How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Shorten your sales cycleDoes it seem like it takes forever to close new business deals?  You’re running strong campaigns, generating plenty of leads, seeing a flurry of sales activity.

But even though your sales reps are consistently following up, prospects just aren’t ready to buy.  Your sales cycle used to be 4 weeks, but now it’s 6, 8 or even twelve.  And the longer it gets, the harder it is to hit your goals.

As a marketer or executive, how can you solve this problem?  Do your sales reps need some training on their closing techniques?  Probably – after all, most reps can refresh & improve to some degree.

But it would be a mistake to just assume the problem is their closing skills.  Even the best closers can face lengthening sales cycles.

How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Instead, take a step back and look at the big picture.  There are three areas where your company can potentially improve:

  1. Quality of the leads that enter your sales process.  Are they truly qualified?
  2. How well you execute the steps in your sales process.  How strong are the materials, messages and process you follow to guide your prospects to a decision?
  3. Addressing the reasons that prospects don’t buy – your value proposition, brand and pricing.

What’s the best way to evaluate which areas are most important?  Get your sales and marketing teams together to constructively identify where you can collectively improve.

These types of meetings often create fireworks.  Sales will typically gripe that leads aren’t qualified.  Marketing will counter that sales doesn’t execute well or use the materials they create.  Keep the focus on overall improvement, not on placing blame.  After all, sales and marketing share a common goal – to generate profitable revenue and happy customers.  And if you’re spending time pointing fingers, you’re wasting valuable time and energy.

Tomorrow we’ll provide some tips for improving item #1, the quality of the leads you’re putting into your pipeline.  Then we’ll follow up with posts about #2 and #3.

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