The fourth quarter is a difficult time for sales teams. The holidays are just around the corner, a new fiscal year is in sight, and the strategies developed during this year's first quarter often seem outdated. So, what's the solution for closing out strong and bringing in critical sales? Part of the answer is motivating yourself, finding ways to eliminate distractions, and putting sales first. However, it's also worth considering the impact of technology on business communication and what the cloud can do for you in the fourth quarter.
The Fourth Quarter
According to Inc., the fourth quarter often prompts a loss in momentum, since January will bring new goals and sales managers want to avoid putting too much pressure on staff during the holidays. As a result, many companies view the fourth quarter as throwaway time, since B2B customers aren't as motivated to buy and sales teams aren't as motivated to sell. However, this doesn't mean the last three months of the year are doomed to sink sales targets.
Start by doing the following:
- Take Early Meetings: Schedule meetings in September and October, before businesses get into the holiday mindset.
- Connect with Clients: The fourth quarter is also a great time to make personal connections with clients, since they're more likely to engage about non-sales topics. The goal here isn't closing the deal but thanking customers for their business and loyalty.
- Close the Gap: Accurate measurement boosts sales. Take a look at the numbers and discover just how close sales teams are to hitting yearly targets, then use this as motivation to finish strong.
- Target Tough Processes: Are there sales processes that aren't working, or manager-level roadblocks in place making it tough to close sales or generate leads? The fourth quarter is a great time to brainstorm about what's working and what needs improvement. It's also a great time to test the waters with new sales techniques, since their successes or failures can help inform your first-quarter strategy.
- Adopt New Technologies: As noted by CommsTrader, cloud applications are on the rise as both staff and customers expect the ability to conduct business anytime, anywhere. The fourth quarter is the ideal time to add new cloud solutions and enjoy the impact of technology on business communication.
Customer Connections: The Impact of Technology on Business Communication
For sales teams struggling to hit final goals and unsure about the future of specific processes and strategies, the argument to implement a cloud communications platform may seem like a bridge too far. What if new deployments don't work well with legacy systems? What if employees prefer more familiar tools and software?
However, market forces suggest companies need to recognize the move to cloud-based communication as necessary, rather than nice to have. According to a No Jitter study, 47 percent of organizations already use video conferencing services, 38 percent use team collaboration in persistent workspaces, and 37 percent are leveraging unified communications.
The fourth quarter is the ideal time to add new cloud solutions and enjoy the impact of technology on business communication.
What does all this technology really mean for sales-to-client interaction? First, cloud services allow sales teams to leverage agile customer relationship management (CRM) tools, giving them insight about B2B fourth-quarter buying behavior. The always-on nature of the cloud, meanwhile, lets enterprises offer a customer experience that streamlines sales efforts and leaves a positive impression. By incorporating mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) support with VPN connections, sales team members are always able to give current clients and prospects their full attention, backed by access to relevant data.
Specifically, sales teams benefit from the following cloud services:
- Software Integration: By integrating existing CRM and marketing tools with cloud phone and VoIP solutions, it's possible to automatically record calls, track sales progress, and gain real-time access to relevant data.
- Mobile Connections: Cloud-based connections for mobile phones empower real-time collaboration, on-demand conferencing, and quality video calling. This makes it easier for sales staff to connect with clients, manage relationships, and close sales.
- Omnichannel Contact Centers: Sales staff members are closers. The right front-line contact center can help ensure the staff has time to focus on building relationships by giving customers multiple points and methods of contact. Cloud-based, omnichannel solutions offer voice, chat, and email services that quickly match each customer inquiry with the most appropriate agent.
Don't settle for a fourth-quarter slump. Instead, keep September and October busy to close the sales gap and look for ways to replace low-return processes. And consider cloud technology: The right services can help you finish the year strong and improve your long-term sales outlook.
When it's time to tackle fourth-quarter sales dips, start with a call to Vonage Business.