Don’t let your demand generation take a summer vacation!
One of my clients made an interesting request the other day – they asked if we could increase our marketing and demand generation efforts for them during the months of July and August. And not just a small increase in activity, but something pretty substantial. Now, many people might think this is counterintuitive, and would actually advocate a decrease in B2B outbound marketing efforts during the summer months. And to be honest, I used to think that way, too.
But I’ve changed my mind over the past few years. After analyzing previous years of data, here is what I realized:
- We have a lot of data – 18+ years of lead generation, marketing, and research activities for our clients has resulted in a TON of data. How much data? Many millions of outbound calls and emails; over a million leads generated for our clients; and thousands of campaigns implemented over the years.
- Connect rates don’t suffer in the summer – Connect rates, or the rate of conversations with decision-makers (as a % of total outbound attempts), don’t drop in the summer. In fact, our connect rates seem to be more predictable and, for some of our clients, tend to be higher in the summer! And with COVID, we are seeing the same!
I think this could be because of fewer office distractions in the summer. And with many people still working remotely at home and our increased levels of connectivity to the office – even when on vacation – we still take those calls. We can be out of the office, but still connected and having those conversations.
- Lead conversion rates don’t drop – In many cases, they increase! Even though many corporations do not make buying decisions in the summer months, they still use the time to perform evaluations. So, it’s a great time to get your prospects involved in the early parts of the sales cycle. Then once Labour Day hits, you will be ahead of the game
- Smart timing is important – Of course, in the summer months, you will need to work around holidays, vacation schedules, etc. I would also say that the Friday afternoon prior to a long weekend would be a bad time to reach out to prospects. But as long as you keep these things in mind, you should be fine!
- Schedules are less hectic – People’s schedules tend to be a little more ‘free’ in the summer months. And that means appointments with prospects tend to happen more often. The break from a busy and hectic schedule allows us to schedule a time to talk with decision-makers and influencers. Use that to your advantage and get your sales team in front of those decision-makers!
- Each industry/vertical is different – Depending on the industry, summer may be the BEST time for the evaluation of new technologies. Some of my clients that target higher education (for example) have always said that summer is their busiest lead generation time!
So what have we learned? What techniques can we share with marketers looking for help?
- Don’t slow down! Lay the groundwork for the fall – before you know it, Labor Day will be upon us, and you’ll have 30 days left to hit your marketing goals for Q3!
- Change your activities – If you feel that your current lead gen activities can’t be effective in the summer, revamp your activities. Target your campaigns based on your target market and their buying behavior. Types of campaigns that tend to do well in the summer, regardless of industry:
i. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) – if ABM is part of your go-to-market strategy, use this time to work on your target accounts and the messaging and strategy around it. If you need to revise your target markets based on industries that are suffering, this is a great time to revise and regroup.
ii. List build, account profiles – use the time to build out your marketing lists – prospect lists, opt-in lists, etc – or profile key accounts for your sales team.
iii. Infrastructure – use the summer to focus on improving, updating or implementing those sales and marketing systems you’ve been neglecting. Marketing Automation, CRM, etc – when was the last time you took a close look at your processes, mapped them out and fine-tuned them?
iv. Content – we are all constantly striving for new and compelling content. Spend some time auditing your current marketing assets and determining where you need to focus your efforts. Contact partners, industry thought leaders or customers – see what content they have that might help you in your marketing efforts. There are all sorts of ways to build your content quickly – and summer may be the time to do it!
v. Market research – we’ve found that our completion rates of online and phone-based research interviews and surveys is actually quite a bit higher in the summer months – perhaps people have more time to respond? Use this as an opportunity to survey your customer base, or look into new markets or products.
vi. Lead generation – no reason to stop these activities. Try some new campaigns in the summer, or mix it up a little – people are still evaluating solutions and then your sales team will have a great pool of leads to close in the fall.
vii. Lead nurturing – perhaps this is the time to re-market to leads stalled in the funnel/pipeline – use this as an opportunity to re-engage these customers and try to move them forward.
- Start your marketing early – once Labor Day hits, there’s a short runway before your campaigns need to be in place.
Don’t let your lead generation take a road trip during the summer months – you might miss some of the best opportunities!
As always, don’t hesitate to call me to brainstorm or ask how I can help.
Rick Endrulat | President | Virtual Causeway | 519.866.1600 x622