Here Comes Summer

We’ve been enjoying a glorious run of warm sunny days here in Baltimore, universally welcome after a winter of record snowfall and the inevitable chaotic aftermath that comes with a city that has no experience dealing with 2-3 feet of snow. And already, this weather has me thinking about summer…

I’ve got summer on my mind because we’ve essentially got ten to twelve selling weeks before health plans slip into vacation hibernation mode and everything work-related decelerates to a slow crawl. There are all sorts of seasons in the payer world(e.g. budget season, enrollment season, HEDIS season, various Medicare seasons) but my experience is that summer has the biggest impact on the sales cycle. Once late June arrives, everything takes longer, meetings slip out or get rescheduled, and coordinating the steps to decision and contract become more complicated. If your deal starts to coast its way into July or August, prepare yourself for the prospect of a delay into September or October. And we all (should) know that, when it comes to sales, time is the enemy.

So start thinking about how you can use April and May to accelerate deal momentum. What steps can you take now, what obstacles can you anticipate and what are the best responses to those obstacles? What deals can close before July, and what deals are looking likely for Q4? It’s even worthwhile to subtly point out to your customer that you’re both up against a two month lag that will postpone implementation/ROI realization/member satisfaction/whatever, so that you might be able to enjoin their help to beat the impending doldrums. Plus, mobilizing now is smart because it lets you leverage the inherent seasonality of health plan behavior, setting yourself up nicely to use the summer months for cold calls, social calls, pipeline development.

Or for beach reading, traveling and well-deserved vacationing…