If you’re in Sales and Sales Leadership, Q1 wasn’t kind to you.
With a resounding theme of doing more with less (🤢), budget cuts, pushed priorities, and overall employee turnover (both in your prospects and your team) chances are you’re behind on your goals.
Add in the fact we are heading into the summer season where it seems like no one can make a decision until everyone is back in-office, it can start to feel like H1 of 2023 is a wash.
And for many salespeople, it will be.
But not for you.
Q2 is your opportunity to get back on track. Because where others see a roadblock, you see an opportunity to drive urgency, truly personalize, and show your prospects you know them.
If you are looking for practical Summer Sales Hacks, here are the best ones taken from our recent session with Samantha McKenna and Matt Green.
In This Blog, We’ll Cover:
- Outbound Sales Sequences in the Summer Template
- Urgency in the Sales Process
- How to Instill Urgency in Your Sales Team
- Thoughtfulness in the Sales Process
- Referrals & Strategic Non-Urgency
- How to Drive Deals Despite Out-Of-Office Replies
- Social Selling When Your Buyers Aren’t Active on Social Media
- The Most Effective Sales Touches in a Sales Sequence
- Staying Resilient When Sales Gets Quiet
Outbound Sales Sequences in the Summer Template
If you’re looking for a highly practical and tactical answer, here is an outbound sales sequence template you can steal for your Summer Outbounding.
- Send a “Show Me You Know Me” email on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Spend the day writing these emails and then queue them up for your executives to send.
- While you may not get a response, you will likely get an open, which is a great opportunity to follow up with your second email touchpoint within 48 hours. This email should remind the prospect of your first email and ask for a meeting. Sending this email on a weekend can be especially effective since most executives are working 6.6 hours on weekends.
- The next touchpoint can be a LinkedIn message, which should not be a pitch slap. Instead, remind the prospect that you’ve sent a few emails and would love to chat with them about what your company can offer. This approach is more direct and lets the prospect know exactly why you’re reaching out.
It’s essential to do your research and craft a well-thought-out email. While it may take more time, it can have a significant impact on your outreach efforts. By doing this, you’ll build a great brand for yourself as a seller and establish a reputation that will follow you beyond your current company.
To make your outbound sales efforts successful during the summer months, focus on the quality of your outreach rather than quantity. Be direct in your messaging, do your research, and leverage the weekends to get in touch with busy executives. By implementing these actionable tips, you’ll stand out from the competition and increase your chances of closing deals.
If you want more actionable tips for enhancing your sequences, keep reading!
Urgency in the Sales Process
Urgency is absolutely critical when it comes to success in sales. Yet, so many sales professionals lack this fairly simple skill. But when a seller is responsive, we take notice. Though we joke about it, we are all having to do more with less. Which means more than ever, sellers are all fighting over what budgets are left. So being extremely responsive to emails, proposals, and client pitches is key. Especially when a prospective buyer is already in dialogue with competitors, being quick to respond can make all the difference in securing the sale.
One way to show urgency is to send a quick response even if you don’t have a full answer to a prospective email at that time. We often don’t want to shoot off that email that simply says “I’m on it. I’ll have an answer to you before the end of the day.” But when you don’t respond, you leave that buyer guessing without any clear next steps. Letting the person know that you’re on top of their request and will get back to them as soon as possible is an excellent practice that can set you apart from others.
And if you have ever tried to ensure your responses are quick, it’s often inconvenient. Sam shared a story that she had received an email from a buyer while she was driving to a lunch meeting. Most people would have waited until after lunch to respond. But these were the final red lines on a deal. The buyer was clearly at their desk. And they were ready to move forward. So instead of waiting until later to respond, she pulled over called a team member, and told them what to write as an email response.
So instead of getting the redlines approved the next day and having to take that back to the client’s legal team the next day, the client got their redlines approved within 15 minutes of sending them. While this may seem like common sense, not everyone is as quick to respond, and being urgently responsive can make all the difference in securing a deal.
How to Instill Urgency Into Your Teams
Instilling a sense of urgency in sales reps can be a challenge, especially when some may not have it naturally. But considering how critical urgency is in the success of your sales team, you have to learn how to instill that sense of urgency in your teams. And it starts with leading by example.
As a leader, you need to show your team how to communicate with clients and prospects with a sense of urgency. Be transparent with your expectations and provide the rationale behind them. Celebrate sellers that showcase urgency and ensure that when deals close, you attribute the actions the sellers did to close the deal.
Another important point is to define expectations for both parties. While leaders often talk about expectations for their reps, they should also outline what their teams should expect from their leaders. For example, as a leader, you should respond quickly to urgent matters if you should expect your reps to do the same.
