Approaching the rest of 2020

Winter is Coming.

The end of the year nears. For B2B Marketers, this means lots of demand gen. For Sales Reps, this means getting lots of meetings.

In this week’s issue, we’ll take a peek at the calendar.

Let’s take a peek at the calendar as we sit here at the beginning of the week of November 15th.

Here are some pictures of calendars.

Gotta cross out the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S.

And while there are a lot of holidays sprinkled throughout December, we can usually just count out the last two weeks for most decision makers to be “in the office”. This year will likely be no different. (Although this year has taught us that pretty much anything is possible.)

Given these historical precedents, it doesn’t leave much time to set meetings for sales reps.

But our story does not end there. There are more complications, yet.

Home, Home Again.

Many schools around the country are going to be going to a “distance learning only” status beginning after Thanksgiving, and until after winter break.

We’ve had our kindergartner, Harper, in distance learning this year full time and Weston is pre-school age. They’ve been home with us this whole time, and it isnt always easy.

For many parents who’ve transitioned their children back into “in-person” programs, this could be a sudden shock to the system.

That means that for a lot of folks… this upcoming week is the equivalent of the last week before a winter break.

Why does all this matter?

There are lot of parents involved in the buying process, and they are going to have a whole lot less time for spontaneous “15 minutes” one-on-one catchups with salespeople.

Don’t believe me?

This happened after the kids were upstairs playing (for an hour!!?) this afternoon.

The struggle is real.

We may need to shift our sales productivity goals a bit.

Cold asking for 15 minutes of dedicated time of a prospect just put someone through BANT qualification questions might not be the best performing strategy this holiday season.

Now, I’m not saying cold prospecting / cold calling doesnt work anymore. We know it does. I’m suggesting that it might not work as well as it has in more “normal” years.

So what can work?

Sales will likely be relying more heavily on demand generation teams to help generate movement this holiday season. Here’s how to think about a coordinated strategy.

Pull, don’t Push

Net new sales can sometimes feel like pushing a boulder uphill.

So how can we give it some oomph?

We have to focus on getting more results from every action we take.

Most people start forgetting about efficiency, efficacy, and other alliterative E words toward the end of the quarter.

Despite all the metaphors, here is a way to apply this to sales and demand gen.

Let’s plot it out.

You may ask yourself, “What the heck is that?”

There are two spectrums here.

  1. Cold vs. Warm leads

  2. One-to-one sales calls vs. One-to-many sessions

OK. So what is a one-to-many session?

Of course, it depends. You might call them webinars, group demos, Q&A sessions, office hours, cohorts, classes, free trainings, or something even more inventive than all those things put together.

The important part is that it is an event with a fixed time slot (or choice of a scarce number of fixed time slots) that you can invite people to.

Why should you add a one-to-many session to your arsenal this winter?

There are distinct advantages that this type of ask has over a traditional sales call.

One-to-many sessions are typically:

  • “take it or leave it” - The time slot is what it is. Will they adapt their schedule or not?

  • “come and go” - They can show up late (or not at all) and you won’t chase them.

  • ”recorded” - unlike a traditional ‘noshow’, this session is available on-demand for consumption any time.

  • “no pressure” - You aren’t putting anyone on the spot, and can take the time to address all the traditional pushback and buying questions.

Sounds good to me. So what now?

Let’s take a look back at the 2 x 2.

Let’s assume these are the likely response rates for each strategy.

Wouldn’t it be prudent to make sure you have your bases covered on the HIGH and MEDIUM side before you spend time on the LOW end of things?

At the risk of spoiling what we’ll cover in this week’s Actionable Framework on Tuesday, Let’s spell that out a little more.

Asking a warm list to attend a group product demo or webinar via email is likely to get you a higher response rate than asking the same of a cold list.

Asking a warm list to attend a on-to-one sales call via email is likely to get you a higher response rate than asking the same of a cold list.

The likely return is higher there in both of these instances.

Again, I’m not advocating for halting all activities related to cold prospecting for one-to-one sales calls.

But if that’s your first play, you may be getting low “performance per watt.”

Bad News, Good News

So we basically have one week (this week) to set up our December for success.

But, sometimes there is magic in constraints.

Up Next

P.S. I’ve (again) put together some worksheets with further detail that premium subscribers are going to dig into on Tuesday.

(Update: Here’s a link to Tuesday’s post.

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