Understanding Summer Sales Slumps and What to do About it
Sunshine, summer, and sales; one of these three doesn’t belong.
For anyone currently in the midst of the dreaded “summer sales slump,” this post is for you.
What’s most important is that you don’t despair, because there is an end in sight! Before you know it, the phones will start ringing again and the inboxes will be overflowing.
Preparing for the end of summer
It’s common knowledge that the summer months tend to lead to a sales lull; your prospects are either on vacation, daydreaming about vacations to come, or simply on mental holiday.
The end result is that they are checked out; whether physically or just mentally. But that’s going to end, and probably sooner than you think.
At Lead Cookie, our team is composed of outbound B2B sales and marketing experts. And one thing that we’ve all agreed upon, is that most companies miss out on the crucial last month of summer to get their sales system ready for the influx of leads and opportunities that are inherent to Q3.
Here is the troubling trend we’ve seen: most businesses only start assembling their sales efforts once autumn actually begins.
And, you better believe that getting all these moving pieces together and coordinating efforts generally takes more time than estimated.
The end result of this delay in getting post-summer sales efforts purring along is that your prospects have already been back in the office for 3-4 weeks, ready to be engaged. Already, you’re that far behind schedule, delaying your growth and Q3/Q4 sales.
So let’s take a minute to look at what your timeline should look like to take full advantage of your prospects returning to the office, their minds fresh and ready to get down to business.
After we have a sense of when our efforts should take place, we’ll formulate a plan of attack to make sure we’re fully engaging target accounts.
Finally, we’ll look at some services that can help you develop these channels if you’re finding yourself short of time or expertise.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Implementing an Effective Sales Timeline
The single most useful aspect of any map is a simple red dot/star with three words . . . “You are here.” And wouldn’t you know it, sales uses the same guideline.
We’re currently in what I like to call the twilight of summer; those last few weeks before we mentally transition to looking forward again: this time likely towards the holiday season.
From almost a decade of experience in the industry, I firmly believe that the moves you make in the next few weeks will determine your sales efforts for the rest of the calendar year.
If you miss the window of when people are just returning to the office, you’re not only going to have to work double-time to meet your goals, but you’re also a number of steps behind your competition who is hitting the ground running. The timeline that most businesses adhere to looks something like this:
A typical B2B growth and sales timeline:
Q1 (January-March): Energy is at an all-time high. Get ideas in place and develop them to perfection. Halfway through Q1, start pounding the pavement.
Q2 (April-June): Work like mad.
Q3 (July-September): Things start to get lazy and hazy across the US and most of Europe. Keep up efforts, but probably see a drop-off in engagement.
Q4 (October-December): Double all efforts to hit goals before the new year. See another drop in engagement as the holidays kick into full swing.
End result: Doesn’t seem particularly effective, does it? Total effective growth and sales-focused time lost for most businesses:
Q1: 1.5 months
Q3: 3 months
Q4: 1.5 months
Total: 6 months of sub-optimal outreach (literally half of your year is either spent in strategy or fighting against the current).
A growth-focused B2B sales timeline:
Internally, we’ve developed a timeline that we would suggest to businesses looking to develop a powerful and sustainable path to sales growth.
Q1 (January-March): Hit the ground running the second people return to the office. The second week in January is go-time. Work like mad.
Q2 (April-June): Continue to work like mad.
Q3 (July-September): Hopefully by this point, you’ve already accomplished ~75% of what your growth targets looked like through the year.
This is now the time to review what you've seen so far throughout the year and to adjust accordingly. As everyone else is on vacation, this should be your mini-vacation from sales and growth efforts.
Look at what your current clients are saying, talk to them about what their current goals and priorities are, and plan how you want to tackle the next few months (before the holidays are in full swing).
In other words, use everyone else’s downtime as your chance to assemble everything you need to once again hit the ground running when they are back from vacation.
September 1st you should be ready to once again hit the ground running.
People are returning to the office and you want to be the first one knocking at their door when they get back. Be top of mind and take advantage while everyone else is still assembling their sales and growth strategies.
Q4 (October-December): Continue your sprint until November 15th (roughly) to finish the year with a bang. Chug the caffeine and exceed your growth goals.
As soon as the holiday season starts, return to the planning and strategy phase to be ready to get rolling as soon as people are back in the office in the new year.
End result: You have ~3 months of planning and strategy during the year, but these are aligned with when your prospects are least likely to respond. You also get 9 months of high-quality sales and growth operations.
Q1: You’re already sprinting.
Q2: Still running . . .
Q3: 2 months of slowed efforts while you optimize and plan for the next few months
Q4: 1.5 months of continued growth before planning for the new year
Total: 8.5 months of optimal outreach combined with 3.5 months of effective planning an optimization to make those months really count
As you can see, we are not only getting an additional 2.5 months of optimal sales and growth-focused opportunities when compared to the timeline most businesses adhere to, but we are aligning our timeline to match that of the majority of our prospects.
What does that mean for you right now? It means it’s time to get your strategies in place to finish the year strong! Let’s transition into looking at some of the tools you can use to crush your Q3 and Q4 goals.
Cleaning and Sharpening your Tools
Now that we have some semblance of a timeline in place, it’s time to take out the tools you have available and make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running. As there is a wild number of resources available for each of these tools/channels, we won’t dive too deep.
Our core competency at Lead Cookie is focusing on LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, we always recommend checking out our resources page:
Not only do we constantly post new content, but we try to keep it as actionable and evergreen as possible.
One way to get yourself ready for Q3 sales is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile page (your personal one, not the company page) quickly and simply conveys who you are and the value you deliver. Having run 300+ campaigns, we’ve established the following outline as the most concise way to get this information across:
What I do (2 sentences on the value you provide)
How I do it (a quick look at your process/features/offer)
Who I work with (a quick explanation on the types of businesses/industries you serve)
What people are saying (client testimonials)
My background (why people should trust you)
You can see an example of this outline in action in this video we put together recently:
Email can be a great channel, either as a stand-alone outreach method or as a way to complement your other outbound efforts. Make sure that your current cold email targeting is still accurate to your ideal customer profile and that your copy is working for you, not against you.
The key to writing a great cold email is three-fold:
It is relevant
It is valuable
It doesn’t ask too much from your prospects
In other words, you want to keep your email to 4-5 sentences max.
On top of this, there’s a very clear motto that shows the difference between a successful cold email campaign and one that falls flat on its nose:
Features Fail. Values Sell.
Your goal for all of your outbound outreach, and this is especially true when it comes to cold email, is to highlight the value you provide (i.e. what is the end result that your prospects crave and why are you the best person to help them achieve it). Support your prospects in their goals and priorities, and you’ll see your engagement rates skyrocket!
Reengage CRM leads
Our team is currently developing a new service that focuses on re-engaging leads in your CRM. In other words, if you’ve built up a list of leads in your CRM over the months or years, you have a valuable treasure trove of quality leads right at your fingertips.
We highly recommend thinking about how your service has changed, objections you’ve received, and how you’re able to convey the value that you can deliver starting today. Just because someone didn’t buy from you before, doesn’t mean their situation or needs haven’t changed.
You filled your CRM with leads, reach out to them!
There’s no better time than today to spruce up your systems and hit the ground running. If you have any questions about specific channels, or what a service like Lead Cookie could do to generate you highly-qualified leads, feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to dive into details.
There’s no better time than today!