Speeding up your sales cycle can increase your bottom line and increase the time to ROI on your marketing efforts. To shorten your time to new deals, you don’t need any fancy software or a new business model. All you need is some quick tips and you’ll be well on your way to reducing your sales cycle time.
What is a Sales Cycle?
Simply put, a sales cycle serves as a guided sequence of steps created to ease the process of converting potential clients to leads, then into customers, and eventually sales. Sales cycles will typically involve seven stages: prospecting, making initial contact, qualifying your lead, nurturing your lead, presenting your offer, overcoming objections, and finally closing the sale. The whole point of having a sales cycle in place is to help organize your sales pipeline, prioritize leads, and ultimately evaluate the efficacy of your sales efforts (Source: Hubspot). By establishing a set-in-stone sales cycle, you create transparency and help identify areas of improvement because when you break up your selling process into easy-to-measure steps, you will immediately be able to start gathering data and metrics.
Understanding the B2B Sales Cycle
Everyone wants to know when they can expect ROI from their lead generation. The answer to that depends largely on your own sales cycle. Two of the most important areas to take into consideration include having a full understanding of the individual factors that contribute to your sales cycle, as well as how to go about calculating the length of said sales cycle.
What Factors Contribute to Your Sales Cycle?
Price Point: The higher the price for your product or service, the longer your sales cycle will be. People are inevitably more hesitant to spend large amounts of money, especially considering quarterly budgets.
Payment Terms: Typically if you require a contract of any sort it will prolong the decision-making process since once they sign they are locked in.
Number of stakeholders: The more decision makers there are, the longer your sales cycle will be. It’s hard enough to get one person to agree to a sale, but when you have to convince multiple people, that takes more time.
Target Audience: Since B2B sales typically include a decision making process that needs more than one individual to sign off, their sales cycle length will be much longer compared to the B2C sales cycle, which involves the selling of products or services to one individual consumer.
How to Calculate the Length of Your Sales Cycle
The length of one’s sales cycle is defined as the amount of time that passes between the first touchpoint with a prospect and the closing of that deal. It’s important to remember that the length of the sales cycle will vary greatly depending on the industry you’re in. The average length of a sales cycle is largely dependent upon what you’re selling. For smaller deals, a B2B sales cycle will typically take around three months. While larger and more substantial sales have a sales cycle that will take somewhere between 6 to 9 months (Source). In order to calculate the length of your sales cycle, you must first determine at what point you want your sales cycle to begin and then track how long it takes to close a deal from that point. If you review the last 12 months of closed deals and track back to the beginning of the lead generation process, then you can use this information to calculate the average length of your sales cycle.
Record Keeping and Lead Tracking
Without a proper system in place, it can be easy for prospects to slip through the cracks while making their way through your pipeline. This is where CRMs, such as Hubspot and Salesforce, come in handy because they help you understand how your leads are progressing through the pipeline so you can track the overall timeline of your sales cycle. You can stay far more organized and track each touch point for all of your leads, which can help you pinpoint which leads are ready to buy and when. Without a CRM in place you’re running the risk of missing out on a sale for ready-to-buy leads in your pipeline.
Ready to start closing more deals, faster? Let’s walk through the steps you can take to optimize your sales cycle so you can get the most out of your leads.
Tips to Speed Up Your Sales Cycle
Identify Bottlenecks in Your Buying Process
By eliminating any hurdles that might stand in the way of a deal closing, you can improve the overall customer experience and in turn, boost retention. Additionally, removing bottlenecks will help your business upsell, cross-sell, and gain a greater number of referrals from customers who had a positive experience with you. All of which are easier to close since they’re already aware of the positive impact your business has had on others, therefore shortening their sales cycle.
Qualify (and Disqualify) Leads as Quickly as Possible
Lead qualification should be at the forefront of your prospecting efforts. By identifying whether a lead meets the requirements to purchase your product or service you will save yourself time, money, and energy. Once you determine that a lead is in a position to invest, then it’s crucial to be transparent about pricing, have conversations about potential ROI, and take the time to understand their urgency and need.
Prioritize your Leads
Warm leads get human touches with more attention whereas cold leads you can automate as much as possible. Once you qualify or disqualify your leads, you can then evaluate them based on priority. This is where your CRM will come in handy because you can review all of their activities and how much they’ve interacted with your marketing and sales efforts. The more interactions a lead has with your brand, then the warmer they are. These leads should receive a multitude of personalized human touchpoints with more attention. Whereas cold leads, on the other hand, can receive less personalized, automatic touch points. Remember, the warmer the lead, the easier it will be to close the deal.
Use Social Proof to Build Trust
For most industries, competition is at an all time high. So when taking into consideration the different touch points you can use to convince leads that your solution is the answer to their problem, make sure to utilize your company’s success stories. Through providing relevant content to their pain points, posting existing client testimonials, and case studies from similar clients, you can build trust and prove that your solution is effective.
Use Limited Time Opportunities to Encourage a Quicker Sale
We all know how difficult it can be to turn down a good deal. These limited time only opportunities will capture the attention of your leads, especially your warmer leads who have been interacting with your content. These types of offers could be the little push that your prospect needs to become a new client.
Make Onboarding Simple
If your clients are forced to jump through multiple hoops during the onboarding phase, then you’re already off to a bad start. It’s important to make the implementation process as seamless as possible. Not only will this help to increase retention, but it can also increase client referrals, leading to a shorter sales cycle. When possible use tools such as Pandadoc, which acts as a simple all-in-one solution to easily manage the creation, editing, and signing of documents between you and your clients.
The key to shortening your sales cycle is being prospect-centric. Focus on offering value, fostering connection, and creating solutions. Don’t try to force a sale but rather nurture your prospects through the pipeline and seek out the leads that are most aligned with your solution. Having a full understanding of your sales cycle is crucial to streamlining your sales process and winning new business. And by following these simple steps, you are well on your way to speeding up your sales cycle and taking your sales to the next level.
If you’ve applied these tips and you’re still not seeing the results you need, then it might be time to put your prospecting efforts on autopilot. Here at Sapper Consulting we work as a natural extension of your existing sales team and generate highly qualified leads for your business. So if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with an outsourced lead generation company, then let’s chat.