Shortening the sales cycle is a top concern of all top sales people. Here are three key ways to shorten your sales cycle and achieve better results.
Longer sales cycles mean less revenue, lost opportunities, and can intensify efficiency issues as unnecessary time is spent following up with the same lukewarm prospects time and again. That makes shortening your sales cycle a top concern. As a sales rep or sales manager, you have a greater measure of control over the sales cycle than you might imagine. Here are three key ways to shorten your sales cycle and achieve better results.
Many sales reps believe that the key to making more sales is having more leads. While lead generation is the foundation of sales, nothing could be further from the truth. Quality leads are what make the difference. By focusing prospecting on those who are most likely to need, be able to afford, and be in a position to purchase your offering, you can maximize the time you spend generating and following up on leads. Prospect better by:
Premature presentation is one of the top reasons that prospects decline making a commitment. If a prospect does not recognize that his or her business has a problem that you can solve, he or she is not positioned to buy. Yet too many sales reps rush into an appointment with a hard-sell presentation, not adequately understanding the prospect’s business, not effectively building a trust relationship, or both. A prospect not ready to buy who receives such a presentation will know that they are being sold to instead of worked with, and will withdraw accordingly.
To shorten the sales cycle, you should take the time to understand the prospect’s business. This allows you to pinpoint the problems that you can solve for the prospect, and clearly explain how your solutions to these problems are the best in terms that the prospect can appreciate. This results in a stable transition from presentation to buy-in, and removes stock objections that can lengthen the sales cycle in the process.
Sales cycles commonly stretch because prospect are allowed to lapse within the cycle. It isn’t that a sales rep loses contact with these prospects; in fact, the sales rep maintains regular contact. The problem with these lapsed cycles is that the cycle is not moving forward because the sales rep is not gaining a commitment from the prospect to move to the next step during each contact.
The next step is not always the close. It could be something as simple as scheduling a phone call or gaining a more complex commitment like a presentation to C-suite decision makers. Factory tours, supplementary demonstrations, and question and answer sessions are other options. By always making the path to the next step clear and gaining a commitment at each juncture, you can maintain meaningful contact with your prospects that consistently keeps the sales cycle moving towards a close.
Shortening your sales cycle is not an impossible goal or an aspirational task. Using sales best practices, you can shorten the sales cycle and increase revenues, while freeing valuable time for better sales opportunities. Make 2013 the year that you shorten the sales cycle and surpass your sales goals.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.