Selling business-to-business software in December can be very tricky.
On the plus side, most prospects are up against the end of their fiscal year with budgets facing a use-it-or-lose-it ultimatum. Plus there is the inundation of end-of-year promotions (we have a promotion of our own) that encourage an unconscious buying-inclined mentality. ‘Tis the season of purchasing stuff.
On the other hand, these prospects are being battered by promotional messages - not just business-related - and forced to juggle a list of priorities. Achieving focus is a trial. Worse, December is short. You can forget the last week of December to get any business done and the early part of the month can get lost in tying loose ends of the business, loose ends at home (gifts for the kids? holiday at the in-laws?) and preparing for the new year.
How is a B2B vendor to handle this? We find the best bet is to release news-making - i.e. very high - value in December and preannounce those updates about a month in advance.
The obvious risk is delaying sales already in the pipeline but the delay is measured in weeks, not months, and sales will still come in before the calendar jumps to a new year. Plus, by preannouncing, we capture shreds of prospect awareness before it’s whiplashed in the wash of December communications. If IntuiLab were bigger we’d just whisper “Wait ‘til December” to a few journalists and let them do the rest. Alas we’re not there quite yet so we have to be more proactive and engaged.
We’ve been talking about the introduction of iPad support in December for quite a while now. Months really because this opens a door to new opportunities, not our traditional opportunity, so it grows our pipeline rather than slows it. And we have been dropping hints in our last couple of communications that there will be an amazing usability overhaul in December as well. If someone’s on the fence about IntuiFace, we’d like to think they’ll be looking for the December release and its great value - paired with our end-of-year promotion - will kick away remaining doubts. Ask me in January if it worked. :-)