‘Tis the season for the dreaded “Out of Office” reply. While retailers are expected to ring up over $1 trillion this season, many B2B sales professionals experience a slow down this time of year.
Whether you are prospecting on the front lines or supporting your sales reps through a month of voicemails, it is enough to put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirit. Customers and prospects are harder to reach or busy with year-end activities, budgets are on hold, and everyone would rather be celebrating than fielding (or making) sales calls.
Achieving sales KPIs when the calls get as cold as the weather can be a challenge, as we certainly know at our company, The Alias Group. We provide outsourced inside sales for a variety of businesses, so we know what to expect every holiday season—and how to navigate the highs and lows. Here are five tips for finding success during this holiday season.
- Focus on Relationships
The holidays are a great time to focus the relationships you have built throughout the year. Make a genuine connection by sending personalized, handwritten cards or go big with an event for your top customers. Customer loyalty is a great reason to celebrate! Now is also an excellent time to roll out up-sell, cross-sell, or referral promotions. Special offers for loyal customers on additional products or services will grow and expand the relationship and can boost those December sales metrics. It’s an easy “Win-Win!”
- Set Up for a Stellar 2019
The worst part of a seasonal slump is lost momentum. Most sales professionals get into a rhythm throughout the year and a slow December can wreak havoc on a healthy pipeline. By shifting focus to January when customers and prospects are more likely to be receptive and available, you eliminate the pressure while keeping momentum high. By asking for sales meetings after the holidays, it demands less from busy prospects and creates a more positive experience for everyone.
- Be Flexible with Schedules
Managing your sales team during the holidays is a true balancing act. Everyone has their own traditions that are important to them, but approving everyone’s vacation time could turn your office into a ghost town. Being as flexible as possible with schedules goes a long way towards keeping spirits bright. Even when you can’t fully accommodate a request, making a partial concession can mean a lot.
- Marketing Holiday Content
It seems like everyone is checking their emails more frequently during the holidays. Whether it is to check on order statuses or look for the next big deal, people are opening emails during December that they might send straight to spam in other months. Take advantage of a more receptive audience and leverage digital marketing to reach your audience. You could find that prospects that have been impossible to reach by phone are only one festive email away.
- Let the Holiday Spirit In
No one likes a Scrooge during the holidays. So finding ways to incorporate holiday cheer around the office can provide a great boost to morale. Plan group activities like decorating contests, year-end awards, and holiday parties. It is an excellent time to reflect on the year and celebrate together. At The Alias Group, we celebrate the season with volunteer charity work and with a White Elephant gift exchange and luncheon.
So when you get the dreaded “Out of Office” reply (in whatever form), take a moment to reflect on the long-term relationships you’ve built over the past year. What were the factors that made those relationships so fruitful? What can you start today to make 2019 a year that builds new lasting relationships? And always remember to share the true spirit of the holiday season!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Moss is the Corporate Sales Lead at The Alias Group. She manages the process that tracks, monitors and reports on sales strategy and activities, conducts sales trainings and is the go-to person for lead generation.
Before coming to work at The Alias Group in 2017, she primarily worked in financial services. She says, “When I decided to move away from banking, I made a list of 17 qualities I needed from a company to have kind of career I wanted for myself. Things like a strong sense of culture, commitment to developing employees and community involvement were very important to me. The Alias Group checked all my boxes. It is easy to dedicate yourself to a company when it is everything you wanted in a place to work.”
Melissa’s greatest joy is her family. She is also a self-proclaimed nerd, passionate and prepared with fan theories for everything from Star Wars to superheroes to sci-fi. She is currently unsuccessfully petitioning George R.R. Martin to add House Moss as a contender for the Iron Throne. Her house words? “Sales and Skywalkers.”