It’s that time of year, where marketing teams are scrambling for those last minute ideas to push strong sales growth for the last quarter of the year. E-Commerce is in full swing, and retail is buzzing with shoppers. But, B2B companies can often feel like this is the lull period. Their opportunities are so focused on their own thing that they aren’t interested in purchasing or creating new campaigns.
So what should a B2B marketer do to help end the year strong? Should B2B marketers avoid the holidays entirely? We’ll take a look at some tactics that could help you drive new sales at the end of the year, and make for a holly jolly holiday season for your B2B business.
#1 – The Taxman Cometh
If your sales opportunities, or your target personas for that matter have had stellar sales years, they may be looking to offload some of their cash in order to not pay as much in taxes. Those folks are going through their assets and determining which are no longer depreciable and capital expenditures are a new deduction.
Service companies can offer buy up-front options or even discounts to help them use the whole service cost for the next year on this year’s taxes. So definitely consider giving a discount for a year subscription if they purchase the whole year in advance. It might coax them into purchasing to save money.
#2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Upsell
When’s the last time you offered an annual review with your existing clients? The end of the year is a great time to sit down with them, find out what worked and what didn’t for the last 12 months. They may have some work that you can do to improve what they’ve got. They may also not know of some of your other offerings that would mean additional revenues this year.
Even if the client is in a contract, there may be opportunities for new revenue growth from your clients. If they have initiatives coming up in the next year and they haven’t told you about them, a renegotiation of the agreement may be in order.
If you sold them hardware, find out what didn’t work and offer solutions that might help them with efficiency. This will have the short-term benefit for them of knowing you’re on their side, and long-term benefits of them not wanting to switch from your company for their next major sale. Of course, if there are sales opportunities in doing so, it’s a great benefit for you.
#3 – Get Personal
Getting personal could be something as simple as sending out Christmas cards to your customers. Or for those marquee clients, sending out a gift basket to your point of contact.
Let me stress sending it to your point of contact. If that’s the CEO, great, but they get them from everyone. If that person is a marketing coordinator, or a maintenance person they quite often don’t get the gift baskets so it will be noted.
It also doesn’t hurt to find out what that person is into. Don’t just send a generic jelly-of-the-month club subscription. Specializing your gifts makes them feel less like a customer, and more like a friend.
A quick search of someone’s Facebook or Twitter account should give you an indication of what interests them outside work. It’s a simple touch, but could mean the difference between the next job going out for RFP and you just getting the job.
Being a B2B marketer can be rewarding at this time of year. You can have the joy of meeting with your clients, sending gifts, and connecting with the companies and personas that grow your business year after year.
What you don’t have to contend with is the stress of consumer goods marketing at this festive time of year. You’re not on those tight deadlines, and for most of us, this isn’t the sales crunch time that other industries are. We get the benefit of a more relaxed quarter than those B2C folks. And with the right marketing strategy we’re prepped for a stronger next year. So to answer the question, “should B2B marketers avoid the holidays entirely?” the answer is a definite no. You might even find our holiday marketing calendar helpful for you too.