B2B Blues: 7 Tips to Get Through the Holiday Sales Lull
Many businesses don't sign new deals around the holiday season. But you don't have to let the lull in sales hinder your business.
After all, many businesses are looking to use up their budget by the end of the year. You can position yourself to be the business they choose.
There are also things you can do to help optimize your business to weather storms like these. And they'll get your business in line to deal with more sales when the lull passes.
So want to combat the lull in holiday sales? Read on for our seven best tips!
1. Chase Overdue Invoices for Extra Funds
You should have a robust system in place for chasing invoices. But during busy periods, following them up sometimes falls by the wayside.
Chase these invoices before the holiday season starts. You don't want your requests to sit on someone's desk while another business is closed.
Make a special effort to follow overdue invoices at least a month before the holiday sales season starts. It's all about managing your cash flow.
2. Renegotiate with Suppliers
When was the last time you checked how much you're paying for supplies? For simple things like office supplies, it's easy to let prices get away from you.
Compare quotes from several suppliers. They may ask you what you currently pay for items so they can give you the best deal.
You don't need to tell them which companies you use. But it's a good idea to send your price list so they can match it.
If you're on favorable terms with suppliers, you can also consider asking to extend payment deadlines.
3. Create Holiday Sales Catalogs in Advance
Holiday sales are usually associated with the B2C market. But businesses can't serve those consumers without products from you.
Create your holiday catalogs in advance so businesses can prepare for the sales rush. Think of incentives you can give to encourage businesses to place their orders with you in time for you to fulfill them.
Set up a dedicated area for seasonal sales on your website to help reps find the right product lines. Make placing orders as easy as possible. Create email marketing campaigns alongside this to encourage early orders.
Invest time in training your reps to sell a range of product lines. Make sure they understand the benefits of each product and not just its features. That way, they're better placed to close more sales with new customers.
This also helps to ensure you get a glut of sales before the lull begins.
4. Turn to Personalized Marketing
Keep your emails short and to the point. Stick to a single call-to-action.
This makes the recipient's job easier because you're not overwhelming them with choices. They only need a single click to get where they need to be.
Personalized marketing goes beyond using a mail merge tag to add the recipient's first name. Invest in email segmentation to better understand how your email list engages with your campaigns.
An average person receives 147 emails per day and deletes 71 of them. So send content that matches the goals and behaviors of each segment.
You'll avoid sending emails that don't interest recipients, especially when their inbox is so full of holiday emails.
Clothing retailer JustFab started offering personalized emails. They saw a 71 percent increase in revenue by telling customers they valued their business.
Alternatively, switch sending sales emails for informational messages. Provide lots of information for those in your industry. Include research to help position you as a thought leader.
You might not close new deals. But you can strengthen your market position ready for new business after the holidays.
5. Do an Early Spring Clean
Regardless of the time of year, your business likely needs a spring clean. Start preparing those documents you'll need to file your taxes.
Review the year so far. Pinpoint what investments led to growth and which didn't deliver.
Use the results of this analysis to start planning for next year.
Include your expenses in your scope. How often do you buy things you didn't really need?
Consider implementing a new strategy. If you want to buy something new, think about it for a week or so first.
At the end of that time, if you still think you need it, then buy it. If you've forgotten about it, then you didn't really need it.
Review subscriptions your business holds. Do you spend a fortune on expensive software but other programs will do the same job for less?
6. Sell Your Brand, Not Just Products
Any holiday season offers a perfect opportunity to show the human side of your brand. So if you know your sales will slow, use this chance to beef up your social media.
Share photos of your office after you've decorated. Have a holiday dinner for your employees and post snaps on Instagram.
Explore the possibilities of Instagram Stories to show how you do business. Now it's quieter, you'll have time to invest in this kind of promotion.
Followers will enjoy the peek behind the curtain. And the festive content will make a change from the usual avalanche of marketing messages.
7. Create a Cash Reserve Throughout the Year
This won't help you if you're struggling right now. But it's worth bearing in mind for next year.
Build a cash reserve throughout the year to fund at least a month or two of expenses.
Save a percentage of your revenue on a monthly basis. Consider this a 'rainy day' fund for any unforeseen expenses.
But it's a great way to get through the holiday sales lull. Consider it an investment in your business when things are slow.
Everyone loves holiday sales but many businesses are focused on winning consumers. If you serve other businesses, you might find things slow down around a holiday period.
But armed with these tips, you can make it through the lull. You'll be able to find new leads, nurture existing relationships, and optimize your business ready for new orders.
If you need help to optimize your accounting, why not book your free consultation with us? Let's discuss how to save you time and money on your financial reporting.