Defining key terms such as urgency is another critical aspect of instilling a sense of urgency in your team. Urgency can mean different things to different people. So, it’s essential to have a conversation with your team about what urgency means and establish a cadence that works to drive revenue.
Lastly, be a great coach. While, setting an example by responding quickly to urgent matters, following up promptly, and having difficult conversations when necessary are all incredibly important. It’s also crucial to provide guidance and support to help your team meet the set expectations.
Thoughtfulness in the Sales Process
Though urgency is critical, there is also an element that you can control to set expectations. And those are the verbal promises you offer the potential clients you’re working with. A way to ensure you always manage expectations and drive urgency is by under-promising, and over-delivering.
Here are some actionable tips on how to be thoughtful through the sales process:
- Promise Longer, Deliver Faster: When a prospect asks for something, give yourself some wiggle room by setting a deadline that is longer than the actual time you need to complete the task. For example, if you know you can deliver a proposal by the end of the day, tell the prospect you will deliver it no later than the end of business on the following day. This gives you some breathing room to deal with unexpected emergencies or last-minute changes, while also impressing the prospect when you deliver the proposal earlier than promised.
- Prioritize follow-up: When a prospect asks for follow-up materials or a proposal, prioritize their request and deliver it promptly. This demonstrates that you are responsive, organized, and committed to their business needs. If you encounter a delay or unforeseen circumstance, communicate with the prospect and provide an updated timeline for delivery.
- Frequent, Relevant Touches: Small touches can make a big difference in establishing a positive relationship with potential clients. Respond promptly, even outside of regular business hours, to demonstrate your commitment to their business. When you promise to deliver something, follow through on that promise and communicate proactively if there are any delays or issues.
- Lead with Transparency: Sometimes things outside of your control do come up that make it impossible for you to meet the expectations you set. So be transparent. Share what came up and a new timeline on when you will have the answers they need.
- Answering Completely: With a focus on urgency, there’s often a feeling that you need to keep prospects constantly up to date. And though frequent communication is often a good thing, frequent, incomplete answers are not. So when you offer your answers, ensure they are complete answers. Incomplete answers can do more harm than good and waste time. It is also essential to be mindful of the time of executives, decision-makers, or influencers in a deal and be succinct in communications.
Referrals and Strategic Non-Urgency
Another area where urgency can play a crucial role is referrals. Responding quickly is important as the referrer’s reputation is on the line, and it’s crucial to ensure that future referrals keep coming. But it’s also important to take a quick pause, do some research on the individual, and show that you’ve done your homework. Bonus points can be earned by finding other people in your network who both know the person making the referral and are clients of yours.
Once you’ve done your research and responded to the referral quickly, there are also situations where strategic non-urgency can be used to great effect. One tip is to use the delayed thank you, where instead of responding immediately to someone who has agreed to get something to you, you wait a day or two before sending the thank you. This serves as a reminder to the person that they agreed to get something to you and gives them the chance to follow through. It’s also a great way to show that you’re not desperate and can strategically use time to your advantage.
Again, urgency can be a powerful tool in sales, it’s important to strike a balance between being urgent and coming across as desperate or overeager. Being thoughtful in responses and taking the time to research individuals can help solidify future referrals. Additionally, strategic non-urgency can be a great way to use time to your advantage and help close deals.
How to Drive Deals Despite Out-of-Office Replies
Especially during the summer, many salespeople face the challenge of dealing with out-of-office replies from their prospects. But how can you drive deals forward despite these automatic messages?
One tactic that Sam recommends is to get strategic with LinkedIn. Anytime you get an OOO message from someone, look to see if they are posting any content. By doing this, you can engage with them and get visibility without ever reaching out to them directly.
Especially during the quieter months of Q2 and Q3, it’s important to supercharge your prospecting efforts. Sam suggests using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to look at your book of business and past clients. Is there anyone who previously worked for your best clients that now works in your territory? This is an underutilized hack that can help you find new prospects quickly (and #samsales can help).
Another way to drive urgency despite out-of-office messages is to personalize your outreach. Matt Green shared an example of a time when a rep from Slack reached out to him while he was on vacation. The rep knew where he was going and recommended some local restaurants to try. By doing this, the rep was able to connect with Matt at a different level than other competitors who might be vying for his attention.
Similarly, if you know someone who is traveling, take the opportunity to do some quick research and recommend places to go or things to see. This not only shows that you’re paying attention to their interests but also helps you stay top of mind during their trip.
