A sales cycle is a set of steps it takes to turn a lead into a customer. It's like a roadmap for your customer's journey from the first contract to closing the deal. While the sales cycle refers to your customer's journey, it has extra utility. It's also about giving sales reps a well-defined plan of action for converting prospects.

Sales

Top Tips To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

A sales cycle is a set of steps it takes to turn a lead into a customer. It's like a roadmap for your customer's journey from the first contract to closing the deal. While the sales cycle refers to your customer's journey, it has extra utility. It's also about giving sales reps a well-defined plan of action for converting prospects.

 

Consider these two statistics:

 

  1. 77% of buyers agree that purchases have become very complex and difficult — B2B Sales Gartner
  2. In the typical organisation with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions — Buyers Gartner Group.

Sales cycles take time, whether for SaaS sales or B2B sales. They're complex and involve a lot of moving parts, like:

 

●      Identifying a lead

●      Scheduling meetings

●      Speaking to decision-makers

●      Sharing info about your product or service

●      Dealing with objections

●      Thrashing out terms and conditions, and prices.

 

Shortening your sales cycle should be a priority for any organisation. A shorter sales cycle can drive revenue because it frees up reps to make more calls, take more meetings, and close more deals.

 

Here is how salespeople currently spend their time:

●      35% talking to prospects

●      21% of their day writing emails

●      13% entering data

●      11% prospecting and researching leads

●      10% going to internal meetings

●      10% scheduling calls.

 

So in the spirit of freeing up your best reps so they can land more deals, here are some excellent tips to help you shorten your sales cycle.

 

Review your sales cycle

If you have a well-defined sales cycle, that actually puts you ahead of some organisations. But even if you do, it's not time to get complacent.

A sales cycle isn't a destination. It needs to be prodded, examined, considered and reviewed.

One of the best things about a sales cycle is that it breaks a complex process into bite-sized chunks. However, each individual piece needs to be optimised for efficiency.

So, if you want to shorten the sales cycle, you need to start by putting each step under the microscope.

Implement call cycles

Call cycles are a simple concept. They refer to the number and frequency of calls your reps make to their accounts and prospects.

Picking the right interval depends on your business or sector. Quarterly or annual calls will be right in some situations while checking in weekly or each month will be perfect for others.

Whatever way, find out the worth of work and commit to that schedule.

 

Automation

As we mentioned earlier, salespeople only spend 1/3rd of their time engaging prospects. Additionally, Demand Gen's B2B sales report suggests that 68% of respondents think sales cycles are getting longer.

Sales cycles are getting longer, and salespeople are spending too much of their working week away from their core tasks. It's enough to make you…

However, there is a great solution: automate repetitive tasks.

Sales teams need to look at their cycle and identify areas that are repetitive and time-consuming. By freeing up their salespeople from monotonous tasks, they're free to do what they do best: build relationships and close deals.

 

Use electronic signature apps

Electronic signature apps have become fairly standard in the legal field. And there's no reason they can't be part of your sales enablement efforts.

Apps like DocuSign or HelloSign mean that prospects can put "pen to paper" anywhere. No more sending paperwork or waiting for people to get back into the office.

It's quicker and more efficient and cuts down the sales cycle. It's a win-win.

 

Close in small steps

As we said, the best thing about a sales cycle is that it breaks a lengthy process into small manageable chunks. Salespeople should map a conversion goal on to each step, like:

●      Getting a contact number

●      Scheduling a demo

●      Requesting a meeting with decision-makers

 Each contact with a customer should have a purpose. It keeps things focused and moving in the right direction.

 

Share a roadmap with your prospects

Now, we're not advocating that you give your prospects a copy of the sales cycle. But you can provide them with a roadmap.

Laying out a path helps them understand what to expect from the process — especially if they've never engaged in the buying process before.

Good buyer enablement means giving prospects the tools and guidance to buy. A clearly defined path can be a piece of that puzzle.

 

Acknowledge objections upfront

A lot of salespeople like to leave objections until the latter stage. But is that really the most optimal play?

Think about it, you can spend time and resources buttering up a prospect, but if they have hard objections, it can derail even the most promising deal.

Some objections can be overcome, but a lot of them can't. So get into them as early as possible, so you can identify situations that are unlikely to go anywhere.

Salespeople can start proactively looking for objections shortly after the discovery call. By understanding the business better, subsequent conversations can be deeper and more focused.

