Leveraging Sales Intelligence in the Dog Days of Summer

I hate the Dog Days of Summer excuse – it always felt like a cheap way for an underperforming sales rep to make an excuse for a slow month. 

Sales Rep: Yeah, just not a lot of movement in my pipeline – it’s the dog days of summer. You get it.

What your sales rep is really saying is that many of their prospects and customers are out-of-office (OOO) — more so than any other time of the year. 

But, by that logic, why is December always so good for sales?

I remember thinking: 

“If there was data that rejected this idea of the summer slump, it would be so great to splash it everywhere during the sales all hands!”

If you know ZoomInfo then you know that we track and measure everything.  So where does the data exist to help us know – in an unbiased way – whether the slow summer sales excuse is legitimate or not?

Or, more specifically, if it is harder to sell and engage with buyers in July and August vs the rest of the year. 

The best data we’ve found for this comes from out-of-office replies. 

We send millions of emails a year, so we asked ourselves: “What if we could track the frequency of OOO replies week over week? 

If the trend was materially higher in July and August, maybe the “dog days of summer” excuse would sit better with me.

So we pulled every email reply we’ve seen over the last year into our data lake and went back and parsed out the out-of-office replies we received by week and put together a trend.

Chart depicting summer sales trends.

Okay, it’s real. 

But how real? If we were to hold our activity volume constant during the months of summer from what we did in the later winter/spring time, we estimate that this would have up to a ~$400k impact on our new business team monthly. 

In order to offset the seasonality of the OOO rate on emails and the lower connection rate on phone calls, we estimate that we need to send out an additional: 1.4k emails per month AND increase dials by ~1.1k across our demand generation campaigns.

All of that just to maintain our prior ACV output.

How did we respond to this data? By stepping on the gas – we sent out an additional ~14k+ emails (~10% of normal volume) over the past two months and making an additional ~23k dials (~35% of normal volume) per month.

Sales is — and always will be — a contact sport.

This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a vast array of contacts and prospects. Without being able to tap into our own data this wouldn’t have been possible. That’s not cheap promotion, it’s a fact. 

Remember: it’s not just about having contacts, it’s about making connections.