As a Sales Manager, Manager or Owner of a business, one of the hardest things to do, is to shorten the sales cycle of a B2B business. The length of time from the initial query to an actual sale can vary greatly. However, there are ways to shorten the cycle and close more sales in half the time!
I have worked in all parts of the sales cycle from start to finish. Some sales took only an hour and some have taken a year to close. Today, I’m going to talk about some ways to reduce those times by up to 50%.
Let’s run through the standard sales cycle and identify areas of opportunities.
Standard Sales Cycle
The potential customer goes through your website and most of the time fills in a form to request contact (let’s hope your website’s navigation is easy enough make contact) How easy is the handoff from marketing to sales? Optimisation opportunity: Smooth handoff from marketing.
The SDR/ BDM will usually attend to the query. They ring the prospect to engage and qualify them. What is the average amount of calls or emails you need to make a connect? Optimisation opportunity: Introduce sales touch at the right time.
From there, they will book a meeting with the Decision Maker or multiple stakeholders. You send the calendar invite and any pre demonstration material. How automated have you got this? If this takes over 5 minutes you should definitely read on. Optimisation opportunity: Automate pre-sale & post-sale admin.
The SDR then upload all the prospect’s details onto the CRM. Maybe you have an offshore team doing this or manually input one by one? Optimisation opportunity: Automate CRM data entry.
Next is the blessed meeting, the day we have all been waiting for, the holy grail. But they reschedule… again. Back to the CRM and calendar invite…… Out of 10 meetings, how many actually go ahead? Optimisation opportunity: Close the loop and improve meeting attendance
Let’s say, the meeting happens and the prospect loved the kickass demonstration. The follow-up begins and you send multiple emails/ phone calls to get back on the phone. How long does this take your company? Optimisation opportunity: Improve post-sale follow up with combined email nurturing and phone follow up.
You finally get on the phone, agree all the terms and send the order form.
As the sales lead of my business, I understand this whole process is extremely long winded but it’s what the sales team have to do on a daily basis. Surely, there is a better way.
Let’s kick on, here are some tips and strategies I have used to shorten my sales cycle and optimise the sales process.
Tips & strategies
Leveraging technology that closes the gap
Deploy chatbots can speed up the process. Up above we talked about customers filling out forms to speak to a rep. By filling out the form, they have demonstrated that they are interested in your solution. After that, every minute you wait can mean your competitors are jumping in or worse yet, your prospects lose interest. Chatbots can connect your sales teams to marketing leads quicker by engaging the right prospects at the right time. This will help you improve meeting attendance and ensure the handoff from marketing is smooth.
Collecting data so your sales team come prepared
Every interaction you have with your prospects is a chance for you to collect data. Treating data collection as a qualification strategy will ensure your sales team is introduced at the right time and that they are prepared for the customer. This can all be done in the backend so your sales team don’t have to spend time asking questions they already have the answer to.
Automating your data collection and email nurturing can save heaps of busywork. You want to spend more time selling and less time dealing with admin so automation of all the email nurtures, CRM data uploads and post-sale & pre-sale follow-ups can save you heaps of time.
Building a sales relationship through marketing
Make your marketing efforts personable by introducing your sales team throughout acquisition. Being familiar with your sales team early on will personify your brand and warm your prospect up for a sales touch. Instead of sending email nurtures through the marketing email, send them through the sales team so they gain credibility which will ultimately speed up the sales cycle.
I hope these tips help your sales team close more deals.