By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes
A friend of mine recently had a conversation that went something like this:
“Friend: Hi, I want to talk about how we can run some campaigns in your accounts
Supplier: That’s all very interesting but it’s Q4 and we are closing
Friend: In-between closing do you have time for prospecting?
Supplier: To be honest we have a re-organisation every year and I don’t know if I will have these accounts next year.”
I’ve seen Q4 at its ugliest
It’s worth me saying, I’m a sales guy and I totally understand Q4, I’ve done it, got the scars and the T-Shirt. I’ve worked at some of the toughest sales organisations in the world and seen Q4 at its ugliest. Slept in my car in the customer car park and got purchase orders walked through finance departments. I’ve sat at partner offices in reception all day waiting for a purchase order all to have to drive to the office and get it processed.
But that conversation above is a company in 2018 with a major problem and in a death spiral.
Every company must have a culture to prospect, regardless which month or quarter it is.
In a previous company, we undertook a transformation to go from being an “On-Premises” market leader to becoming an “SaaS / Cloud” market leader. We had to think hard about the organisation we wanted to be.
For example, we moved from quarterly forecasting to monthly forecasting and this also meant the end to “quarter-end deals”. We also announced re-organisations before Q4, to allow sales people to close the deals, hand over accounts and to allow sales people to ramp up before Q4 closed out.
One area we focused in on was this “I’m closing” culture in Q4 and segmented those sales people that were closing from those sales people that just said they were.
Those that were not actually closing were put on a program of prospecting / demand generation, so that we would hit Q1 with pipeline.
One of these measures was a social selling program.
Why social selling? A number of reasons:
- Be able to sell higher and faster than cold calling. While cold calling was used it was mainly for low level transactional contacts, whereas gatekeepers blocked the C-Level contacts. With no C-Level gatekeepers on social, it is the only way to sell at a high level.
- It is a common myth of social selling that it takes a long time. It is social marketers that tend to say this, but we did want to take a social marketing approach to accounts. So, create pipe fast with social selling in Q4 for Q1, but also create relationships so we had pipe in Q2.
- Create a long-term prospecting culture. The problem with cold calling agencies or the marketing “campaign” approach to lead generation is that you get this “feast and famine” situation with leads and meetings. On the basis that “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We wanted to create a culture of continuous lead and meeting generation. In advance of an Account Based Marketing (ABM) approach.
If you are a sales leader I’m sure you know what you need to do to close out your Q4 and best of luck. If you want a successful Q1 and you don’t want to wait until Q1 then why not give us a call? 00 44 7823 534 557
And by the way, we are now not just a UK company, but became a global one a month ago, able to support our clients worldwide.
Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.