When you think of seasonality in marketing, you may associate it with B2C businesses. From Black Friday sales to Summer Specials, B2C businesses typically work their promotional activities around significant calendar events. Why? Because it works.
Season-based sales coincide with occasions when consumer emotions are high. At these times, people are celebrating, taking time off work and/or getting together with friends and families. They are also more likely to be shopping. While this clearly makes sense for B2C companies, many B2B businesses neglect seasonal events, as they do not seem as relevant to them. Remember that B2B businesses do not exist in a vacuum, and at the core of B2B companies, is people selling to other people. These people are all affected by seasonality.
The difference with B2B seasonality is that other events will likely also affect consumer business decisions. It’s important to take note of the seasonal shifts that affect your business.
What Seasonality Trends Typically Affect B2B Businesses?
1. Business Trips & Events
Your prospective leads need to attend business trips, meetings, and events, so it’s important to pay attention to their travel schedule (as much as is feasible). For example, research when and where big industry events are being held, or for existing clients, simply ask them about their schedule. This will give you an idea as to when it is best to get in touch. You don’t want to be one of the hundreds of emails they are likely to have backed up in their inbox when they return to work.
Holiday and school seasons are another important consideration. Many of your prospects will have families at home, and will likely take time off during the regular holiday periods. If the prospects you are dealing with are typically at an age where they are married and likely to have younger children, it also makes sense to take note of school holiday periods. This all comes down to knowing your customer and their behaviour patterns so that you can target them at a time when they are most likely to be responsive.
3. Weather & Seasons
Weather is one of the most important external factors that shape business buying decisions. Retail, mining, construction and events are some examples of industries that are highly affected by the weather. Decision-makers in these businesses have to consider the changes in seasons when planning their operations and ordering equipment and stock. If you are selling to a business operating in an industry that is affected by the weather, it’s important to ensure you are targeting them at the right time when they need your products or services.
4. Budget Cycles
All businesses have yearly budgets to adhere to. It’s important to try to predict when these budget cycles are because prospects are unlikely to respond to a new offering if their budget is already assigned somewhere else. The end of financial year is a good time to target business prospects, as they will likely be coming to the end of a budget cycle and may have budget leftover. If not, they are approaching a new year where they will likely receive a new budget and may be able to consider your offer then. Prospects are also typically more proactive at this time.
How to Pinpoint Seasonality in B2B
1. Look for Seasonal Trends
If your business is growing, looking at data on a month-to-month basis can be deceiving. For example, your June 2020 sales are likely to be much higher than your July 2019 sales. Does this mean you should put most of your marketing budget into June going forward? Not necessarily. In order to work out which months are particularly good for sales, you need to make a ‘seasonal adjustment’ calculation in order to evaluate any seasonal swings.
2. Analyse Your Sales Data
Collect all the sales data that you have from the last 3-5 years. Process the data, put it together, and look closely at it to see your sales peaks, your best performing months and your worst performing months. This is the best way to determine your most effective revenue-generating months.
3. Be Prepared
When you have identified your most and least effective months, you need to then plan how you are going to use this information. How will you ramp up marketing efforts in the best months? How will you prepare for the slower seasons? Knowing when your sales are going to drop will allow you to make the most of the good seasons and generate enough leads and profit in this time to make up for the impending slow seasons. The key is to know your seasonality trends and ensure your business is prepared for them.
For more information on this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Lead Agency. We’re B2B marketing experts with significant experience across the B2B marketing landscape such as Lead Generation, B2B Branding and B2B Digital Marketing.