Nobody likes to admit it, but what happens over the next three months is going to pretty much dictate your sales numbers for the year. Which means that by June, your ability to impact this year’s results is quickly fading and you are on to 2014.
We often hear clients say, “We have to really focus on closing deals in the second half of the year to make sure we hit our numbers and end the year strong.” But if those deals haven’t already entered your sales pipeline in Q2, then you are really just playing catch up.
If you have a short sales cycle, you can ignore everything I just said. But if you are like most of MarketLauncher’s clients, who have a long and complex sales cycle (six months or longer) often driven by multiple stakeholders, then I am talking to you.
How the Prospecting Cycle Influences Your Sales Pipeline
Obviously there are lots of exceptions and situational differences, but in general at MarketLauncher we’ve come to view the prospecting cycle as follows.
Q3: Prospective buyers are planning budgets for next year. This is a good time to make a connection, introduce your offerings, and make a business case for your solution as it applies to a client company’s key initiatives which are planned in the upcoming year. And ideally, help establish budget parameters.
Q4: You might get lucky and grab some low hanging fruit in the form of residual budget dollars that need to be spent before year end. But more likely, your best prospecting during this time is to seize the opportunity to get in front of decision makers and influencers who have moved beyond the budgeting phase and are now seriously looking at potential solutions or partners who are going to help drive next year’s initiatives.
Q1: This is generally a hot time for prospecting. Especially in situations where you might have limited awareness inside a target account. We find decision makers become more open to introductory meetings during this time. They have begun the new year and everyone is looking at everything with fresh eyes. If your value proposition resonates with one of their key goals for the year ahead, they should be open and willing to take a meeting to discuss how your solution might fit into their plans.
Q2: This is the best time to capitalize on pain. The year’s initiatives are well underway and pain points are emerging. Do you have the solution? Focus your message on how you can solve a problem, alleviate pain or increase their results. This is where you get to take advantage of the client’s desire to “end the year strong.”
And then you cycle back to Q3 and the focus on funneling new opportunities into your pipeline for next year. Once you can get out in front of this cycle, forecasting sales goals starts to get far more precise.
At MarketLauncher we are always working to help our clients grow their pipeline and fully maximize the market potential. Here’s hoping you have a busy and prosperous Q2!