How To Stay Focused and Motivated When Your Prospects Aren’t
Summer is approaching fast. While it is a great opportunity to step back from the grind and spend time with family, it is also important not to lose momentum on your plan for growth. This can be difficult when prospects seem to bury their heads in the sand (literally and figuratively) and sales emails turn into a ping pong match of “out of office” auto-replies. Trying to generate leads and a meet a sales quota during this time is next to impossible and those who try might be wasting valuable time and resources. Instead of fighting against the current, why not use this time to refocus your efforts and put in work that has more long term benefits? Here are a few ways we found to survive the summer slump and prepare for the prosperous fall months ahead.
Establish Realistic Sales Expectations
The first and probably most important thing to understand when battling the summer slump is to understand that it actually exists. To confirm this theory, I have pulled a Google Trends report for “IT Providers” and analyzed the last few years. As you can see in the 2018 chart below, the month of July is the second worst time period of the year for interest, rivaling only the period around Christmas and New Year’s.
Understanding that this is reality and it is simply a “phase” that you need to fight through is important for morale. Expectations during this time period should be lowered in order to avoid burnout and keep the “doubt” monsters from creeping in. If you overreact to poor results during the summer, it can cause you to make irrational decisions and put you in a poor position to capitalize on the upward swing of interest at the end of the season.
Collaborate On Sales & Marketing Content
The most effective way to produce quality content and collateral is for Sales & Marketing teams to collaborate and share information. Marketers tend to lean toward what works from an analytic standpoint, but don’t always get the same direct feedback that the sales team gets. Getting the teams to communicate this to each other to create better performing content (or any content at all) is always a challenge.
When phones are dead and inboxes dry up, it is the perfect opportunity to refocus your time into stockpiling content. Having digital collateral is incredibly important in today’s B2B social selling landscape. If you have the ability to create content internally, I would recommend committing the time to do so. You will be glad you did when the busy season rolls around and you have fresh new material to work with.
Attend Industry Events & Conferences
There are no shortage of IT industry events and expos. These events are often expensive to attend and, in my humble opinion, benefit the industry vendors more than the Managed Service Providers themselves. That being said, the workshops, networking events, and keynotes are a good way to get up to speed on industry occurrences and get on the pulse on how your competitors operate.
Summer is the perfect time to attend these type of events.The impact of you leaving the office for a week is minimal compared to other times of the year. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a crowded room full of vendors and competitors when your prospect is ready to buy or when your lead generation campaigns are firing on all cylinders.
Schedule Time With Existing Customers
During the summer months, your return on ad spend tends to weaken. It can become more expensive to generate leads that often go unresponsive and uninterested after just a short amount of time. What if the leads were free and they were more likely to buy from you and anyone else? Enter existing customers.
When new leads are being generated and prospects are plentiful, it can be easy to forget about your existing customer base, even though their money is just as green (and frankly easier to acquire). Now is the time to double down your efforts on your existing customer base, get projects scheduled, and make conversation that may even lead to referrals.
Increase Your Product & Service Knowledge
Marketing and selling IT services is not an easy task for industry outsiders. If you didn’t start your career as a Computer Science major working a Support Desk, then you likely don’t have a deep technical knowledge of the products and solutions you are trying to sell. This inexperience can bleed through on your sales calls and cause you to miss out on opportunities to provide value.
Making sure that sales and marketing personnel are up to speed on technology offerings is crucial and summer is the perfect time to do it. Vendors and technology partners often have a lot of resources available on their website to help with selling and marketing their services. Watching training videos and reading through tutorials can equip you and your team to close more deals when opportunities eventually start to present themselves.
Give Away Your Time For Free
Not everyone might share the same philosophy, but I believe that good karma is a resource that you can never have too much of. Doing for others and expecting nothing in return is easier said than done. When you are busy and your time is at it’s most valuable point it can be increasingly difficult to give it away.
If you want to build up good karma and develop new relationships that can pay off in the future, summer is the time to do it. Local small businesses and non-profits are likely to accept whatever help they can get, so you should be able to lend your expertise without question. This can introduce you to new people and new ideas that can create value for you that surpasses the revenue you likely could have generated.
Once you learn to embrace the summer slump and use your time appropriately, you will find yourself in an overall better head space. Rather than getting frustrated and becoming complacent, look to build up resources and strategize for when things turn around. Prosperous times will come, just weather the storm…and take a vacation while you are at it.