As a business leader, you are highly aware that time is money. Ensuring that your business has its cash flow through promptly is something that every successful company strives for. The best possible way to pull this off is by looking for ways to shorten your sales cycle and making people purchase your goods and services sooner rather than later.
Additionally, with every bit of resources that go into earning and cultivating your leads, if you allow these customers to take a longer time to convert, you may be spending far too much cash to gain sales that are not even worth it. According to Entrepreneur, one reason why many businesses fail is due to issues with cash flow. Even if the product you are selling is proven, a lengthy sales cycle can end up damaging your business overall.
That is why so many sales teams take the time to focus on shortening their sales cycle. They carefully analyze each phase of their sales process to see any potential issues and offer advice for optimization for each one. The survival of a business all depends on the ability to decrease the sales cycle.
So, what can you do to convince people to purchase your products faster? And how do you pull this off without damaging your relationship with the customer?
For this post, let's go over the most effective strategies for shortening your sales cycle.
A sales cycle is the mere process that points out the interaction you have with your prospective customer, from the first time you made contact to the moment you closed the sale. That means your entire sales team is developing and maintaining interest in your products, engaging with leads, answer questions, and converting them into customers.
Before you can get started with your lead generation strategies, you need to take the time to consider who you are targeting. Build a buyer’s persona that can assist you in clarifying the target audience that can result in qualified leads. Buyer personas allow you to outline the qualities you are searching for in your ideal buyer. They can answer these questions about your target audience:
The answers you receive from these questions let you figure out how you can approach your target audience and assist the sales team in customizing their message and target customers in a focused way. That results in your organization acquiring more qualified leads that should shorten the sales cycle.
Sometimes revealing the pricing to your product can cause some hesitation on your end and lead to hiding the pricing information until the lead is aware of the value of the product. Plenty of sales reps tend to dread dealing with this part when they need to break the news to the prospect. It usually causes them to leave it until the end of the discussion, which could cause more problems than help.
A mistake like this is quite common among salespeople, unfortunately. Instead of trying to tippy-toe around the subject, you need them to be straightforward from the start and let the prospect know what the price is along with what they’ll receive from getting it. Showing transparency early on allows you to steadily build loyalty with the prospect. It also avoids awkward situations, such as the prospective customer trying to lower the price or deciding to change their mind and decline the product.
When looking into spots you could improve your sales cycle, one of the most crucial parts you should inspect is the sales avenue. Some sales channels have grown outdated these days and perform poorer than others. For example, newspapers were an excellent way for people to advertise their products several decades ago. Now, the internet has managed to make that entirely obsolete with the amount of reach it has acquired. Your organization needs to stop focusing on terribly performing channels that slow your entire sales cycle to a crawl.
To puzzle out where to concentrate your notice for the highest return, monitor which channels perform the best for your sales team (perhaps your Instagram account is receiving the highest response rates) and continue developing a framework that supports extra focus on those particular areas.
It’s essential to conduct a frequent check-up on those channels as well. Just because one of those channels is earning your gains this year doesn't mean that it will remain the reigning champ forever. Always keep a watchful eye on the performance of those channels, and don’t be afraid to conduct some experiments while attempting new prospecting strategies.
One of the best ways to shorten your sales cycle is to allow your qualified lead to sign a contract with you from any device. Technology has advanced far enough to provide people with handheld devices that are usable in almost any location. Through the use of a smartphone or tablet, a prospect can merely click on a button, and it will qualify as a signature on a contract, sealing the deal between the both of you.
Keep in mind that most people are not excited to sign up for something they have no interest in if the registration process is overly complicated and requires them to fill out far too many fields. It’s up to you and your team to keep up to date with the latest technology and respect the customer's time and preferences.
Automation is another option you have for improving your sales cycle. Using this technology provides you with a way to streamline and automate specific takes to enhance your sales team’s efficiency. For example, sending emails is one of the many time-consuming tasks that you can seamlessly automate. According to a Forbes article, the average time an employee spends composing and reading emails is 2.5 hours a day. Implementing an email automation solution allows your team to automate the email campaign and free up their time to focus more on other critical tasks such as closing deals.
