How can B2B business owners deal with the Christmas sales slump?

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For B2B companies, the holiday season can have a major impact on your revenue. In fact, research shows that the last quarter of the year is considered a slow period for B2B sales. 

When you see your monthly recurring revenue dropping, it’s easy to feel as deflated as a blow-up Santa on Boxing Day.

So how do you reinforce a “business as usual” approach in your workplace?

If you want to conquer the holiday slump, stave off a drop in monthly recurring revenue and finish the year with a bang, here are some tips:

Relationships

Whether you’re marketing to an individual, a small business or a huge multinational concern with millions of dollars hanging in the balance, one thing is certain.

In the long term, it’s a relationship. And relationships are formed from contact.

Don’t go all silent at Christmas and expect to find your leads just as warm after the snow melts!

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.

If you’re reaching out to a new lead, remember their personal email will be full of Christmas offers and January sales lead-ins, but their business email will actually be getting less traffic than usual at this time of year.

Approach them through work with relevant content and consider looking them up on social media.

The best thing you can offer a lot of your leads is a reminder that the whole world isn’t reindeer and elves: they still need to get stuff done, so let them know that you’re still there.

Do they care it’s Christmas?

One of the effects of living in a place that’s basically about 90% Santa Claus by weight as of December 20 is that it can make us forget: it’s not Christmas everywhere, and it’s not New Year’s a week later everywhere either.

That gives us a couple of avenues to explore.

First, it’s not Christmas in India and China, or across most of the Middle East.

There are Christian groups all over the world but the majority culture will decide when business slows down and the shops shut. So if you have sizable groups of clients in Japan or Malaysia, you have the opportunity to show some knowledge and respect for them by not getting all Christmassy when everyone else does.

And you’ll often have the field to yourself: in India, they already did Diwali before December even starts.

Now they want to get back to business, but everyone in Europe and America puts B2B on the back burner for six weeks. Buck the trend and reap the rewards of closer relationships and emptier inboxes!

Create Seasonal Content 

An empty inbox might be athe dream for many, but the truth is that people love great content, especially when it’s related to things that are going on in the here and now.

Think about it: when you’re searching for the perfect gift for a techy friend, isn’t it helpful when you get an email from a brand you like that features an article about this year’s top tech gifts?

Christmas and New Years can provide major opportunities to cash in on content that people are already searching for. Content marketing creates organic traffic, which hopefully translates into brand recognition and sales. While you might anticipate your traffic or revenue going down, you shouldn’t let your content slip.

Don’t forget to A/B test your content to figure out what works and doesn’t work with your audience. If your dancing Santa gifs fall flat on Facebook, next year you’ll be able to make a better educated guess about what your audience will respond to.

Create Positive PR 

There’s no time like a sales slump to toot your own horn and light a fire under your marketing efforts.

If you have positive customer testimonials and case studies, share them. If you’ve recently won an award or been featured in an industry article, share your good news. Promoting your brand and showing off your success is important to how customers and prospects perceive your business and can help influence their buying decisions.

Up-sell to your existing customers 

Upselling to your existing customers is good business practice throughout the year, but can be especially useful when you’re going through a slump.

In fact, data shows that, on average, loyal customers are worth 10 times their initial transaction, and they’re 65% easier to sell to than first-timers. Studies also show that just a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a business’s profits by 25% to 95%. That’s huge.

 

Follow up, and keep following up 

Follow-up should be a routine sales practice all year around, but it’s a tactic many businesses neglect. There’s no time like the end of the year to reach out to prospective customers you’ve talked to during the year, see how they fared in 2019, and find out if the timing is right to work together in 2020 — or even now.

When your customers and prospects are back at work in January and ready to kick off the New Year with a fresh start, you want your business to be front and center in their minds. Provide them with the resources they need in December to help steer them in your direction.

Calling out of the blue might feel awkward, so lead the conversation with something of value, such as how you helped a similar business during the year (don’t forget to email them the case study after your chat).

Get Personal

Christmas and New Year are emotional times.

The end of the year’s approaching, people’s minds turn to family and friends, and they’re usually feeling both stressed about getting through it all and more relaxed because they know quitting time’s nearly here; it’s the Friday afternoon of the year.

All that means it’s a great time to reach out in a more personal way.

This is a perfect time of year to remind your customers and leads that you’re a real human being. Remember to stay professional, but there’s considerable leeway within that.

So if you want to close 2019 on a positive note — and position your business well for 2020 — consider sending cards and gifts to your top customers and promising prospects. This will ensure you stay fresh on their minds in the New Year, and may even allow you to close one last sale before the end of the year.

Going out of your way to acknowledge a customer and thank them will not only humanize your brand, but also make them more likely to renew with you next year.

Conclusion

Christmas and New Year see business communications trail off – but there’s no reason they have to.

When used constructively, this time of year can actually be really useful for B2B companies. It provides opportunities to get in touch with your customers and thank them for sticking with you throughout the year, and plan ahead for next year.

Plus, it’s the perfect time to give prospective customers a nudge with gentle reminders that you can help them start 2020 on the right foot and help them get ahead with their business, while also helping your own.

 

Emily is a Google Shopping Specialist with a keen interest in marketing trends and creating fresh, interesting content.

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