In a perfect world, we’d set aside time to reflect on seasonal spikes and dips in growth the same way we set aside time for outreach. Often, though, seasonality in sales is overlooked, and if this is a pattern in your organization, it needs to be broken — fast.
Because seasonality doesn’t only exist in our own organizations and industries; each prospect in their respective space is affected by seasonality, with specific triggers and timing to match. If each of these variables is a cog in the wheel, then it’s our job to understand how they fit together, where and when they overlap, and how we can follow up strategically to make sure the gears run smoothly.
So, today we’re going to talk about seasonality on a large scale. That is, how to take seasonality into consideration when you’re selling to enterprise prospects, or big whales. It’s not as daunting as it may seem, and if you’re comfortable reflecting on the seasons within your own business, you’re close to seeing the bigger picture.
Budget for Seasonality
If the product or service you’re offering is a big-ticket item, or if you’re selling to an enterprise, the first thing to keep in mind is to budget for seasons and cycles; both yours AND your prospects’ seasons and cycles.
First, consider the budget of your own sales department. If you’ve saved wisely during the year, you can afford to invest in converting hot prospects to customers or clients like never before… even in Q3 or Q4.
In regards to budget, check in with your numbers and take stock. Is business booming? Can you afford to hire another closer to revisit cold-ish prospects? Maybe it’s time to invest in a sales training workshop. The strategy you use will be unique to your niche and may look different from one year to the next, but what transcends industries and the date on the calendar is the need to examine annual patterns and see how and where they fit in with your prospects’ seasons.
We do this to make sure we’re investing wisely.
Pump blood to the organs of your business wherever it’s needed, but do so thoughtfully. If you saved strategically throughout the year, you can afford to spend strategically, with massive growth in mind. Considering your own budget and seasons is the first step in accomplishing just that.
When considering the seasons of enterprise prospects, remember that following up can’t be performed at random. We don’t get unlimited chances to engage with the big fish in the pond, and it’s very likely we’ll wear out a welcome that isn’t planned intelligently. It’s crucial that follow-up is as seamless and flawless as possible.
Your Prospects’ Spending
Big players know the value of sticking to a budget. The same way we restrict spending to save for a drought, our prospects tighten the belt at some point in their fiscal year. It’s extremely worthwhile to consider when they do this, and to what extent. If you time it right, you can slide right in when they loosen up. For instance, let’s say it’s the end of Q3 and they’ve only spent half their budget for the year. Well, now you know they have the means and resources to invest in you and your offer.
Why? Because in life and in business, timing is everything.
As you conduct follow-up on past prospects — ones that were hot but cooled off as they didn’t have the budget to spend on your services at the time — keep in mind they may be more financially able to do business with you now than they were earlier in the year. Again, seasonality in sales is everything.
There are some universal points in the sales cycle that affect all industries, like the close of the year. End-of-year months like September, October, November, and especially December are very good times to check back in with big whale prospects.
Call on a star member of the sales team to revisit the relationship. Find out their season, and whether they have room in their budget to revisit your offer. If they didn’t blow their budget, you’ve got a great in to pick up where you left off.
CRM and Following Up
The importance of paying attention to seasonality and effective follow-up cannot be overstated. And the key to following up successfully lies in how it’s done and where resources are appropriated. If you don’t have a CRM tracking system in place already, now is the time to invest in one.
No matter the size of your business, you need a place to house customer details, notes, estimates, invoices, and, of course, a contact log. With a CRM software in place, you can count on it to do the heavy lifting so you can better allocate your time to nurturing the relationship instead of scrambling to keep track of the details.
CRM tracking is particularly useful as it pertains to seasonality. Why? Because checking your notes on a prospect can lead to a revelation. When you spoke and the nature of your conversation can all be recorded in CRM tracking. This makes diving back into the conversation a breeze.
If you’ve correctly estimated where they are in their seasonal sales cycle, you may have an opportunity to convert the hottest prospect in your system to a customer.
Take Advantage of The Sales Cycle
Don’t pigeonhole yourself into the mindset that a new contract must start with the new year. Staying on top of prospect communication and inquiring about their seasonal spending means you may find an opportunity to close on an account earlier than you expected. If they haven’t spent their budget by the end of the year, why wait until January to engage them? There’s no reason. Contracts can be signed and business relationships can start any time of the year, not just in January.
Take advantage of the sales cycle by predicting its pattern. Engage with the big players strategically and realize that seasonality can be something you make work in your favor. Leverage the CRM software, read old notes, and jump on hot prospects when the time is right in their season and cycle, and yours.
And like always, you can get the sales-appointment-setting-pros involved. Here at C-Level Partners, we specialize in putting your sales team in front of the Right People, in the Right Role, Right Now.