Allowing potential customers to take long periods to make a purchase is called a slow sales cycle. Most companies are always looking for ways to make sales quicker. We are going to explore minor changes that you can make that create a major difference.
A quick sales cycle shows that a business is growing and competitive within their industry. Continue reading to learn three strategies to speed up your sales cycle.
What is the sales cycle?
The sales cycle is a 7-stage process that businesses undergo while selling to a customer. It begins when a company starts looking for potential customers and continues throughout the completion of a sale. Definitions of the sales cycle may vary slightly between company to company, but it can generally be summarized in these seven steps.
- Prospecting for sales leads. In this stage, you'll identify sales qualified leads (SQLs) and fill your pipeline with prospects who fit into buyer persona and could be interested in your product/service.
- Initiating contact with a lead. After identifying prospects, you can move on to making contact. Engage with them on social media like LinkedIn or Twitter, and reach out over email and phone. The first impression is important, so automate an introductory email or engagement actions in social media to be timely and on-point.
- Qualifying the lead. During this stage of the sales cycle, you will vet the client as much as possible. When your prospect is interested in learning more, you can set up a discovery or qualifying call. Thus, you will learn more about their business, needs, and ability to meet those needs. Don't forget to add additional information about your product in PDFs so that the person can share it with the team.
More about the topic: How RPA Strengthens Client Relationships.
- Presenting an offer. This is the most crucial stage in the sales cycle and requires the most preparation. Presentation is usually built around a pitch template that your sales team uses and customizes for each prospect's unique business needs. Customization and profound preparation are the keys to a successful presentation.
- Overcoming objections. Let's face it; some sales cycles won't be perfect. Be prepared to listen to objections intently, ask for context, and try to understand their objections before addressing them.
- Closing the sale. After talking through legal or IT on logistical details, it's time to close the deal.
- Follow up and generating referrals. The sales cycle doesn't end with settling an agreement. After you close, you have to work to delight your customers and keep them satisfied with the customer and technical support. Do everything in your power to serve your customers as best you can.
How will speeding up your sales cycle benefit your business?
A slow sales cycle increases the risk of losing a sale. Carefully tracking and analyzing the sales cycle can provide insights into how competitive your sales team is compared to others in the same industry. Here are a few ways that speeding up the sales cycle will benefit a business:
- Increase your return-on-investment (ROI) – less time closing a sale means less money spent trying to achieve sales.
- Allow for accurate sales forecasting – shorter sales cycles provide more time to review analytics and predict sales patterns.
- Improve company growth – when the sales team works within a fast sales cycle, they are able to close more sales and contribute to company growth.
What strategies can speed up the sales cycle?
Improve Response Time
It may come as a surprise to modern shoppers that physical stores have a shorter sales cycle than online storefronts. The difference between brick and mortar shops and their online counterparts is the instant assistance that customers receive. Businesses can increase revenue by 4-8% by improving the customer service experience.
By improve your response time to customer questions, you can replicate the service that customers receive while shopping in person.
Using Robotic Process Automation technology (RPA) tools in a form of live chat or chatbot, allows customers to type in a frequently asked question, and get an immediate response. This keeps them informed and flowing through the sales cycle.
Provide Pricing Information Early
According to HubSpot, 60% of customers want to discuss pricing on their first sales call. However, many businesses attempt to withhold pricing information until they are able to qualify a lead. This often happens with products that have a high price point. By utilizing automation technology, sales teams can provide the pricing information that potential customers want to know, while still gaining information to qualify the lead.
Sales teams can accomplish this by developing an email automation form that leads can complete to automatically receive pricing information. This form can include all of the qualifying questions that team members need to determine if a lead is ready to purchase. In one simple step, the sales team will decrease the time to qualify leads and the customer will have the necessary pricing information.
Automate Repetitive Tasks In The Sales Process
Salespeople only spend about 33% of their day speaking to potential customers. The majority of their day involves entering data, responding to emails, scheduling calls, and other time-consuming tasks that require little skill.
Implementing technology like RPA can significantly increase the amount of time that sales team members can spend speaking directly with leads to close sales. Aimultiple's research indicates that 61% of employees report that RPA allows them to focus on strategic work.
Software robots are able to perform operational tasks such as data entry in CRM and ERP systems. These bots can automate invoices and sales orders, resulting in employee satisfaction and increased sales potential.
It's beneficial to every company to speed up their sales cycle. Once a business's sales cycle is shortened, benefits like an improvement in growth, increased ROI, and accurate sales forecast can be seen. Remember to follow these three simple strategies to speed up your sales cycle:
- Improve response time
- Provide pricing information early
- Automate repetitive tasks in the sales process
With these minor improvements, you will be able to delight customers with a custom, timely response. It will also allow your employees to concentrate on creating customized offers to the prospects and strengthening relationships with current customers, which leads to more qualifies leads, more sales and new opportunities for business growth.