If I was leading sales at an enterprise/B2b startup, there’s one thing I’d be hammering to my team this month ––
Q4 starts now.
Sure, you’ve got late-stage deals to convert right now, and you’ve got early-stage deals developing. That’s expected. These are pipeline and deals you sourced in 2018 and the early part of this year.
The bigger challenge that most startups face are their own growth-on-growth sales projections – the need to increase sales at an increasing rate this calendar year.
Say you did $1MM ARR in 2018, and you need to hit $3MM+ in 2019, your sales model probably looks something like this:
Now, I’m the first to advocate for selling your stuff anytime of the year. You can always find more prospects and deals whether it’s July 4th weekend or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I converted one of the most important deals we ever had at Blend during Thanksgiving week. But the summertime slowdown is real. People take vacations. Your prospects are juggling summer camps and babysitting.
Heck, I know for myself that summertime means figuring out help week-to-week. Plus we take a couple of weeks and head to Portland every summer. It’s a work-cation, but productivity definitely slows. Clients come first, so any new ideas and initiatives take a back seat. You’re probably in the same boat. It’s harder to find your prospects, and it’s harder to find time to sell.
Then Labor Day comes, and what happens?
Your prospects are planning their 2020 budgets in September and October. By the time you track them down in the Fall, they’ve already decided where they’re spending their money next year.
So while you and your sales team are focusing on today’s pipeline, you need to keep pushing on your prospecting for your Q4 deals now.
Here are 3 strategies you can implement:
- Install a Prospecting Power Hour at least twice a week. This means developing new leads on LinkedIn, finding deals that went dark in your CRM, kicking off a new outbound campaign, and asking your current customers for referrals.
- Require your team to run their sales funnel numbers before the next team meeting. Show them their Q4 quotas show them their current conversion rates through the sales funnel (lead conversation rate, demo conversion rate, deal size, time-to-close) and ask them if their current rates will get them to their Q4 number. We both know that answers like – “If I just increase my conversation rate from 25% to 50%, I’ll be fine..” are complete crap.
- Examine your marketing campaigns –– Are they generating enough of the right leads and the right customers? Is it time to pursue that Account-based strategy you’ve been holding off because you’re afraid of missing opportunities? Is the white paper you published in 2017 stale and irrelevant – is it time to install a new Authority Voice campaign?
Now, if you want some more help with this, check out our “Fill Your Funnel” program I’m running this Spring. It’s designed to help you build and implement your startup’s sales engagement strategy to fill your funnel in the next 10 weeks, so that you can nail your number in 2019.
In “Fill Your Funnel,” you’ll learn how to:
- Build and implement your startup’s Multi-touch, Omni-channel Sales Engagement campaigns.
- Prospect the right way on LinkedIn (and no, it’s not sending crappy cold InMails…).
- Execute your Outbound Calling campaigns.
- Leverage the phone and how to leave voicemails.
- Plan every hour, day and week of your selling time.
- Qualify, and disqualify, every lead in 12 minutes or less.
- Plus a whole lot more…
If your startup could use a quick boost of leads to fill your sales funnel, and you want to build a repeatable sales engagement systems, send me an email ([email protected]) with the word “FUNNEL” and I’ll share the details.