 

Use meeting scheduling tools

The days of scheduling meetings with back-and-forth emails or calls have to end. It's too inefficient. 

Thankfully, there are a lot of calendar tools and sales enablement software out there that allow prospects or salespeople to share their schedules. From there, the other party can just pick a slot.

All this saved time — and hassle — can really cut down the sales cycle.

 

Social proof

90% of sales are influenced by peers. Prospects are going to search and ask around about your product or service, whether you like it or not. So be proactive about getting them the information.

There are several different ways you can ensure you have social proof.

Some good ideas are:

●      Sending case studies that demonstrate how your product or service helped similar companies

●      Use your network of contacts to obtain a referral

●      Talk to your prospect about similar companies you've helped

This process is key to buyer enablement: get them the information they need to close!

 

Scrub your CRM of cold leads

Sales enablement software, like CRM tools, are excellent repositories of information. However, many CRMs are full of cold leads. They're not interested, and they're never going to buy. So, why are you wasting both of your time?

Regular CRM housekeeping should be performed to identify who isn't engaged with your content. While opting out of a mailing list is easy, most people just ignore emails or send them to spam. This process can actually hurt your email deliverability statistics and give your domain a bad reputation.

One way to shorten the sales cycle is by only focusing on people who are interested. So look at your marketing outreach metrics and identify which prospects aren't engaged.

Establish a "cold" list. Perhaps you can revisit these prospects at a later date. But for now, focus on the prospects who want to hear from you.

Personalisation

Personalisation is such a big part of sales enablement. It's not just about making the sales process a bit more human; it's also about meeting prospects where they are.

The advent of self-serve tools in consumer and B2B sales should tell reps a lot about how people want to buy products. They aren't necessarily looking for the sales processes that used to work in the past. Reps are no longer the font of information; prospects can (and do) research products independently.

 

This situation has shifted the role of the rep in the sales cycle. The individuals who can adapt to this change are the ones who will succeed.

So throw away the generic pitches and start having conversations. Prospects have the information, and they know their pain points. Your role is to make a connection and talk about how your product or service will make their life easier.

Of course, we're not discounting the importance of information in buyer enablement. That's still crucial. But you must find a personal touch to help them understand and interpret that information.

 

Make sure you're targeting the right audience

Researching the right target audience takes time. But it's an investment that should pay off and eventually reduce the sales cycle.

There are several different methods you can use to find your audience. If your business is established, you can gather data on your existing customers through:

●      Surveys

●      Interviews

●      Polls

●      Focus groups

You can use this data to build an idea of your ideal buyer persona. This information can inform the tone, language, and subjects you use to talk about your product or service.

Once you have a good idea of the demographics that like your product, you can target people that fit inside that persona. In short, your salespeople will spend more time with people who are likely to convert and less time on those who won't.

 

Score leads in your sales cycle

If you're not scoring your leads, you should be. Not all prospects are made equal, so you need to have a process that evaluates them. What criteria you use will depend on who your business is and what you sell. In short, as your leads come in, categorise them on things like interest, potential revenues, likelihood to buy — whatever is relevant. Sure, that might mean you're reaching out to fewer people, but the quality will be higher.

Ask about more than pain points

Pain points are a huge motivational factor in consumers and B2B sales. However, there is only one-half of the equation. Customers also have goals, hopes, and aspirations for what they want.

You can shorten the sales cycle by developing a fuller understanding of what drives and motivates your prospect. Mapping out how your product will help them realise their goals is very powerful.

Centralise your sales strategy

We're saving the best tip for last. If you really want to shorten the sales cycle, you need to centralise the buyer journey.

Consider this: By 2026, 30% of B2B sales cycles will be primarily run through a digital sales room (DSR), which will be used to manage the customer life cycle.

Digital sales room pods are the most convenient, streamlined, and information-rich ways to engage prospects. trumpet allows users to set up microsites that can serve as a virtual pod for reps and prospects to meet, discuss sales and share information.

trumpet makes it easy to design beautiful, professional-looking pods with lots of integration options. Get all your documents, data, video, whitepapers, case studies, and more into one place your prospects can access 24/7.

You can connect via Slack, Teams, or email or speak with prospects inside the pod. Additionally, you can generate in-pod analytics to keep you updated about what content is resonating with your prospects.

Get signed up for trumpet today.

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