August 14th, 2017 | by

Conversations about fourth quarter sales trends usually gravitate towards holiday spending and retail.

While the final months of the calendar year associate with B2C consumer behavior at first glance, B2B patterns suggest quite a bit of revenue is still up for grabs even when work purchasing is on the back burner for many buyers. Winning this revenue requires planning ahead and using customer interaction data gathered throughout the year. We’re almost halfway through Q3 and it’s time to start setting yourself up for success in Q4.   

The Distracted Q4 Buyer

Now, the end of the fiscal year doesn’t always match the end of the calendar year. Companies that do business with the Federal Government know their fiscal year ends on September 30th, and at that time a “use it or lose it” budget mentality provokes a spending frenzy. Businesses in the U.S. are free to start and end their fiscal year on any date, bound only by a set annual period of 52 weeks. But, many companies do run their fiscal year in parallel with the seasonal calendar.

Ostensibly, the want to burn through remaining budget occurs in the final weeks of December too. There is money on the table, but distractions pose a challenge. There are typically six or seven stakeholders that reach consensus for the average B2B purchase. Inevitably, some are on vacation. The few still at work are researching solutions for their pain points as usual—though they’re potentially relegated to travel plans or an incomplete holiday shopping list.

Plan Early to Cut Through the December Noise

On the sales side of the equation, the clock is ticking to reach sales goals before January 1st. The objective is to clear the pipeline and close outstanding leads—as many as possible. There’s a sense of urgency, but momentum makes it work. Your Sales and Marketing teams have been working in tandem all year, so you know who the warmest leads are in the cold, dark, late-December workdays.  

Use Your MAP Rankings to Locate the Bottom of the Sales Funnel

In a previous blog, we talked about tracking levels of interest using one of several MAPs that integrate with DiscoverOrg. A sales and marketing intelligence tool, like DiscoverOrg, will identify and rank your likeliest buyers based on your custom criteria. It can also identify potential intent to purchase or upcoming initiatives. It’s crunch time, which means you don’t have the luxury of hoping you’ll eventually reach the right person on your lengthy call list. Assessing leads and ranking them by likelihood of closing provides a good visual of the sales funnel. Trust your data and predictive analytics, and work from the bottom up. Start with low-hanging ornaments on the tree for the best chance at a nice holiday bonus.

Recirculate and Repurpose Your Best Content

The content creators typically reserve October through December for assessing what worked and what didn’t work that year, and planning ahead for the next twelve months. Instead of working your writers into a frenzy to hastily produce new content for this final push, repurpose your “greatest hits” from the year—distribute appropriately targeting the channels where your low-funnel leads can see it. You might consider switching up the massaging in the social channel “teasers” to add freshness. Be sure to consult your sales and marketing intelligence tool for data on intent as well as challenges your prospects may have. If any of your prior content addresses upcoming spending or pain points, you know exactly who to send it to with no doubt it will resonate.

Personal Micro-Messaging and Small Giveaways

Prospects in the lower half of your funnel have engaged with team members one or more times in the past months. A quick, personalized greeting is seasonally appropriate—and if combined with the right value message, could yield results for your outreach team. Check your intelligence platform. Are they indicating any challenges in a particular area that your product or service can solve? Do they have upcoming initiatives on the horizon? Was the company recently in the news? All these things can give you that little bit of personalization that will cut through the noise. You might even sweeten the deal with a well-thought giveaway. For example, a Steam or Amazon gift card wins the heart of any tech-minded prospect eyeing your SaaS platform.

Discounts Reserved for Final Push

Sales experts advocate that direct marketing discounts must be used sparingly to maintain the value and integrity of your product. You held off all year and worked the sales funnel with solid fundamentals. Now your “buy now and save” message will resonate with more emphasis during crunch time.

Examples of discount value proposition you might include:

  • Extended free trial periods
  • Gold membership for the price of a Silver membership
  • Warn that prices go up next year
  • Free seats or subscriptions

Opportune Increased Social Media Use

Tis the season for social selling. The holiday season drives us to social media channels at home and at work. That’s good news for social selling operations. IDC statistics report that social buyers tend to be more senior, control larger budgets, and have a shorter purchasing cycle. That sets the table for landing big, quick deals over social channels.

Final Thoughts

The final push for the fiscal year means working through distractions. Cash in on the data you’ve compiled over the year to make the final weeks as profitable as possible. Success in Q4 relies on how well your team ranks prospects, uses the data you already have from your sales intelligence tool—like DiscoverOrg—to identify and sell to the low-hanging fruit in the sales funnel.

 

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