Lastly, if someone is out of office and they suggest contacting someone else, you can use that information to your advantage. For example, if you’re targeting Matt Green and he suggests contacting Mason Cosby, it’s likely safe to assume that Mason may have some hand in the buying committee. You can leverage out-of-office replies to start multi-threading. Even if you’re not at that point in the deal cycle, it’s never too early to start engaging with people who are referenced in out-of-office messages. Follow them on LinkedIn, engage with their content, and show them the value you can provide when the deal is done.
These are several actionable steps you can take to drive deals forward despite out-of-office messages. Get strategic with LinkedIn, personalize your outreach, supercharge your prospecting efforts, and leverage out-of-office replies to start multi-threading. By doing these things, you can stay top of mind with your prospects and keep deals moving forward, even during the summer months.
Social Selling when your Buyers aren’t Active on Social Media
Mentioned a few times in the tactics above is the idea of reaching out over LinkedIn. But what do you do when your key personas aren’t active on social media? Here are some actionable tips from experienced sales professionals.
First and foremost, don’t just focus on your specific buyer persona. Consider the 18 or 19 people in the buying circle, including those who roll up to decision-makers. Broadening your exposure can lead to more opportunities for engagement.
Secondly, don’t worry if your buyers aren’t on LinkedIn. Posting great content, even if it’s not being directly consumed by your target personas, can still have an impact through the effect of dark social. This means your content can be shared through text messages, Slack communities, WhatsApp, and other platforms. The goal should be to prioritize views over likes and comments, as the majority of leads often come from people that don’t actually engage with content (aka lurkers).
Finally, aim for surround sound. This means creating a consistent presence across multiple channels, even if your buyers aren’t on LinkedIn. This approach can still lead to inbound interest from unexpected sources, as potential customers may learn about your brand through channels where they are more active. By focusing on broadening your exposure and consistently sharing high-quality content, you can increase your chances of reaching potential customers, even if they aren’t actively engaging with you on social media.
The Most Effective Sales Touches in a Sales Sequence
The most effective sales touches in a Sales Sequence are the least scalable. People in sales often love the phone, but leaving voicemails is not a particularly effective way to get a response. If it’s just a cold call that says “Hi I’m John with XYZ Company trying to sell you.” you’re probably just going to get your number blocked.
Instead of relying on voicemails, consider getting people in person. Meeting someone face to face can make a big difference in separating you from the competition. Not every sales motion or product requires an in-person touch, but when you can get in person with someone, you create a memory instead of a noisy email or phone call. And again, our goal is to stand out and be memorable.
Sam McKenna also advocates for sending handwritten thank-you notes – even when you lose a deal. It might seem counterintuitive, but playing the long game and showing appreciation can set you apart from your competition.
Don’t forget to reward your champions internally, whether it’s by sending them a box of swag or a small gift card to their favorite coffee shop.
At the core of any sales touch, the most important thing you can do is to be of value to your clients. Educate them at every stage of the deal cycle by sharing posts, articles, and other evergreen content that you can always share.
The most effective sales touches are those that show you care about your prospects and clients. Be of value to them, connect with them in person when possible, and show your appreciation for their support. These touches can make all the difference in winning and keeping business.
Staying Resilient When Sales Gets Quiet
Sales can be a tough job, and it’s important to stay motivated and resilient even when things aren’t going well. One key to maintaining urgency and morale is finding spots for resiliency.
This could mean listening to music or taking a drive to shift your perspective after hitting a roadblock. Taking a walk, getting fresh air, and listening to a podcast for 20 or 30 minutes can really change your mindset after a tough decision or resolution.
Remember, nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, so use that as your anchor.
Another way to stay motivated is to focus on keeping your foot on the gas pipeline. Don’t rely solely on your BDR or marketing team. Instead, look at your quota and figure out how to get there on your own. While it might be difficult, aim for 5X your quota in the pipeline and opportunities. This way, you’ll always be flush with pipe and can avoid having deals slip through the cracks.
Finally, don’t get too caught up in win rates as the only metric to measure your success. Instead, focus on self-sourced deals and use the company standard rather than the industry standard to calculate your pipeline needs. By overcorrecting in these areas, you’ll be able to maintain urgency and morale even when win rates are going down.
Get Started Today
If you’ve read this blog, you’re likely looking to boost your numbers in Q2. So start today by:
- Building out the sales sequence based on the template above.
- Make a cadence to touch your deals every 2-3 days to ensure you’re driving the deal forward.
- Build your repository of content you can send to prospects to ensure you are always coming with value first.
- Watch the full session with Sam & Matt to dive deeper into some specific Summer Sales Hacks.
And if you need ongoing learning and development for your GTM market teams, consider joining the community of over 200 B2B Tech companies that use Sales Assembly to get timely relevant, and actionable strategies to drive revenue growth. Let’s chat today!