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    Back to Work: How to Recharge Your Sales Team After Summer Vacation

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    In Sweden, we take our summer vacation seriously. We only get about two months of warm weather each year, and we all take advantage of it by setting “out of office” replies and disappearing. This is wonderful for us, but coming back to work after a month of vacation can feel a little like jet lag! And if you’re managing a sales team, that jet lag can look like lagging performance.

    Even in the US, summer can be a slow time for work. Children are home from school, people are juggling vacations, meetings can be tough to schedule, and buyers tend to be slow to buy. Come August and back-to-school time, many sales team’s pipelines are thin, folks are slow-moving, and it can be hard to motivate teams to “get their heads back in the game.”

    Coming back to work after vacation can feel a little like jet lag.

    If this is you right now, here are some tips to recharge your sales team after their summer break:

    1. Plan Ahead
      In the best of all worlds, you planned ahead for the summer slump, and now your salespeople are sitting down with a pipeline full of scheduled meetings and lots of activities to engage in.

      Obviously, you can’t go back in time and do this now, but you can make a note to do it next year. Customers love to schedule calls far in the future. May and June, when people are planning their vacations, is the perfect time to do this.

      When you call someone in June in Sweden, they will almost certainly tell you, “I have so much to do before my vacation. I can’t take a meeting right now.” Even in the US, it’s harder for sales teams to book calls in June and July.

      It’s the perfect opportunity for your salespeople to say, “I completely understand that. I’m taking some time off myself, so let’s schedule a call for when you’re back.”

      Resistance to this is low, and it’s a great way to make sure your salespeople have full calendars the day they sit back down in their chairs again. There’s nothing like having a day full of meetings to perk up a salesperson’s ears with interest and get them back in the game quickly.
    2. Plan and Execute a Quality Kick-Off Event
      Even if you’re not in Sweden where it feels like the whole country takes the entire month of July off, it’s a good idea to treat August as an opportunity to get your team fired up again. Plan an event. Incorporate inspirational and motivational aspects and also use the opportunity to:

      - Remind your team where the company is heading
      - Update them on any changes in the marketplace or your company and team that occurred over the summer
      - Refresh them on your sales process
      - Solicit fresh ideas and feedback that might have occurred to them over the summer
    3. Do a Coaching Check-In on Aspirations, Goals and Priorities
      Time away has a way of shifting perspectives. When you have time to think and dream, it frees you to be creative about what you want out of life.

      Sometimes, this can mean that employees come back from vacation with different aspirations than the last time you had a coaching session. If these no longer line up with your expectations for them, it’s a recipe for dissatisfaction and poor performance.

      Do a coaching check-in with each team member after their vacation. Ask them about their aspirations. Find out if their goals have changed. See if they’re thinking differently than they were before the vacation.

      Great coaches help their teams align their personal aspirations with the expectations of the job, and set goals and priorities that effectively serve both.

      Membrain’s upcoming Coaching Cockpit will help managers get closer to their team members and make it easier to guide and coach them effectively in alignment with what they want out of their work.
    4. Take Advantage of that Fresh Perspective
      Downtime can cause employees to rethink their aspirations, and it can also cause them to return with lots of fresh ideas for how to do their work better.

      Take some time to ensure they have an opportunity to share their ideas, brainstorm, and develop execution strategies for better performance. If you’re using Membrain, you can use the Coaching Cockpit to record and process these conversations, and Membrain’s workflows enable you to easily execute any changes to the process across multiple teams.

      Of course, you may have brought back new ideas back from your break as well. Make sure to write these down, and bring them to leadership. Discuss your ideas and have brainstorms across teams to decipher what’s worth acting on. For any ideas you decide to act on, develop a structured execution plan and timeline.

      Encouraging these post-vacation conversations is a great way to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, and is sure to supercharge your efforts for the second part of the year.
    5. Have a Solid Process in Place, and Work It
      Sitting down at your desk for the first time after a long break is a daunting task all by itself. If you open up your computer to a “blank page” and no clear instructions on what to do next, you might be tempted to close it back up and go back to the beach.

      Give your team a place to start and clear direction by having a solid, dynamic, effective sales process in place. Make it easy for them to plug right back in with guided workflows like those we provide with Membrain. Make sure their goals and their objectives are clear, as well as next steps and checklists for activities.

      Provide them with measurable targets to work against, so they can see their progress and remain motivated to complete the activities necessary to charge up their pipeline again.

    The post-summer slump is real, but it doesn’t have to mean your sales team lags behind. Get them back on track and plan for the second half of the year to be your best yet. 

    George Brontén
    Published August 23, 2023
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn