It’s customary this time of year to start sending out holiday cards or even a friendly email wishing customers well as they begin to enjoy the season. Hidden underneath that good cheer, though, is the worry that things will start grinding to a halt as more people leave for vacation.

This is where B2B sales teams need to be particularly strategic, especially when there’s an opportunity to take advantage of budget dollars that will essentially be lost if they aren’t spent before the end of Q4. It’s also when sales leaders can start spending a little more time repositioning their teams to be more productive, efficient and successful in 2016.

Rewrite The Way You Say ‘Thank You’

The ultimate way to show your appreciation for a customer is to demonstrate that you want to continue to improve the way you work with them. You don’t need to include a call to action on a Christmas card, but think about opportunities for customers to share more information that can be used later on. For example:

  • A “How did we do this year?” survey included as part of your regular newsletter or as a special one-off e-blast. Offering a draw for a gift certificate to a major retailer can be a good way to drive participation.
  • Try a poll on your blog or via social media (Twitter is now offering the ability to run polls, for example), that pinpoints customers’ top priorities for the new year.
  • Include simple links, even when you’re sending a message with best wishes for the holidays, that will let customers easily double-check their name, address and other contact details that will ensure what gets used in marketing automation is as accurate and relevant as possible.

Cold Call – Or Pick Up The Dropped Ball

Although a good number of customers and prospects may become hard to reach in the last few weeks of the year, not everyone takes off. In fact, this could be where sales teams could get even greater mileage from the investment they’ve made in CRM by looking at areas in their pipeline that have been left neglected in favour of “hotter” opportunities with firms further along in their buyer journey. Cold calls could be picked up by people who aren’t trapped in as many meetings as usual.

There are also prospects who may have seemed promising at one point but who had to push back meetings or calls to a point where sales team members simply stopped following up. Now is when many of us are trying to tie up loose ends. Use this as a pretext for showing they haven’t been forgotten and that you’re still serious about winning their business.

Leave Them With Education and Inspiration

Even if you can’t close a few more deals before the end of December kicks in, sales leaders and their teams can use the pre-holiday period to leave customers and prospects with something that could lead to a deeper conversation in January and beyond. Given how hard people work all year, this may also be the moment to consider more personalized approaches, or efforts that show more of your organization’s personality and culture. This includes:

Video: Cards are great, but in some cases they may not even get opened until early 2016. A short clip that provides some highlights from your firm’s year (including any mention of successful projects or interactions you’ve had with clients) could reinforce the value you place on your relationship with them – and your desire to grow it.

Blog: Some B2B firms publish more content than others, but in almost every sector it’s difficult for customers to keep up with it all. Make their lives easier by creating a roundup of links to the most relevant posts, white papers, infographics or other materials that can give them a head start on their business strategy when they come back to work after the break.

Social: If there was one time to use the “in case you missed it” abbreviation (ICYMI) on Twitter or LinkedIn, this is it. Re-share the items that you feel would be most relevant for your audience, whether they come from your firm or are sourced elsewhere. Use whatever room is available on social services to add why you think it’s important to keep in mind for the new year.

It’s never too late for sales teams to make sure their customers go off on holiday with the best possible impression of you and your firm. That’s one way to make sure you can go on vacation with some extra peace of mind, too.

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2015 State of service. Insights on customer service trends from over 1900 industry leaders. See the research.