9 Tips to Optimize your Sales Cycle

by Andre Oentoro

9 Tips to Optimize your Sales Cycle

 

The sales strategy is one of the key distinctions between firms with strong sales performance and those who aren't performing as well.

An organized sales operation is one of the frequent techniques among top-performing firms, according to a Harvard Business Review survey. Additionally, the most prosperous businesses are those who place a high priority on enhancing their sales processes and employ automated CRM technologies appropriate for their industry. 

How can these high-performing businesses successfully optimize the sales process inside their business to close numerous deals is the question.

Well, you won't likely learn anything from them. That is equivalent to giving your trade secrets to a rival. So it's fortunate that you are here. 

This article will provide you with some advice on how to optimize the business's sales operation, regardless of whether you are a sales director, data optimization specialist, or the director of a sales organization.

So, let's discuss some clever tactics for accelerating your sales cycle.

 

What Is A Sales Cycle?

The sales cycle is a continuous process that starts with the initial contact with prospects and ends with their conversion into a client.

Of course, the characteristics of your business determine how long your sales cycle will be. You should expect to go through the following stages in a B2B or SaaS organization during your sales cycle:

  • Lead generation/Prospecting 

  • Discovery 

  • Demo 

  • Proposal 

  • Negotiation (optional)

  • Closed deal

Of course, these steps may alter significantly based on your area of expertise. However, the length of your sales cycle is greatly influenced by each of these phases, so you must improve the process at each stage if you want to shorten it.

9 Ways To Optimize Your Sales Cycle

1. Find Out The Typical Sales Cycle For Your Business

Your average sales cycle duration is the sum of all won deals and the time between your initial contact with a firm and closing a deal. The outcome informs you of the typical time it takes for a deal to be closed by your sales team. 

Many sales managers could be inclined to compare their performance to that of their rivals after seeing the figures, but this is not recommended.

The average sales cycle for B2B organizations is 102 days, according to a sales benchmark study of dozens of businesses. The same study did note that the source of the agreement has a significant impact on the results.

The typical sales cycle of a company can also be affected by elements that are particular to each business, such as region, line of products, and sales approach. 

As a result, conducting a competition study doesn't provide much value or insight because the factors are so dissimilar.

Instead, one can use their typical sales cycle length as a baseline. This is significant since the benchmark acts as your point of departure. Use it to determine the success of the adjustments you make. As you use the advice in this article, your typical sales cycle length should shorten over time.

2. Locate Any Bottlenecks

Drilling down, even more, is the next step after learning the typical sales cycle length for your business. Look at the typical time it takes for a contract to advance from one stage to the next in the sales cycle. 

This ought to enable you to focus on the stages that demand your immediate attention.

Let's imagine that throughout the introduction phase, your prospects tend to hesitate the most. This may be a sign that your sales representatives are having trouble persuading prospects to agree to a meeting.

To solve this problem, you can create a process for swiftly scheduling a meeting. For instance, consider the following advice:

  • Send the invitation using your calendar and an email with a suggested schedule. You can use different ways to use meeting schedulers for lead tracking

  • Make a cold call to the prospect if there is no answer after 24 hours.

  • Send a follow-up email as soon as possible if the potential customer doesn't reply.

  • Make a cold call to them once more if you don't hear back from them within 48 hours of your initial message.

  • Leave a voicemail encouraging the potential client to respond to your emails or give you a call back as soon as you can if there is still no response.

  • Your sales cycle should go more quickly if you have a defined process in place for moving deals from one stage to the next.

3. Define Your Customer Journey Persuasively 

Selling to potential customers requires an understanding of how they operate. Meet with your sales staff to discuss how potential consumers become paying clients. 

Who typically makes decisions when making a purchase? 

How can you get their trust and credibility? How many interactions are necessary? With the aid of these inquiries, you may determine various elements of your general procedure and let sales representatives know what to anticipate with each sale.

4. Every Conversation With Prospects Should Be Organized & Planned

Do you really understand the objectives you're pursuing at each stage? You may want to change your strategy if you are acting purely intuitively without a plan. Every discussion with a potential customer should be guided by certain objectives.

