Most B2B sales reps can agree that there is one thing a heck of a lot scarier than ghosts, goblins, and assorted monsters: moving into the holiday season without the new accounts you’d hoped to win long before October 31.
While it may be more challenging to win new accounts during the holiday season, it’s certainly not impossible, particularly if you remain vigilant when your competitors are lessening their sales and marketing efforts, consciously or unconsciously, as a result low holiday sales expectations. There are some things that you can’t control during the holidays, such as fewer calendar days during which you can conduct business, people’s holiday vacation schedules, and limited budgets, but there are several things that you can control.
Instead of dimming your sales and marketing efforts, try to find holiday-sensitive ways of ramping them up. Perhaps you should open up your company holiday party to the current clients you hope to upsell to in 2013. Maybe you ought to launch an e-marketing campaign that addresses how your business can help leads cope with the challenges their companies will face during the holiday season. If possible, offer holiday discounts or other incentives.
You may be able to achieve higher than expected sales during the winter months simply by taking the time to confirm (and, if necessary, reconfirm) the sales appointments you already have on the books. Everyone understands that the holiday season is hectic. Use the holidays to your advantage by making your attempts to follow up with leads during the winter months sound less like desperate attempts to close deals before 2013 and more like helpful attempts to work with people’s busy schedules.
If you don’t get the number of new accounts you want to get before 2013, don’t despair. There is no reason you can’t get a slew of them in Q1 of the new year if you lay the right groundwork ahead of time. Recently released B2B market data suggests that focusing on content marketing during any downtime you experience during the winter months could be particularly advantageous.
A recent article on eMarketer.com cited a study by the technology marketing expert, Holger Shulze. According to the article, Shulze’s August 2012 study “pointed to a growing number of worldwide B2B technology marketers turning to content marketing for more brand-based goals, namely boosting thought leadership and brand awareness.” Shulze’s study showed that in 2011 and 2012, B2B technology marketers worldwide considered the leading goals of content marketing to be lead generation, thought leadership and marketing education, and brand awareness, in that order.
The article also cited BtoB Magazine findings that corresponded with Shulze’s findings. According to B2B Magazine’s findings, the leading content marketing objectives of B2B marketing professionals in May 2012 were lead generation, brand awareness, and thought leadership, in that order.
At Vendere Partners, we feel the takeaway from these results is that marketing through content generation is becoming increasingly important—even critical. With the amount of useless, poorly written, and badly marketed content increasing about as quickly as the number of ways that it can be accessed, it only makes sense that truly relevant content will become more and more valuable over time.
Whether you’re putting forth articles, blog posts, case studies, e-blasts, press releases, or social media posts, the quality of your content matters. In addition to remaining steadfast when it comes to your sales and marketing efforts through the year’s end, preparing now to launch a content-focused campaign in Q1 might be the best thing you can do to ensure that your business continues to move forward this holiday season.