Budget is already allotted for the year. There’s not enough time to make a deal.
Decision-makers have their out-of-office messages on. Prospects have lost focus and are thinking more about parties than paperwork.
It seems like as soon as the calendar flips to October your promising prospects start to go MIA, right as your team pushes to hit that Q4 quota.
Your salespeople probably hear a lot of year-end-specific sales objections around this time. Many believe the myth that the end of the year is a bad time to make a business buying decision or they don’t have the will to push a deal through. And that means the brush-offs start piling up like fallen leaves and snow drifts.
Since you’re in sales, you know the truth: the months leading up to the end-of-year holidays can actually be the best time to buy. Your salespeople are keen to end the year on a high note. Your customer success reps have more availability on their calendar to get new clients onboarded right away.
You know that when your clients make buying decisions in Q4, your team is able to set them up to hit the ground running as soon as Q1 starts.
However, this post isn’t about how to help your own sales team thrive during the “holiday sales slump.” It’s about what happens when you’re the one on the other side of a deal.
When you’re the prospect in a sales situation and the clock is ticking down from Halloween to New Year’s Eve, do YOU put off sales decisions until January? And give many of the same excuses?
You’re in the sales game. You know that a lot of people sleep on making a decision at the end of the year. You know how annoying that is for your sales team and how detrimental it can be for the prospect. So why are you making things harder for yourself and your team?
If you’re making changes to your sales team’s tech stack, Q4 is where the magic happens. Making an end-of-year purchasing decision works in your favour in four big ways:
- It makes your Q1 a strong sales quarter from day 1.
- You can get in on special deals, which may disappear if you wait.
- You can often find some budget wiggle-room.
- You have extra time to implement changes and new processes.
Let’s explore how a flurry of buying activity at the end of the year can set you up for an avalanche of benefits in the new year.
1. Use the impending holiday ‘slowdown’ as a speed ramp
For many sales software purchasing decisions, the sale and contract signing is just one small piece of the overall deal.
The post-sale activity is what’s really going to take time: cleaning up and transferring your data, onboarding and training your team, and making sure everything is running smoothly.
If you decide and sign on later in the year, the software company’s customer success reps may be more available to help you with important set-up tasks right away.
Push the decision off to January, and you could find yourself in post-sale Siberia. You’ll be waiting for assistance behind all the other cotton-headed ninny muggins who didn’t opt in early either.
On your end, business tends to slow through Q4. What better opportunity to put some new software in place than when your sales team has some extra time to go through the training and get organized?
They can then contact support with any questions they may have, play around with it, and get used to it without feeling rushed.
Once everyone is back in the office with their fill of holiday cheer, your salespeople can get back to selling right away using their new tool. It’ll be a new year, with a new solution in place, but it’ll already be old hat for your sales team.
2. Jumpstart your new year
By onboarding your team before the new year starts, you can position your sales team for a strong year right from January 1st (even if you partied like it’s 1999 the night before).
January is too late to start thinking about making it a great year with new sales software. You’re already behind. You’ll need to bring other decision-makers back up to speed on the deal, and, depending on your internal procurement process, it may take weeks or months to get approvals and sign-offs.
With even the smallest amount of red tape, it will be Q2 or later before you’re able to put your new tool in place. Then more valuable selling time will go by before your team gets fully up to speed with it.
Before you know it, it’ll be Q4 again. At this rate, it’ll be 2021 by the time you finally fully implement the changes you started looking into back in 2019. Yup, 2021 will definitely be your year!
If waiting another year sounds like too long, the easiest way to speed up the process is to avoid letting your indecisiveness snowball out of control. Make smart decisions now and your team can start reaping the benefits as soon as possible.
There’s always a bit of disconnect between Q4 and Q1. People take time off, they travel, they see family and friends. You all get back to the office, swap stories of your holidays, and then, finally, get back to work.
THAT'S when you’re going to start making decisions, switching stuff up, and trying new things?
In January, the month that contains Blue Monday, the “most depressing day of the year”?
When everyone’s still irritable because they had to wear that ugly, itchy sweater they hate because it was a gift from Aunt Trudy?
People tend not to be super receptive to change at the best of times, but if you can catch them in a more positive mood before the realities of their New Year's resolutions sink in, it might help you get buy-in on a new selling tool or process change.
3. Take advantage of end-of-year deals
If a sales rep has their clients’ best interests at heart, it makes good sense to advocate for getting the deal done before Q1. The smart salesperson knows that this is a great time to come on board with a new solution.
Maybe it’s the holiday cheer or maybe it’s the impending end-of-year, but sales reps can also be motivated to give the best value in Q4. They might offer you this year’s pricing for next year’s services or throw in a free add-on or upgrade.
Whatever it is, once the year is over and sales targets are reset, any special deals on the table are likely to expire, too. Take advantage while you can.
4. Avoid a budget crunch
I can hear you thinking, Special deals are great and all, but it’s the end of the year. What if I don’t have much—or any—budget left to work with?
Remember what I just mentioned about jolly sales reps getting into the holiday spirit? If your current year’s budget has all been spent and you’re waiting on the new fiscal to start, your sales rep can be your best buddy.
An eager sales rep might make accommodations in order to get the deal done in Q4 instead of Q1. They could be open to working out a payment plan with you or deferring your first invoice until the new year.
And, who knows? You may find yourself with some extra budget burning a hole in your pocket at end-of-year. What better way to spend it than setting your team up for success? You’ll have your new solution in place and the cost (or part of it) can be allocated to last year’s bottom line.
From fast-tracked deployment to value-added deals, making smart sales software decisions in Q4 makes you look like a genius and gives your sales team the gift of a more prosperous new year.
Who wouldn't be excited about that?