When analyzing product sales processes, it is not uncommon to see weaknesses that slow down the deal. In this case, you need to know how to speed up the sales cycle so that conversion rates and company profits grow. There is no one way that is always effective – everything is based on analyzing the current activities of the company and working in several directions at once.
The obvious benefits of accelerating the sales cycle
The sales cycle is the process of interaction between a business and a customer in order to sell the product or service offered by the company. The beginning of the sales cycle is prospecting for leads, but even when a purchase has been made, the process is still ongoing.
Sales cycles can vary slightly from company to company, but the following six steps are most common:
- Search for prospects. That is, those who are likely to show interest in your product or service. Such a digital online prospecting solution as EasyBusiness allows you to create a database of potential customers according to your criteria (for example, importers of cheese in Eastern Europe) in a short time and export the information you need to a file (contacts, decision makers’ data, financial indicators, etc.).
- Getting in touch. Now get in touch as soon as possible by any means available to you: call, email, contact via social networks. Here it is crucial to immediately make a favorable impression on a potential client, so use automated services to work with contacts to promptly respond to requests, and therefore accelerate the sales cycle.
- Qualification of the client. A very important point. Here you should understand what kind of business the client is engaged in, what his needs are and how your product is able to satisfy them. At the end, be sure to give the client more information about the product: you can, for example, send him a presentation.
- Presentation of the product or service. This should be properly prepared. As a rule, a ready-made template is used, which is used by sales managers (adjusting it to the needs of different customers). Two important components of a successful presentation are advance preparation and customized approach.
- Finalizing the deal. Prepare the contract specifications, negotiate the terms, sign a cooperation agreement, exchange details for payment.
- Work with referrals. Closing the deal is not the end of the sales cycle, as many may believe. Now it is still a task to give the client after-sale quality services, so that both the product and customer support left positive impression. You can’t forget about the customers as soon as they make a purchase.
According to the recent study, 61% of salespersons consider selling harder or much harder than 5 years ago.
If your sales cycle is slow, you risk losing some of your customers. That’s why you need to constantly analyze the process and check how well your team is working together.
Analyzing the sales cycle to accelerate it
1. Calculate how long it takes to close a deal
The length of the sales cycle needs to be known accurately. The calculation can be done by taking into account the different products you have in your product range:
Average deal cycle = Length of all deals / Number of deals
2. Calculate the sales cycle length at each stage of the funnel
Identify which stage takes the longest to complete. These are the points that slow down the customer’s movement through the funnel. With Sales Accelerator analytical tools, you can get detailed and thorough information on all stages of the sales funnel.
3. Calculate how long the first deal took and how long subsequent deals took
As a rule, the first deal is the longest. After it you already have contact with the client, he knows you and is loyal to you (if he was satisfied with the interaction with you). By calculating how much time it takes to conduct a transaction with a regular client, you will be able to spend more time planning the work of specialists and emphasize the retention of current customers (attracting new ones is a more complicated and costly process). If repeat sales are important for your company, then this approach is what you need.
4. Compare the length of the sales cycle for customers in different industries
Every industry has its own peculiarities of doing business. The business environment and decision-making conditions are different: some work in the grip of bureaucracy, while others are fast and flexible. To speed up the sales cycle, group your counterparties according to their industries and apply an appropriate approach to each group.
5. Define sales cycles for different managers
No matter how carefully you try to select and train your managers, there is still a human factor, so everyone works very differently. Take a closer look at who is more successful and who is slowing down. Maybe sales persons have great potential but are performing poorly because they are not working with their industry? Analyze who feels more confident where, and assign employees smartly, so that everyone in their place can show maximum efficiency.
6. Calculate the length of deals closed with negative results
A very important indicator is the time spent on deals closed negatively. If their cycle is long, then it’s likely that the managers did the best they could. And if it is too short, then there are probably some shortcomings to be studied and fixed.
7. Compare customers mined from different sources
After all, you pull in customers from everywhere: from B2B databases (for example, with the EasyBusiness online services), from social networks, through affiliate programs, etc. And all of them are not the same in terms of loyalty and readiness to buy. This means that the sales cycle will always be different. Therefore, the source of data collection must be fixed in your sales CRM, calculate what the sales cycle each marketing channel gives and use this information in planning the work of marketers.
8. Regularly monitor how the sales cycle is changing
Regularly monitor the indicators, systematize them so that at any moment you can look and understand the situation. If the duration of most deals is no more than 30 days, then you should do it at least once a month. This approach will help to promptly detect weak points, plan the workflow, identify new ways of development.
9. Constantly ask yourself the right questions
You will be surprised how much it helps to speed up the sales cycle. You should reason from the position that you can always make some improvements. Ask yourself and your sales team: How can you continuously and quickly collect your database of potential customers? What digital solutions can accelerate all stages of the sales pipeline? How to spend less time signing contracts? Which customers could decide to buy more quickly?
Using automated management solutions allows for more efficient actions throughout the sales cycle and spends significantly less time on it. Managers can focus more on learning new approaches and techniques. Our online prospecting EasyBusiness and sales pipeline management Sales Accelerator solutions allow you to organize the entire sales cycle from scratch and on a turnkey basis – you can sign up for a free trial period of 14 days and at the end of it decide to subscribe to the full commercial version of our online B2B sales cycle acceleration software.