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Looking for Ways to Shorten Your Sales Cycle? Here Are 5 Helpful Tips

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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5 MIN. READ

Even the most experienced salesperson doesn’t land every prospect. If you find that your company consistently misses its sales goals, though, you may find yourself facing some tough questions regarding your sales and marketing strategy. Is your sales funnel too shallow? Does your marketing messaging match your sales tactics? Are your salespeople on the same page as your marketing people? Are you reaching the right audience at the right time with the right product? The following suggestions will help you out of your slump and shorten your sales cycle.

Talk to the Right Person Right Away

Ideally, your sales force should have two prospects entering the sales funnel for every sale closed. In reality, each business reaches its purchasing conclusions at its own pace. Your company may close three deals in one day but not locate a replacement prospect for a week.

Indeed, finding new prospects is time-consuming. In fact, the average salesperson spends 17% of the time looking for prospects and researching them.

One great way to increase your funnel’s volume is to take advantage of resources and trusted partnerships like IndustrySelect that works exclusively with industry research regarding your primary customer. With an extensive database of curated prospects, IndustrySelect's contacts and company research are always accurate and timely.

Best of all, you choose which industry best suits your market space. This way, you can easily identify the right person to speak with from the start, instead of navigating your way up the latter and through departments, searching for the right decision-maker.

Automate Tasks When You Can

Automation increases your company's reach - when it's done properly. After all, robocalling every manufacturing company within your territory will likely not develop any prospects for your sales team.

Instead, find a reliable CRM (client relationship management) software program. Sales and marketing can both access the information, providing greater visibility into where prospects are in their sales cycles.

A robust CRM allows both teams to function using a common set of data. Marketing can send push notifications when applicable. At the same time, sales can use a mobile version of the CRM to automatically update files in the moment without having to rely on memory or hand-written notes to enter the data when they return to the office.

Plan Each Sales Call

Planning does not equal scripting. You can’t possibly anticipate conversational nuance, but you can create an action plan surrounding the conversation to shorten your sales cycle.

Your sales staff should learn as much as possible about the prospect before the initial call. What industry trends are they facing? How has the pandemic affected their company? Remember that not all companies were adversely affected. On the contrary, medical supply, cleaning supply and other essential manufacturing industries actually experienced a growth cycle to meet public demands for their products.

You and your sales team should also have a specific goal in mind for each conversation. If it is an introductory meeting, spend far more time listening than talking. Prospects prefer to be heard rather than face a hard sell from the moment you walk through the door. If it is a follow-up meeting, come prepared with specific answers to issues raised in the previous session.

Additionally, set the next meeting or phone call and establish the goal for that occasion before leaving. You should have a clear understanding of where each prospect stands in the purchasing process. Come prepared to overcome whatever obstacles or perceived barriers the prospect may harbor and nudge them a little further towards a purchase.

Head Off Objections Early in the Process

You and your salespeople can view prospect objections as either an obstacle or an opportunity. Each objection is an opportunity for you to guide the prospect further down the sales path. After all, they wouldn't ask a question or raise an issue if they had no interest in your product.

As guides, you and your salespeople have the chance to answer questions about your products and how they can enhance the prospect's bottom line. More importantly, you can guide the prospect's journey through the sales cycle in an efficient manner. IndustrySelect's six-part series on overcoming common objections in B2B sales can hlep. 

Let Your Prospects Travel at Their Own Pace

When you’re looking for ways to shorten your sales cycle, it’s tempting to ignore or release a prospect that slows you down. But be patient. That slow prospect could become your best long-term customer.

If your salespeople push prospects too hard, they may turn to a different product simply because your competitor was willing to give your prospects the time they needed to evaluate their decision. Your team will have wasted time and resources through a lack of patience.

Teach your salespeople the value of treating each prospect as an individual. For some prospects, offering a discount may provide value to the sale. Other prospects may simply want you to listen to their concerns before jumping in with a product that will solve their problems. Additionally, many prospects have "buying seasons." State and federal agencies generally go on a spending spree close to the end of their respective fiscal years due to "use it or lose it" budgeting.

Regardless, each prospect has their own reason for not signing a contract the same day that you visit. Teach your team to respect that individuality, and your sales cycles will shorten in a good way, not through attrition to your competition.

You Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle with the Right Tactics

A “perfect strategy” to shorten your sales cycle doesn’t exist. You will always lose a few prospects along the way. However, if you try to keep your sales funnels full, treat prospects as individuals and plan each step of the sales journey carefully, you will see the difference in your company’s bottom line.

 

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