Here’s the fourth and final post in our “shorten your sales cycle” series. In the first article we provided a general intro to the problem of growing sales cycles and identified three things you can do to solve the problem. Step one is to improve your lead quality. Step two is to improve your sales execution.
Now we’ve reached step three. You’ve done a great job of pre-qualifying your leads. Sales and marketing are working together to execute an efficient sales process, guiding your prospects with the right information and materials at the right time.
If your sales cycles are still growing, it’s time to take a step back and look at the big picture. You might have a great campaign generating highly qualified leads for terrific sales reps, but if your product, value and price aren’t properly aligned, you’ll negotiate endlessly or lose deals to competitors.
Prospects rarely tell you the real reason they don’t buy. They may say “we decided to go with another company” or “we’ve decided to wait until next fiscal year” or “we’ve tabled this issue for now.” But there’s a deeper underlying reason they chose another company or decided not to move forward.
They don’t see enough value in what you’re offering.
How can you find the real reason prospects are taking so long or failing to convert? Ask!
Have a neutral person call and talk with your prospects. Or take a more formal approach with a robust survey. Either way, you should get to the bottom of the issue so you can resolve it. After all, if you’re having trouble closing deals, there are storm clouds over your entire business strategy.
Whether you use a trained interviewer, a research firm and/or a survey, consider approaching prospects who didn’t buy and those who did buy but after a prolonged period. Here are some key questions to ask.
Through this research, you’re addressing the real reasons that prospects don’t buy: your value proposition, brand and pricing. And these strategic issues drive your entire business forward or lead you to tough times.
The good news: By measuring the length of your sales cycle, you can identify and resolve these issues more quickly and effectively than you could otherwise.
Your sales process is something that all of your sales, marketing and management teams should care about and improve on a continual basis. It’s an essential element in your strategic marketing process and a great example of how all of your strategies and tactics tie together to drive your success!
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