Long sales cycles aren’t the fault of the customer—they’re the responsibility of the salesperson. Cycles vary by industry and vertical, but can also vary greatly from person to person on the same sales team.
Easy cuts mean easy money
Reducing sales cycles is also one of the easiest things for sales teams to accomplish, because the power to do so ultimately lies in their hands. As you’re building your world-class sales organization, and trying to understand how to improve your teams, keep these cycle-reducing tips at the back of your mind, and consider how they can apply to your sales force.
Ask: what’s the clear next step?
A lack of clear next steps severely lengthens the sales cycle according to Tibor Shanto, the Forbes award-winning sales expert. He suggests that salespeople always need to know what the next step is, and have a plan for a meeting.
Getting a follow-up call on the books is great—but use that time specifically to move the prospect through the funnel, with an actual end goal in mind. Know specifically what the meeting is about—and walk in prepared to do that one thing, Shanto suggests.
Know your cycle backward and forward
Shanto also suggests starting from the end—closing the deal—and walking through the entire sales cycle backward. The goal, Shanto says, is to deconstruct the cycle so that the basic building blocks of every step are identified.
Once you understand the exact building blocks of your sales cycle, you’ll always know what the next step is—and you’ll know what the goals are of every interaction with a prospect.
Automate the proposal process
Do you build sales presentations from the ground up each time? Or do you work with templates? Or do you rely on technology to automate the process? According to CRMsearch, one of the top methods to shorten the sales cycle length is streamlining the proposal.
Even if you don’t use technology to create a proposal with a few clicks, templatizing your sales presentations so you can plug in a few pre-generated slides (which you can always tweak later) can actually save you days.
Think like a doctor
To maintain a sense of focus during the sales cycle, Inc. magazine recommends that salespeople think like doctors. Doctors don’t give presentations on angioplasty while expecting to sell you surgery; instead, they diagnose your problems, including measurements of symptoms, and then recommend the correct solution to address the problem.
Salespeople need to evaluate problems in the same way. According to Inc., one of the biggest challenges to moving someone through the sales cycle is a prospect’s lack of understanding of the problem and how your solution will fix it (the diagnosis and treatment the doctor prescribes). Therefore, approach your conversation with that mindset.
How your sales teams can improve
While shortening the sales cycle is one step toward improving your sales teams, it’s not the last. Our online evaluation tool helps audit your sales force—and gives you actionable next steps for improving it.