The end of 2019 is quickly approaching and if you’re like me, you might be feeling a little pressure regarding prioritization of your time as you close out the year and prepare for 2020.
It’s important to understand your customer’s buying cycle. According to a study at UNC/Keenan-Flagler Business School, almost all companies will begin their planning in H2 to determine strategic initiatives that will drive profitability for the coming year. Senior leadership decides what will be addressed and then these initiatives are pushed to operating groups to build criteria, evaluate possible solutions (vendors) to isolate options. Think about an inbound lead that comes to you mid-year regarding a project “in the works” or in the RFI/RFP stage. The adage comes to mind, “if you didn’t write it, you’re not going to win it.” Don’t despair; however, realize that you’ll need input from executive leadership to understand their “why” and access, at that point, may be limited. Message – start now.
So – It’s Q4, what else can we do now?
- What products/services do you provide that can solve a customer’s immediate problem, i.e., customer dissatisfaction, inefficient process, legacy technology or other gap before year-end?
- Provide insight and guidance to those that need help – cast your net. You’re an expert in your business – exercise thought leadership and spread some of your goodness.
- Revisit your customers to understand what went well and what hasn’t in the projects that you were engaged – followed by discovery to understand next year’s goals and anticipated challenges.
- Prepare to discuss what your delighted customers have experienced, especially the impact, in clear tangible metrics.
- Build your contact list based on thoughtful criteria and get busy – This previous article may provide some detail on preparation.
- Lastly, be diligent and don’t give up!