Another task that needs automation is data entry. While the technology to automate this task has existed for a while now, plenty of companies still rely on manual labor to input customer data into the database. That process can take far longer than it should, especially if your sales team processes hundreds of leads every month. These mundane tasks need to be handled by automation solutions that can easily capture data, such as lead name, organization, contact information, and much more.
Take a close look at what tasks in your sales process can be automated. The time you manage to save from automating tasks should be used to conduct more complex tasks such as coaching your team, conducting follow-ups, and dealing with customer objections. That should heighten the efficiency of your sales process and shorten the sales cycle.
Any prospect you reach out to is not going to trust you immediately, but the opinions of other people in the industry or testimonials could potentially sway them. Letting them know that they are not the only ones interested in using your product shall go a long way in shortening the sales cycle. According to the Harvard Business Review, nine out of ten purchasing decisions are accomplished by recommendations. The sales team needs to leverage social proof to entice your prospect and close a deal faster.
There are several ways you can pull this off. First of all, try getting a warm introduction from a mutual contact. They can be founded through places like LinkedIn to see the prospects connect at their company. If you don’t have direct contact with your prospect line, there is still a chance they will respond if an introduction is sent through them from a coworker instead of a random email. If you have any case studies, send them to your prospect as evidence that your product has improved other businesses. If you have multiple case studies, send the one that closes relates to your prospect's company.
You could also try to bring them an event that has your existing customers attending. Offering your prospect the opportunity to speak to a reference usually is not a good idea since it wastes time for your customer and delays the buying process. To make this part shorter, invite buyers to an event where they can hang out with your customers. It will eventually end up with them hearing glowing reviews of your product and brand.
Mentioning other companies similar to your prospect can also be a great way to make them consider your product and shorten the sales cycle. By relating to these organizations because they were dealing with a similar issue, it causes trust to develop from the prospect when they see how you managed to soothe the other clients' pain points.
The sales team needs to ensure that the CRM contact list is up-to-date with contacts that are interested in the products and services you are offering. Doing so makes the sales process practical since your team is only reaching out to people who are interested in hearing about the product. Furthermore, when you cut out the disinterested contacts on your list, your email process increases, causing your messages to be delivered to the correct people at the appropriate time.
Set aside some time to clean and maintain the contact list. Trash any contact that bounces or has unsubscribed. Segment the contact list based on when opened the last email, the last time it was clicked, the last reply, and the final sent date. If it has been several sales cycles since any of your contacts have last interacted with anything sent by you, and you think the lead has become cold, make a cold list and delete their record to exclude them from future contact.
The best business leaders out there take the time to coach and educate their sales team. However, plenty of sales managers have the wrong idea when it comes to coaching. They cannot simply conduct these lessons in less than five minutes during a meeting. If your organization wants to shorten its sales cycle, you need to ensure your sales managers are sitting down with their sales reps, go through CRM reports with them, and devise a plan for every step of the sales process for each lead in the sales pipeline.
While this can be a difficult task to accomplish, it’s required if you want to develop a skilled sales team and shorten the sales cycle. Simply providing some uplifting speeches isn’t going to work for this situation.
Generic pitches are something that rarely works these days. Everyone has heard the same old, same old, and will not be motivated to purchase anything from a company that is offering something that isn’t assisting with their issues.
At the start of a sales process, it's crucial to provide a personalized message to your prospects since it makes them feel understood and heard. When your prospective customer reads the email or has a conversation with one of your sales reps, it makes them feel like they are understood when it comes to their problem. That increases the likelihood of feeling like your product or service is the solution they've been looking for.
When you have obtained this level of trust, the sales cycle becomes increasingly smoother because there is less back and forth. If you want to create a more personalized experience, make sure to include their first name in the emails and messages. If you have any information from previous conversations, use them as a reference for any other discussion in the future. Take the time to share content or solutions relevant to the prospective customer's particular pain points.
These are the strategies that will help you shorten your sales cycle. Chances are you have already managed to identify some places where your sales cycle needs improvement and have some ideas on fixing them. Shortening your sales cycle will provide an overall improvement to your organization, so make sure you get on it immediately. Check out Intro.so to further shorten your sales cycle.