By Kendra Lee
Here we are in the fourth quarter and you have a revenue target that you’re trying to achieve. It’s been a difficult year for selling and your sales funnel may not have produced what you wanted or needed.
Your Sales Funnel Quandary
Now you’re in a quandary as to where to focus your attention. Do you prospect? Or will prospecting take your attention away from closing business? Is there no business to close at the moment? Do you give up on the year and start prospecting for Q1 opportunities hoping that next year will be better?
You have to determine how you are going to spend your selling time at the end of the year.
While you may want to stop prospecting, the reality is that you may not have enough in your sales funnel to generate the new business you need to make your sales goal for the year. But if you begin prospecting now, do you really have enough runway to close new deals before the end of the year?
Rather than give up, change your end-of-year prospecting strategy.
3 Fourth Quarter Prospecting Opportunities
Sales prospecting traditionally means finding net new business – new clients you’ve never worked with before. In the fourth quarter of the year, look for new opportunities that don’t require the same level of prospecting and sales process effort:
1. Look for smaller opportunities. The smaller the dollar amount, the lower the decision is in the organization. It’s easier for a manager to approve a $3,000 sale than it is to get approval to spend $30,000. It may seem counterintuitive, but at the end of the year, many small sales are the better strategy. Plus, with the challenges we’ve had this year, companies are more comfortable approving small sales.
2. Look within existing customer accounts. What didn’t your customers invest in this year that they intended? Many put important projects on hold. Perhaps now they are ready and there are last-minute projects they want to complete. Or, they may want to prepare now for the first quarter.
3. Look for win-back sales in old customers that haven’t worked with you recently. Maybe there are people who haven’t done business with you for one or two years, or even three, four, or five years who could use your help now. Their experiences with their current provider this year may not have been as positive as it was working with you. They didn’t receive the same value you provide. Win them back.
Your Fourth Quarter Prospecting Strategy
You need sales opportunities that are quick to close not just new opportunities for your pipeline.
That means you need sales prospects who already know about your company. They know the quality of the work you do. They understand the value that you bring.
And frankly, you know them. You understand their decision process. You know who the decision-makers are. You are familiar with their typical budget for different types of decisions.
Don’t stop all new client prospecting in the fourth quarter. You should still spend some time looking for brand new opportunities. Those will be your sales opportunities for the first quarter of next year. Just spend a larger percentage of your time on prospects where you already have relationships and knowledge.
Yes, it’s been a wild and weird year to be in sales. But companies are still budgeting, spending their budgets, and attempting to finish the year strong. Don’t miss out. A pandemic should not be the reason your business isn’t thriving.