How to kick-start sales after the holidays
Just won a big deal? Had a great quarter this year? Your boss is most likely to approve your PTO request, and why not, you deserve a good holiday after all the hard work. But hold your horses, the real nightmare begins once you’re back to work – new sales quotas and a whole bunch of new leads to follow-up! Yes, while you were on vacation, leads were gradually being queued in the CRM, waiting for your attention. With new sales targets for the next quarter, you need to buck up and close some deals before you go on your next vacation.
If you’re still trying to beat the holiday blues, figuring out where to start in your sales pipeline, here are some quick tips to optimize your pipeline and kick-start sales after the holidays.
Bucket ’em up
Rule #1: Don’t get overwhelmed by the mountain of leads assigned to you.
The list of leads in CRM system might be huge. But think about it, not all of them are possibly your sales-ready leads. Some may be evaluating your product/service for future business opportunities, while others may have signed up to download a white paper or ebook for research. So how do you go about identifying the leads you need to focus on the list? One way to do that is to score your leads by their,
- Professional information such as job title, department, number of employees, business type, industry and so on.
- Top-of-the-funnel behaviors such as a request for demo and ebook downloads. Or, middle-of-the-funnel interests like pricing page view and trial sign-ups.
- Activities on email (opens and clicks) based on a particular subject.
- Activity level such as the number of page visits, adopting a specific feature and so on.
Once you’ve defined and scored your leads, you can now easily segment them into different buckets — Hot, Warm and Cold.
Connect. Engage. Nurture
Rule #2: Don’t use the same mode of engagement for all your leads.
When you connect with your prospects, you simply can’t shoot out a mass email to all of them. It just won’t work. Each of these leads is in different stages of your sales pipeline, and hence require a different mode of communication.
Call your hot leads: Don’t waste time waiting for your hot leads to check their inbox. Instead, just pick up the phone and make a sales call. But before you go ahead and do that, gather some context about the prospect — what features did they adopt recently, which features do they use often, or which web pages piqued their interest. These triggers help build a structure to your sales call and also act as an effective conversation starter. When you do your research about the prospect, they are most likely to trust you and take you seriously. Once you have their attention, keep the ball rolling by scheduling appointments with them.
Email the warm ones: Email is probably the best way to communicate with your warm leads. And writing a highly personalized email works way better than those standard email templates. The whole idea is to grab their attention and remind them of your existence. So if you’ve had any positive experience with their company, or like their blog or tweet, craft an email talking about it. Nudge them to give your product another spin by conducting webinars or extending their trial.
Shootout mass emails to the cold ones: Just because the leads are cold, they aren’t quite dead. You still need to warm them up by putting them back into your sales campaigns. Though personalized emails work, it’s also time-consuming. And not all cold leads are going to turn into your customers, right? Instead, save time by quickly sending a bulk email using templates to all your cold leads. Show them the value your solution offers and the problem it resolves through videos and blog links.
Eliminate stale opportunities
Rule #3: Learn to let go of “dead” deals.
Once you are back from your vacation, it is a good practice to reassess the deals that didn’t make it to closure in the last quarter (and most likely you won’t be closing them in this quarter too!) and clean up your sales pipeline. This is really hard to do because you’d have invested a lot of time and effort on these prospects. But quite frankly, it’s pointless to hang on to deals that have gone beyond your typical sales cycle or have no activities in a while, in the hope that they will close someday. It’s only going to clutter your pipeline and bury the most promising deals. Instead, let go of your stale opportunities. It’s going to free up a lot of time, allowing you focus on new and promising deals, and win them faster.
Here’s a challenge for you this year. Take it as your new year resolution.
- Jot down the various factors to score your leads. Segment them into different buckets, so you know which ones to prioritize and focus on.
- Call your hot leads and email the warm ones. Dump those you feel have a low chance to win and who have asked for more time.
- Look at your sales pipeline every quarter and let go of deals that have no sales activities and email engagement in a while, and those that have gone beyond their sales duration.
- Learn to drop your old deals, look forward to new opportunities and make more sales this year.
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