely determined to work harder, exercise more, and be a better person. Savvy salespeople can win new customers by catering to their self-betterment company objectives with solutions that streamline “fat”, exercise efficiency, and are effective.
2. Leverage staff resolutions.
Savvy managers can get a fast start to the year by working out a personal performance plan incorporating their reps’ New Year’s resolutions. Get reps to write their business plan for the year ahead, their career goals and developmental needs. The first day of a new year is a great opportunity to set stretch targets.
3. Refine your sales process.
The holiday period is a great time to perform an audit on your sales process. Is the way you’re driving lead generation really that effective? Take the time to measure the return on investment for your key sales activities and make changes where necessary.
4. Use leaderboards for sales.
Your organization lives and dies on the success of your sales force, all year round. Leaderboards encourage remarkably consistent patterns of behaviour. Sales reps will orient themselves outward, focusing on customers and competitors rather than on internal politics.
Leaderboards that display sales measures and achievement, particularly if these are displayed on an office TV, take a gigantic step beyond traditional sales management. Leaderboards can be based on technologies which sync data from your data apps or via local scoring that means you directly enter data into the leaderboard. Managers can decide which performance information is shown to the office. They also decide how they want to display the information.
5. Think outside the box.
The holiday season is the best time to reach out to potential partners or channel members to find out if the timing is right for collaboration. There’s no time like the present to explore new avenues for sales and examine new ideas.
6. Follow up and then follow up some more.
Retargeting as a practice is as simple as it sounds. It’s about making the calls and engaging with prospects and customers. Regardless of who they are or their interaction with your company, retargeting is a powerful tool for boosting conversions.
7. Prepare to launch something new.
January is a perfect time to release a new product. It entices people to visit you physically or virtually, more often to ensure they can see the latest updates. It allows you to capitalize on the New Year’s mentality – new year, new you, new everything. Products released in January can create a powerful revenue base on which to build your success throughout the rest of the year.
8. Carve out some time for learning and professional development.
Take some time early in the new year to take a step back and review the latest industry trends and consider how you can use them to improve your business. Developing your skills and knowledge will give you a competitive edge and lay the foundation for success in 2018.
9. Keep the content coming.
Many companies scale back their marketing emails and social media updates. They assume their customers are worn out. What if they’re not! More isn’t always better when it comes to email marketing, if you can keep relevant content coming while everyone else has gone silent, yours will be the voice prospects and customers hear and you’ll be the first place they turn in 2018.
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season and a happy and successful 2018!
This post was brought to you by Matt Bullock, CEO and Founder of Spinify.