For sales professionals, September can be one of the busiest months. Not only are customers and prospects more likely to be back in the office after the summer holidays, but if they have kids, they’ll also be hurrying to get them ready for new classes, new teachers and a return to early-morning routines.
Of course, some kids aren’t exactly thrilled about going back-to-school, and the Internet tends to be filled with advice on how to help them (and their parents) adjust to the transition. Some of these tips make just as much sense for those selling products and services as it does for those learning the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. Here’s a crash course to help sales pros get to the head of the class too this fall:
Healthy Bodies Equal Healthy (And Successful) Minds
Feeling anxious as school starts—or when you’re about to approach a new account as a sales rep for the first time—is absolutely normal. School counsellors told the CBC that as long as the tension, lack of concentration or fears don’t persist past a reasonable period, most kids will get through the back-to-school period okay. Sales pros should be just as vigilant as kids in making sure they aren’t worn out before they even get started on their next client call.
“Managing anxiety and stress comes back to the basics,” the article said. “Eat well, get enough sleep, find a balance between studying, working and being social.” For sales pros, it may be more of a balance between selling, prospecting and having a personal life, but the same principles hold true.
There Is Always A Better Way To Buy
CTV News reported that businesses are expected to see a surge in back-to-school shopping that takes place not only in stores, but online and via mobile devices. Although 26 per cent of post-secondary students say they plan to spend more on books, pencils and other items, online searches for these products have surged 50 per cent in the past year. This makes sense: it’s probably a lot easier and faster than racing around the mall at the last minute.
Sales pros in all kinds of sectors, including business-to-business (B2B) segments, should keep these purchase behaviours in mind as they fine-tune their own strategies. Marketing automation can help companies create demand and nurture leads across a variety of digital channels, which may be the main ways customers are researching their own list of supplies.
The Earlier You Organize, The Better
An in-depth checklist from North Shore News suggests preparing school outfits the night before, creating a peaceful space to do homework and other ideas to help families avoid the chaos that the back-to-school season can bring. It may sound obvious, but advance preparation is always a great way to give you (and your child) the best start possible as they begin their next semester.
Successful sales reps have learned the same thing about their work. It begins with organizing as much background information about their customers and prospects into CRM as possible, then leveraging that information to make sure their next call or meeting positions them as informed, relevant and ready to meet a unique set of needs.
Mobility Means Everything
No one wants to see a child hunched over with an overly heavy backpack or gym bag. The University of Toronto has actually pulled together its top experts in occupational therapy to suggest how much is too much to carry for students heading back to school. Some of the best ways to cope include packing smarter, not more.
Sales professionals were once known for being similarly burdened with oversized briefcases and binders filled with marketing collateral. It’s now possible to “pack smarter” in this case too, with mobile apps that take you through the most critical steps in the sales cycle. A smartphone or tablet makes for a much lighter load.
It’s All About Learning
A recent post from Universities Canada said there will be one million undergrads heading to post-secondary school this fall, with more than 80 per cent finding value in co-op programs and other hands-on opportunities to work directly in the kinds or organizations they want to employ them when they graduate. It’s a good reminder that, for all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the classroom, it’s what happens once you’re studying that counts.
The best sales professionals are lifelong learners, as well, whether it’s getting a better understanding of their industry, their customer’s pain points or the best ways to bring the right products and services to them. Fortunately, technology is evolving with analytics and other tools that make this process easier and more enjoyable.
The best thing about back-to-school season is that it represents a fresh start. Hopefully that’s a positive mind set sales professionals can take with them into September too.
For more sales advice and an in-depth look at how technology is changing the nature of buying, check out Salesforce’s free eBook: