Wrapping Up 2015
The fourth-quarter will be here before you know it, so how can you make that last push to meet your 2015 sales goals? We spoke to distributors and suppliers to get some answers. Here is what they had to say:
1. Start early.
It is important not to wait until the fourth quarter to start planning your fourth-quarter goals. In fact, your Q4 plans should be in place by the beginning of the year. “Have a plan at the beginning of the year and follow the plan—every month, every week, every day,” said Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, director of sales and marketing, iPROMOTEu, Wayland, Mass.
You can even get a head start on 2016 by implementing a few new ideas early. “Set aside time to review the first three quarters and formulate a sales strategy for 2016,” Roger Buck, director of marketing for St. Louis-based Flesh Co, recommended. “Use a portion of the fourth quarter of 2015 to lay out a sales and marketing process you can manage as you enter 2016. Don’t lay out a plan you can’t support. It’s better to have a paced marketing plan you can manage, than an aggressive marketing plan that falls flat in the first few months.”
2. Make your abilities known.
Everyone may be holiday shopping in the fourth quarter, but do clients know to come to you for their corporate gifts? “Distributors should make sure that all their clients know that they are a gift headquarters for the holidays,” Andy Arruda, national sales manager, Hub Pen Company, Braintree, Mass., said. “It is too easy for their clients to think of them as just a promotional products distributor. This is too narrow a category.”
Laura Hroma, owner, Proforma Innovative Marketing Products, Downers Grove, Ill., agreed, and pointed out that your performance during the first three quarters of the year has a big influence on holiday orders. “No one will want to do their holiday ordering through you if you’re not a proven performer throughout the year,” she said. “The trust needs to be built well before the fourth quarter.”
“A lot of your customers will wait until last minute to plan their holiday gifts, but if you take the work out of their hands and simplify the process for them, you are bound to stand out amongst the rest and capture as much available business as possible,” added Nick Caputi, marketing coordinator, Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant, Freeport, N.Y.
3. Balance your efforts.
Q4 is really no different than any other quarter when it comes to preparation and your approach, Quicksell noted. “It’s all about consistency and balancing the many facets of marketing and sales efforts—social media, Web presence, creative marketing, email marketing, etc.,” he said. “It’s not just one thing. It’s a balance of many consistent efforts that gain results.”