What I Did On My Summer Vacation: Demand Generation

Has the Summer Sales Slowdown begun at your company? It’s that familiar seasonal
disorder that we both dread and accept. It’s a Catch-22 – because the reality has many
layers to it:

  • Your clients are taking vacation time
  • Your sales people are taking vacation time
  • Your numbers may not be where they should be BEFORE the slow-down so the
    pressure to sell more is on
  • Most of us accept that a slow-down is seasonal – and it happens!

A major part of the challenge is the simple acceptance that the summer slowdown just
happens – and we almost look forward to it, while at the same time knowing that the
bottom line is looking pretty steep from here. Those of us that are sales and marketing
warriors know that the time to market and sell is when everyone else isn’t. We’ve been
pretty consistent over the past couple of years in telling our readers that cutting
marketing efforts during slow business is like cutting off the blood flow to your
brain. Do you really expect it to kick start right away after you’ve starved if for a
while? If your competitors aren’t marketing – YOU SHOULD BE. If your competitors
are in the midst of a summer slowdown – YOU SHOULDN’T BE.

Here are some things that you can do on your summer vacation to keep demand
generation humming…. (and no, this does not require the use of a plastic pail and
shovel!)

  • Define and refine your messaging for the fall. What initiatives or products or
    services are you going to launch this fall and how are you going to talk about
    them? Any new promotions to be developed?
  • Review and scrub your pipeline. Take a hard look at near-term, mid-term and
    long-term opportunities. What is the status of each? How are you going to
    move the long-term and mid-term opportunities further down the
    pipeline? How you are you going to connect with them throughout the summer
    so that in the fall they will be ready to talk?
  • What’s your referral strategy? The summer is a great time to casually connect
    with all your clients to talk about referrals. Use the “relaxed” nature of summer
    to have some informal lunches or coffee with past and current clients to talk
    about referral opportunities for each other. Come to the table with some
    referrals for them as a way to get things started. Reaching out during August
    will help you get new meetings with referral opportunities in September.
  • Plan for new demand generation activities. What will be the marketing
    activities to move you into the last quarter of the year? Planning to launch a
    newsletter? A seminar? A tradeshow stay? Does a product or service of yours
    need a re-launch? Are you going to have any executive breakfasts or
    seminars? The marketing required for these activities should be planned in July
    and rolled out in mid – late August so sales follow-up can be performed in
    September.
  • Need a sales training tune-up? What are your sales people lagging in relative to
    sales activities and skills? Is referral generation part of your plan? Who on your
    team gets them regularly? Does everyone have equal facility with asking for
    these valuable leads? Does your field sales team know where and how to
    network for business? We ask our people to perform these tasks – but we often
    assume they know how. Run some rolling brush-up classes over the month of
    August to cover every team member – and get all of your team ready when
    “school starts” in September.

— Lisa Dennis
© Knowledgence Associates, 2004 / All Rights Reserved

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