This article was originally published on American Management Association on August 30th, 2018.
Want to shorten your sales cycle? You need hotter leads.
How do you get hotter leads? You need to get your prospects interested and invested in buying your services before the initial sales meeting.
To tempt a prospect to buy your product or service, deconstruct the concept and think backwards. A number of conditions must be met to create the perfect atmosphere for early buy-in. These include:
- The product or service is solving a problem for the customer
- The customer doesn’t hate the salesperson selling the services
- The customer can make the budget work
- The likelihood of your services or product getting the prospect fired (if things go south) are negligible
- You’re better than your competition
Sell with quality content
If we assume for a moment that these are the only five conditions that must be met in order to sell someone something, how many can be satisfied before a sales call? It depends on how much research the prospect is doing prior to the call.
Hold that thought.
On a SaaStr podcast, Marketo CEO Steve Lucas quoted a statistic: The average number of pieces of content a prospect reviews before a meeting is six (up from four). Knowing that, let’s reframe the question about satisfying conditions to boost sales: How many of those five aforementioned conditions can be answered if a prospect reviews six pieces of content about your company prior to the sales call?
If you answered four out of five, you are correct: Aside from the sales experience itself, all the variables required for a prospect to pull the trigger can be met before the call is made.
How, then, can you create the right content to satisfy all these conditions and get it in front of all the prospects before you meet with them?
You can’t. Sorry. Buzzkill.
If you read this article and start cranking out endless amounts of content, you’ve missed the point. The only goal should be creating content that simultaneously satisfies as many of the five conditions above as possible. Quality supersedes quantity when you’re drafting content to help achieve sales objectives. Less can definitely be more.
3 tactics to shorten the sales cycle
Now that you’ve got the basics of quality content down pat, you can continue to shorten your sales cycle with the following three proven tactics. My company deployed them to shrink our sales cycle down to 2.25 weeks:
Get reputable logos on your website.
These logos can represent either clients that everyone recognizes or publications that everyone recognizes (or, ideally, both). Anytime you or your company is featured in any publication for any reason, put that logo on your site.
Allow no jargon on your website.
None. You must be painfully clear. Explain-it-all-in-one-sentence clear—one sentence that you can repeat to anyone and have him or her understand what you do. There is a great test for this. Start gauging the reaction of people when you tell them what you do. If they are in any way confused or need clarification after your one-sentence description, you’ve lost. Rework your one sentence until everyone can understand it.
Start applying for awards, winning awards, and displaying awards.
Your company is eligible for so many more awards than you could imagine. Think lists of fastest-growing companies, top companies in your industry or area, project-specific creative awards, and the like. Start seeking them out and applying for them. With so much competition, accolades matter and can set you apart from the crowd.
If you can execute on all three of these tips and create good content to educate your prospects upfront, you’ll be able to shorten your sales cycles in no time.
To shorten your sales cycle, you’ll need to have some prospects in your pipeline. Learn how to keep your funnel full using the formula in our eBook below.