Marketing Strategy

Smoothing Out Seasonality in Your Sales Cycle

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Seasonal peaks affect many businesses. Knowing how to compensate when the highs are over and you hit a low period is the key to survival.

Many businesses experience seasonal peak selling times and troughs when sales are weaker.

Toys sell best at Christmas and many companies face a summer lull as people take their annual holidays especially for larger value sales when the person needed to sign off on a contract is away for two weeks and then the person he wants to check a few things with is away. In many cases there is little to be done except to plan the business accordingly.

If you sell B2B then you should find out when your customers have their accounting end-of-year. In the two months before this there will be people in the organisation trying to use up their unspent budget and it is only decent of you to help them do this. Government and related organisations will share an end of year period so this can be a good time to be marketing into that sector. Some industries tend to align their year-end, if you can find out when this is for the industries you want to sell to it gives you a whole new element of seasonality to go after.

Other organisations will have their own; it could be a year from when the company was formed or some randomly chosen date maybe coinciding with their own quieter period of the year. For every customer you have you should make a point of finding out when their end-of-year is, this way, with a little data mining you will know when they might have excess budget to spend. This gives you a new seasonal variable but one that changes across industry segments and across company sizes.

Applying this to all your customer will allow you to target small scale marketing activities at different companies throughout the year to bring in extra revenues during the normally quieter times. If you are selling to consumers then you can offer them out of season deals to encourage them to spend their money early and as you are the only one making the offer at that time there is little competition if you get the offer right.

The next thing to consider is changing your advertising schedule. The toy companies will build up their advertising towards the Christmas period, exactly the time when their customers are most willing to spend but also the time when their competitors are also most active. If you also have peak period when you and your competitors are most active with your advertising and your customers are most likely to spend then consider a radical change.

You don't need to talk people out of their money at these peak times you just have to convince them that your company is the best one to buy from. Do this by building a strong brand awareness throughout the year and run special promotional activities in the lead up to your normally quietest periods. The main advantage will be that few of your competitors are overly active at these times so you can be noticed without excessive marketing spend.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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