Many sales leaders are familiar with the so-called summer slump. Generally speaking, business slows down when the warmer weather arrives. Decision-makers are out of the office, and it may be more difficult to gather key people in order to make a decision.

Companies that forget to practice social selling daily are 40% less likely to  hit their revenue goals.

If you guessed this likely makes selling more difficult for your sales team during the summer months, you’d be right. While sales professionals will still work towards quota attainment, the fact of the matter is the summer is often a slower sales season. Q4 sees sales picking up again, especially as sales teams make a big push for the end of the year.

In fact, at Sales for Life, around 40 to 50% of our customers’ sales quotas are typically driven in Q4, from October to December, which only makes up 25% of the year. With so much at stake, your sales team needs to be prepared!

There are ways to avoid the summer slump. Another thing you can do is shift the focus to skills development for your sales teams.

Skills Development Is Necessary

Around 70 percent of your sales teams are made up of core performers. These sales professionals are responsible for the bulk of your sales because they make up a large portion of the workforce. CEB stats show a mere five percent shift in their skills, however, can boost your revenue growth by up to 60 percent.

This figure demonstrates the importance of skills development for any sales representative. It often doesn’t take much to make a large difference in sales representative performance either.

Skills development allows your sales representatives to continue learning and growing. They hone their skills and become more effective sales professionals. They may even make quota attainment more frequently, and they’ll certainly contribute to revenue growth.

Preparing for the Upcoming Season

As mentioned, the slower months of the year are often tougher for the sales team because key people and decision-makers are out of the office. You could set higher quotas and push your sales representatives to attain them.

Instead, most sales leaders choose to use these slower times to focus on building the pipeline. This helps to prepare sales professionals for the upcoming selling season. Q4 usually sees a large push toward end-of-year goals, and buyers are more inclined to close deals. Why not take the time to prepare sales professionals to be even more effective during this busier season?

Dynamic Training Is Important

While the slower months of the year are the perfect time to zero in on skills development, sales leaders also know the importance of adopting dynamic and ongoing training for their sales teams.

Dynamic training is responsive. The curriculum is constantly being updated as social selling and digital selling methods change. New techniques are developed and new tools are adopted, while older ones are reinvented or fall out of favour.

Since the field of social selling is dynamic, training must also be dynamic. Ongoing learning and skills development for sales professionals become key. It’s no longer the case that sales professionals will take one class to learn a skill and then never learn anything more about it. Social selling mastery is predicated on keeping up with an ever-changing field.

Why Invest in Training?

As already noted, those who can create just a five-percent shift in the skills of core performers can achieve 60-percent revenue growth. Training is how sales leaders create those shifts in their sales teams.

With training, sales professionals can learn how to use tools more effectively and how to spark more relevant conversations with buyers. In turn, the ROI of training improves, as does revenue growth. Finally, a focus on skills development through training can keep you ahead of your competition.

The slower times of the year are the perfect opportunity to increase training and skills development efforts. Sales professionals are likely to have the time and energy to invest, and they’ll be more prepared when business picks up again.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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