  • What outcomes do you anticipate from the initial, follow-up, and third conversations?

  • What are your assets, secret weapons?

  • Before speaking with the prospect, are there any areas that you need to improve?

  • What do you hope to accomplish with this particular prospect?

You can create a strong plan that will take into consideration each circumstance that might occur during a conversation with a prospect by asking yourself these questions and then basing your decisions on the responses.

Few people can claim to have superb improvisational abilities, and even if you can, it's always preferable to plan your work with a specific direction in mind.

5. Use Collaboration Tools And Platforms To Facilitate Communication Inside The Sales Force.

The majority of sales, particularly the bigger agreements, involve a team. It is therefore essential that your team members can interact effectively with one another. 

If you continue to use lengthy, cumbersome email threads, it might be time to upgrade. 

To make communication easier, consider installing Slack, Taggg, or Basecamp. By employing calendar overlays, Taggg reduces back and forth when organizing group meetings for three or more individuals. 

These tools can also be excellent for interacting with customers, which further helps to optimize the sales process.

6. Prioritize The Alignment Between Sales & Marketing

What does advertising even have to do with the Sales Cycle, you might be asking. To which our reply is, "a lot". Although the aims of the sales and marketing teams are identical (i.e., to generate revenue and growth), they frequently have trouble cooperating together. 

Sales representatives don't pursue leads produced by marketers since they don't want to spend a lot of time hunting for leads.

Sales and marketing should cooperate rather than compete when deciding on annual KPIs, monthly goals, and lead definitions. You'll be astounded by how much can be accomplished when marketing and sales collaborate.

7. Rank Your Leads 

According to statistics, 67% of lost sales are the result of sales representatives' improper lead qualifications. As a result, these unqualified leads move through all phases of the sales cycle and into the pipeline. 

Your sales cycle speed may suffer as a result of this, which can have an unfavorable impact on how well your sales staff moves leads from one stage to the next.

By putting your lead scoring strategy into practice, you may quickly resolve this problem. It's a method that gives sales teams the ability to rank leads according to a predetermined set of criteria. 

They do this to easily recognize leads who share traits with their ideal clientele. Location, gender, job title, annual salary, education, and other characteristics are only a few of them.

For instance, leads coming from the US receive 10 points. Additionally, those who make above $100,000 annually receive 20 points, while those with a college degree or higher receive 15 points. The ranking rises in accordance with the score.

With the aid of lead scoring, you can rapidly determine which leads have the greatest chance of moving on to the next stages of the sales cycle and becoming your clients. 

By doing this, you can quickly speed up your sales cycle and get rid of the problem of unqualified leads filling your pipeline.

8. Get Rid Of Outdated Contacts & Keep Your CRM Updated

This task shouldn't be put aside because doing so will make your workflow inefficient. You'll save a lot of time by routinely cleaning up your CRM and keeping your contact list organized and up-to-date, which you may use to accomplish business objectives.

Make sure you meticulously review your prospect list and remove any contacts that have bounced or unsubscribed. 

Additionally, organize your connections so that you can see their most recent interactions and activities with you. You will then be aware of who to target first and add to the list of cold leads.

9. Utilize Incremental Closes

Use incremental closes to quicken your prospect's buying process and prepare them for the purchase.

Making a series of tiny promises increases the buyer's engagement in the purchase, develops their "yes" behavior, and enables you to gather important information.

Plan out the request you'll make after each interaction first. These demands need to be advantageous to both you and your prospect. 

When you get to know your prospective consumer and gain their confidence, they should likewise increase in size and importance.

For instance, you may ask for your prospect's cell phone number at the end of the connected conversation so you can contact them more easily. 

You might ask for a discussion with their procurement department or an orientation to the financial authority after the demo.

Bottom Line 

In the end, we would say that you can reduce your sales cycle length if you're willing to put some effort into it.

Although there isn't a magic bullet for the issue of a longer-than-expected sales cycle, a successful sales strategy comprises process optimization at each stage of the client journey.

Utilize every tool at your disposal to direct the workflow of your sales staff toward achieving targets, and remove any barriers that might stand in their way.

Andre Oentoro

CEO at Breadnbeyond

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).