One thing you can always count on is that sales representatives like to make money. During the final months of the year, they’re aggressively focused on closing (winning!) business in order to maximize their compensation plans.
Having your sales reps focused on closing business is exactly what you want, especially during the last few months of the year. However, when the sales organization is putting all of their attention on the bottom of the sales funnel, other activities are neglected. For instance, they are likely not nurturing long-term opportunities since those buyers will not impact their quotas. During the final months of the year, most sales reps have abandoned their cold-calling activities, again placing their attention on short-term buyers already in their funnel. Lastly, they are likely not pursuing unqualified marketing responses, or in the best scenario, they are “cherry-picking” the lists that marketing sends their way.
Given this typical fourth quarter situation and sales behavior, what should marketers focus on?
• Build Your 2018 Pipeline NOW. When the dust settles and sales teams have closed all that they can to meet and exceed their quotas for the year, they will be in desperate need to obtain new qualified leads for the top of their sales funnel. Get ahead of this by spending significant time in the fourth quarter generating new leads via proactive teleprospecting and responder qualification.
• Nurture Your Long-Term Opportunities. Be careful not to send your sales team long-term opportunities when they are in “close business” mode. Instead, this is the time to gear up your nurturing activities so you can keep longer-term buyers warm until they are truly ready for sales attention.
• Re-qualify Your Leads. Look at your leads from the year. Chances are some have fallen through the cracks. By implementing a fourth quarter requalification tele campaign, reaching out to your past leads in order to determine current situation and needs, you will likely uncover several immediate needs that will impact your Q4 sales numbers. Get those to your sales team ASAP!
Implementing these activities now will help marketers identify immediate needs, while building the top of the sales funnel to ensure a productive start to upcoming year.