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How to Keep Your Sales Funnel Flowing — Even on Vacation

How to Keep Your Sales Funnel Flowing — Even on Vacation

It’s not that companies don’t want their sales team members to enjoy their time off. They just might worry about what won’t be happening during that time.

It’s not that companies don’t want their sales team members to enjoy their time off. They just might worry about what won’t be happening during that time.

When they’re hard at work, for example, sales pros can be some of the most productive people in the entire organization. This includes cold calling, setting up meetings, closing deals or other activities that have a direct impact on the bottom line. The thought of those same people going off on vacation might make it seem like there will be holes to fill — big, scary holes.

Of course, most employers recognize that everyone benefits from taking a vacation, whether it’s some time during the upcoming holiday season or at another point in the year. In some cases it’s actually managers who need to encourage sales reps to book off vacation time, especially if the firm’s HR policy prohibits them from carrying days over into 2019. You also don’t want to reach an extreme where sales pros have been logging so many hours that they burn out, which could cause a lot more problems than you’ll ever face by having them out of the office for a week or two.

The competitive, driven nature of sales people means they don’t want to lose out on any opportunities, either. They want to get every possible commission they can, and are well aware of how much can change with customers in just a short period of time. That means, much like planning a major product launch or an attempt to hit an even bigger number, the keys to taking a stress-free vacation in sales is all about developing the right strategy.

Whether a sales rep is thinking about an extended long weekend or maxing out their entire allotment of vacation days in one go, working through the following four basic steps will ensure that managers and others aren’t left wondering how they’ll cope in the meantime.

1. Schedule a Pipeline and Opportunity Checkup

A lot of people like calm, relaxing vacations where they do little more than sit under a shady umbrella at the beach, but others want adventure. Before they go on a long-distance bike trek, mountain climbing exhibition or other strenuous activity, however, they know it’s a smart idea to consult with their doctor and ensure their current overall health and fitness level is good enough to avoid any unnecessary risks.

If you’re a sales rep, you can do something similar with the information related to all their prospects and customers. Long before you ever say goodbye to your coworkers, take stock of what you see in a CRM like Sales Cloud, which offers a dashboard-style view of your current performance. Is everything you see there accurate and up to date? What does the data tell you about the kind of contact you’ll need to make to move some deals along? What customers might be coming up soon for a contract renewal or perhaps be ready for a discussion about upgrading to a newer version of your firm’s products?

The better you arm CRM with the best possible information, you’ll be able to answer questions around when to take your vacation, what might transpire while you’re gone and how much extra effort you may want to put in before your last day gets closer.

2. Assemble Your In-My-Absence Team

The data you study in CRM isn’t something to be hoarded or shrouded in secrecy. It should be shared with any relevant team member who may be able to step in as necessary if a customer has a burning question or urgent need that can’t wait until you get back. At the very least, reps should do a walk-through with their managers about the status of every major potential purchase, including where it sits in the buying cycle.

If you decide to use an out-of-office (OOO) message on your voicemail or email, it’s best to indicate the quickest and most relevant contacts should any customers and prospects try to contact you in a panic. That way you can safely ignore your inboxes and truly recharge while on vacation.

3. Prep Customers and Prospects as Though They’re Coworkers

Top sales people know that customers often just want to feel like they’re not alone in trying to make a complicated and important purchasing decision. That means you shouldn’t just think of them as a source of revenue but as a partner, or someone from a team in which you’re almost considered an extended member. As with any team dynamic, proper courtesy would dictate your decision to go on vacation shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.

Before setting OOO messages, for instance, you can try a quick email or even direct message through social media to the most important customers and prospects that have deals in play. That will show you’re being proactive about looking after them, even as you ensure you’re taking good care of yourself.

4. Automate Content to Keep Conversations Going While You’re Gone

There are lots of ways for sales people to continue nurturing leads and engaging customers even when they’re far from the office focusing on some rest and relaxation. Collaborate with the marketing team, for instance, on a drip campaign to be sent via email that reminds your key contacts of new products, promotions, discounts or other reasons to schedule an appointment with you once you’re back.

You could even schedule a few social posts on services like Twitter just before you leave that will share strong content to followers just after you leave or just before you return. New leads can be also be automatically sent content such as blog posts, case studies or other assets to explore while you’re away, potentially fueling the conversation they’ll have with you later on.

The better you develop a pre-vacation strategy as a sales person, the more likely you’ll be able to forget about what’s going on back at the office and immerse yourself in some well-earned leisure time. And once you come back, you will have already laid the groundwork for even greater success.

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