For many of us, the summer months are full of ice cream, holidays, and days by the beach – but for those working in sales and marketing, there’s more to worry about than sunburn.
Everyone in sales dreads the summer holiday season – ‘out of office’ messages grow by the dozen, decisions are postponed, and most begin to brace for a seemingly inevitable slump in sales.
It needn’t be that way. A slower period with fewer leads can provide you with an opportunity to focus and even improve your results. We’ve identified a number of approaches that can transform a potential slump into a summer sizzler:
1. Score your leads
Your own team is likely to be operating at a reduced scale in the summer months so it’s essential that you focus your attention on the leads that matter.
Lead scoring means assessing your prospects based on their journey so far. By tracking their progression, you can identify those which are actively moving through your sales funnel and which have a higher chance of conversion. Lead scoring also involves estimating the value of each prospect to your business, taking into account factors such as budget and potential longevity as a customer. If resources are tight, focus on those of higher value.
By prioritising those leads with a substantial value and a high likelihood of converting, your sales team can optimise its efforts and avoid wasting valuable resource.
2. Test your outreach
If you notice your pipeline starting to slow down over summer, look on it as an opportunity to experiment with your outreach approaches.
Whether that’s trying out new channels or making small tweaks to messaging, testing during this period can provide valuable and actionable insights about what works best for your business. Everything can be tested – from prospect location, job titles and industries, to subject lines, email content, message sequencing and the time of the send. Best of all, you can get the results back very quickly.
To help you get the ideas flowing, check out our The State of Prospecting 2023 report, which details the lessons we’ve learned from sending 49.5 million prospecting emails on behalf of our clients.
3. Encourage referrals
Another area of focus in slow times should be your referral program. A strong referral system can work wonders for lead generation by improving the number and quality of leads going into your sales funnel – all at a low cost.
Encouraging satisfied customers to refer others not only maximises the value of your leads but also fosters a sense of credibility around your business. Each referral provides access to new leads who are more likely to convert due to an already established trusting relationship.
Whether you introduce a formal referral programme or encourage your team members to discuss the matter with existing clients, the benefits can be huge – lower cost per acquisition, longer customer lifetime, and higher quality leads, just to name a few.
4. Focus on upselling
If new leads are dwindling, turn your attention to the customers and prospects who already know you. That includes upselling to existing clients and reactivating dormant contacts.
It’s always easier and more cost effective to sell to a customer who already trusts you and has used your services in the past than it is to sell to a new prospect who has never heard of your brand. This isn’t just something for the summer months – it should be a core feature of your sales at any time – but it can be a great way to boost sales when you aren’t seeing many new names entering the sales funnel.
5. Smarten up your content
Refreshing your content collateral is another valuable activity that is often neglected in busy times, and which will put you in a much stronger position when those leads start to increase again.
Ensure that your collateral is addressing current prospect objections in order to build trust and eliminate any potential barriers upfront. Personalise your content to focus on buyer preferences, pain points and personas, and map your content throughout the sales funnel to ensure that you’re covering as many buyer touchpoints as possible.
With content that shows social proof and demonstrates value for potential customers, you will pre-empt many of the questions your prospects may have and allow your sales colleagues to focus on what they do best.
6. Keep your team on its toes
It’s inevitable that your team – and your prospects – will be taking some holiday during the summer months, but don’t take your eye off the ball. You cannot control when prospects go on holiday (though an OOO will yield a helpful return date!), but you can take steps to ensure that your team isn’t missing a trick.
Review your system for picking up leads and check that there aren’t any gaps in it. Never let a lead lie in the summer – an enquiry that arrives just before a holiday can go cold very quickly, so your speed of response needs to be rapid. Make sure that you have constant cover and enough people on alert to keep your leads hot and avoid missing out on any valuable opportunities.
Managing absences is always a challenge, but there’s no doubt that this quieter season brings some great opportunities for sales and marketing teams. By implementing these simple steps, you can help your business to speed through the summer with a sizzle, not a slump.
Ryan Welmans is the founder and CEO of Sopro, an award-winning email prospecting business that enhances B2B sales engagement through the use of technology and specialist social reach expertise.