The holiday season can be a tough time for new business pros as they try and navigate prospects’ holiday time off, end of year meetings, and planning cycles for the new year. While there are certainly hurdles for prospecting during this time of year, at Catapult we’ve seen some serious new business opportunities created for our agencies purely because we continued to push for conversations when all of our competitors began to slow down. The key is that you keep your approach flexible with some creative ideas and language. Here’s some tips for new business prospecting straight from our experts at Catapult.
Top tips for new business prospecting during the holidays:
Actionable change takes time
With any big structural change, results can take time to show up, especially in the digital realm. Having those conversations with brands right now means they could see results within Q1, so our job as new business professionals is getting marketers to be thinking that far ahead and evaluating how we can help move that Q1 needle for them.
Don’t forget the phone
We’ve found our phone outreach to be more successful during the holidays. Execs are prone to answer the phone more often during the holiday “slow down” when there are fewer meetings on their books. Less meetings typically mean people are in better moods and more willing to take a chance on a cold conversation with someone new.
Set meetings for January
Calendars are likely more open at the beginning of the year, and prospects may appreciate you not asking to speak right then during the holidays. Our experts at Catapult have found success with reaching out in November and December to schedule a meeting for January. While typically we don’t want to schedule that far out, this is the one time of year where we may employ a delay tactic in order to ensure the prospect has time to commit to a real conversation.
Try weekend mornings
Mornings during the weekend and fringe holiday days, like the Friday after Thanksgiving, tend to be very productive for prospecting. Top executives and decision-makers are rarely away from their computers and it’s a way to reach people while many of your competitors take time off. Prospects also tend to have less crowded inboxes during the weekend. Just ensure that if you are going with this method that you are sending 1:1 ABM emails and not mass spam messaging (for that matter, don’t ever send spam messaging!).
Hone in on un-spent budgets
Don’t be afraid to send those “last-minute budget emails” to see if there is budget left in year-end that needs to be used. Encourage them to invest with you now and implement into their 2021 strategic plan.
Be mindful of the season
This shouldn’t have to be said, but please remember that it’s not all about Christmas for everyone. Being understanding in your language to all of the major holidays and the fact that some people don’t celebrate any of them can ensure that you don’t land yourself in an awkward situation.
Take advantage of New Year’s resolutions
It’s the biggest time of the year for gyms, weight loss programs, diet fads, healthy bars, drinks, vitamins, etc. and marketing efforts for those brands is crucial right now. Brands are looking to make serious shifts in how they market themselves as it relates to New Year’s resolutions given the COVID environment. In the same way that people make New Year’s resolutions, brands do too. There’s always something they want to change in the new year, it’s up to you to find it!
Call the right people
C-level, EVP, and SVP executives are most likely working on the days most people take off. With their colleagues on PTO, there may be a great possibility of those prospects picking up a cold phone call or answering an interesting email.
Try handwritten notes
Handwritten notes to top prospects explaining your capabilities can help break through the emails and voicemails that haven’t caught their attention. This one may be tough given the current work from home status of many companies, but we are seeing some folks working back in their offices a couple of days a week.
Keep it fresh
Continue to add new contacts to your pipeline and refresh the ones you have. With the current changes from COVID, a lot of your old connections have left or moved companies. Regardless of COVID, we always see some of the biggest shifts in people around this time of year.
Keep your messaging short and sweet. Break through the thousands of other sales and promotional emails with brief messaging, human tone, and well-crafted subject lines. And don’t forget to address a pain point. No one wants to read an email all about yourself and what you do. This stands for post-holiday as well, but it’s even more important now when your prospects are being inundated with graphic heavy, self promotion from your competitors.