It goes without saying that when you hasten the sales cycle, you will sell more and thus increase profits. But how can your business accelerate the sales cycle? After all, the same seven steps are still required: prospecting, lead contacting, lead qualifying, nurturing a lead along, presenting the offer, responding to objections and closing the sale. While you can’t leave any of these steps out, there are things you can do to speed up the process.
Businesses should begin by assessing the effectiveness and speed of their current sales cycle, with a concentration on the elements that can cause a slowdown. For example, how long do sales reps take to respond to incoming leads? Is there a long delay between a prospect reaching out and a sales rep responding? Can this time be shortened? Is there a recommend number of calls sales reps should make daily or weekly in pursuit of new business opportunities?
Next, let’s consider contacting and qualifying prospects. If such a list doesn’t exist already, perhaps your company should create a checklist of effective methods for following up with reluctant prospects. Do your reps call once and if they don’t get a response, do they just forget about it and move on to the next prospect? Or, should they call, email, leave voice mails and so on? How streamlined is your qualification process? Instead of subjectively evaluating prospects, we suggest creating a scoring system of desirable prospect characteristics, so your sales team can get the most promising prospects into your sales pipeline as soon as possible.
And the list goes on. Presenting the offer can be sped up via automation. Developing an offer, especially when a business offers product and service variations as well as a range of prices and discounts to diverse customers, is time-consuming and fraught with potential errors. CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software simplifies this process through automation and is particularly helpful for B2B companies that custom tailor their products and/or services to meet customers’ demands for unique sizes and features.
The process of handling objections to the offer can also be sped up. Instead of deciding every time how to respond to a prospect’s objections, a smart business keeps a list of the most common ones. Whether customers take issue with costs, deadlines or any other factors, you can accelerate this step by making note of the issues that arise most often and preparing general responses ahead of time.
The attached infographic, How to Accelerate Your Sales Cycle, is a valuable resource for any business. It summarizes the typical sales cycle and offers ways to speed it up. What company wouldn’t benefit by speeding up the sales cycle in order to gain increased sales and profits? We hope every sales manager takes positive actions after reading this infographic.
Chris DiEllo is Vice President of Global Sales at Configure One, a leading provider of cloud CPQ (configure, price, quote) software. He’s spent the past two decades helping companies of all sizes to efficiently configure, price, sell and manufacture orders for configurable products and services — meanwhile helping Configure One provide world-class service to enterprise CPQ customers looking to increase revenue and reduce costs by automating sales, order entry and engineering processes.