Understanding your customer’s “buying season” and timing your effort

Customers, as you may know, have “buying seasons” where they are focused on bringing in solutions they view as critical to their business.  Understanding when your customers’ buying seasons take place and what they are focused on before and after those seasons will play a critical role in your success.  Some thoughts on how your customers’ calendar may be structured and how to optimize your sales results.

How much effort and when

Categories of activities that customers are open to (or focused on) to varying degrees during a typical 12-month cycle include:

  • Relationship building
  • Checking out new solutions
  • Implementation

The flow of a customer’s buying season should guide how much time you focus on these activities (not whether or not you pursue them).  Buying seasons for IT organizations in large corporations and those for K-12 look something like the following.

  • Note for Large Corporation IT – your best timing for relationship building and positioning the value of your solutions may start to open in the Spring and wrap up in November.
  • Note for K – 12 School IT – your best timing for relationship building and positioning the value of your solutions may start to open in the Fall and wrap up in April. 

I could not have said it better

Terry Scanlan, a great friend of mine, has had an incredibly successful career as a salesperson and senior sales leader.  In the past few years he has orchestrated sales training for hundreds of critical sales resources in his company.  Here is Terry’s perspective on understanding customer’s buying seasons.

“Understanding how and when your customers buy is critical to the success of any sales and marketing plan particularly for products and services purchased routinely.  Salespeople with more than one account should invest time in segmenting their customers into groups based on how much they spend and when.  Each customer’s fiscal calendar and industry are two of several factors that can change buying seasons.”

It is never too early to invest in building relationships with your customer

While customers’ interest in relationship building will vary depending on the time of year, never wait to try to start the process.  The key is to be aware of what the customer is likely tuned into.  Even when customers are focused on implementation, ideas that help them thru that phase or resolve an issue are appreciated.  You never know…a small gesture when your customer is busy may open the door for a big opportunity!

Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!

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