How to shorten the sales cycle

Bartosz Majewski in

Blog/B2B Sales Strategy/How to shorten the sales cycle

Do you feel like your marketing efforts don’t generate enough sales? The strategy you’ve implemented doesn’t yield the expected results? Learn some proven methods to efficiently shorten the sales funnel, utilize the available time better, and close more sales.

It’s all about knowing exactly what and when is happening on the seller and buyer end of the bargain, being able to expect the next customer move, and if possible, meeting him halfway there. In other words, you have to get a better understanding of your sales funnel. The particular cycles differ depending on the type of leads.

Maybe you’re using inbound marketing and want customers to find you and sway your way before they find out about the competition? Oh, so you’re going outbound and you aim at reaching the biggest possible audience? If you already have a customer database, you’re surely using referrals as well, that drive new leads using the power of recommendation.

A thorough audit of the sales funnel allows you to define and understand the process of sales, and then pinpoint and eliminate errors. Some of the techniques are easier, other require you to put in extra effort and resources. All of them are worthy of consideration, though. Read on to see if you’re able to implement any of them right away.

Limit the number of clicks

Go as low as you can! Managing the sales funnel should be a cakewalk. Even a single click less can make a difference in the long run. It helps you save time you can now spend on other activities – sale more, or invest in growth of your sales reps. Anything, literally ANYTHING, is more productive than clicking.

Be there with the customers

Run different scenarios that a customer may be going through in order to identify the trigger point, that is the moment when the buying need emerges. For you it will be the right time to showcase your offer and launch sales efforts. Keep in mind that this is an individual issue for every type of customer.

An example:

An up-and-coming startup announces they’ve won round A financing. That’s the perfect time to present your offer, right? Well, you better think twice. First off, the fact that the company’s budget gets an instant financial kick doesn’t mean the money will be spent right away. Second, even if it’s about to be spent, you never know exactly when and what for. Finally, you won’t be the only one eyeing it. As soon as the information about the financing makes its way into the media, the startup will be flooded with offers. This is a classic idea of an incorrectly defined trigger.

Recognizing trigger points isn’t easy, however, if you’ll figure out how to meet the right people at the right time, presenting a personalized offer, you’ll see the results soon enough.

Clean up your leads

Proper lead qualification is a must. Get rid of those that shouldn’t even be in your database, and those that aren’t very promising. Think about how long the decision making process is, and if it’s not too long. Consider how many people have a say in it. Every new brain pick extends the sales process (the one at the legal department seemingly makes it twice as long!). If it’s worth the sweat, you need to first find out at what stage does the prospect need your product or service. It may not going to be in a month, but how about in 6 months? Make sure you schedule a reachout in 5, then. In the meantime, attend to other clients.

Get to know your client

The way he may and most likely will act in contact with you can be predicted to a large extent. Most of sales funnels resemble each other. For instance, at first, the customer wants to satisfy his need or solve a problem, while he has low level of perceived risk. At the time of closing out a sale, it’s the opposite. The more you know, the less will surprise you.

Be ready

Once you know who’s on the other side and what he desires, try to expect a couple of his moves ahead, as if you were playing chess. Think about potential questions he may have and get some answers ready, so that you don’t have to hold off the sales process to make internal consultation. Not only will you save time, you’ll also come off as a professional, which will translate into trust.

Solve technical issues

Sometimes, you may face a rather mundane obstacle to closing out sales, such as getting a signature. When you’re printing out, initialing, and sending out documents, you’re wasting time. More importantly, you may be losing the chance to close out the deal too, as the client may change his mind. Simple and convenient electronic signature and going paperless shorten the sales funnel and help you build up an image of a modern business.

Harness the power of emotions

On both ends of the sales funnel, there’s a human being with an entire spectrum of thoughts and experiences. Make your human side known! Personalized, slightly chummy (don’t push it too far!) tone, as well as persuasive, time-limited offers (“Today only – huge discount on the Premium Business Plan! Don’t miss out!”) are the key that opens many doors.

Never let go of the steering wheel

One more important thing before I wrap it up. Never hand the steering wheel to your client in a conversation. Always finish strong, for instance, by getting a permission for contact on a clearly set date, not in 4 days, but in 2. Make sure he doesn’t forget about you, keep striking while the iron’s hot. Create the impression of being caring, but don’t be a heckler.

If you’re looking for more ideas, take a look at our case studies to get inspired! Any questions? Contact us. But most of all – keep going.

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Bartosz Majewski

Co-founder of RightHello. Ten years of experience in sales. Has executed business expansion into 38 markets on 6 continents. A regular speaker at business conferences. An active snowboarder outside of work. Avid book reader and blogger.

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