For businesses engaging in the typical seven-step sales cycle, it’s clear that accelerating the process yields increased profits. What isn’t clear is how businesses are able to efficiently expedite the sales strategy without neglecting the finer points. Prospecting, lead contacting, lead qualifying, nurturing the lead, presenting an offer, responding to objections, and closing a sale are all integral to the sales cycle. Ignoring any of these steps in hopes of generating more profits can, in fact, do the opposite. However, there are still ways to speed up the process.
The best way for businesses to approach the situation is to assess the effectiveness of the current sales cycle, focusing on the bottlenecks that slow progress. Whether it be a discussion between sales representatives and potential leads, or lack thereof, determining what creates these barriers is of utmost importance to accelerating your productivity. Additionally, setting standards, goals, or using OKRs related to outreach could help combat some inefficiencies such as delays in communication with leads, the performance of sales representatives, and a lack of new prospects.
After considering some of the inefficiencies in the earlier stages of the sales cycle, businesses should determine who qualifies as a prospect and how to communicate with them. A great place to start is with a company checklist that describes effective methods for corresponding with potential customers. For example, what should the process be if a sales representative doesn’t receive a response from a prospect? Should that representative move on, or should he or she be persistent and maintain the line of communication, whether through e-mail or voicemail?
Another way to increase efficiency in the sales cycle is to streamline the qualification process. Consider evaluating prospects based on a system of targeted characteristics. This could allow for a more strategic approach to increasing the sales pipeline flow. If you’re running a pharmaceutical company, say, then your sales representative should have the appropriate pharmaceutical sales training. Only then will they be able to navigate their prospects appropriately and improve their sales strategy.
Yet another means of acceleration could come from automating the offers sent to prospects. Businesses that provide a variety of product and service packages at different price points might unwittingly create unnecessary errors when presenting an offer to a customer. Through CPQ (Configure Price Quote) software, businesses can simplify this process, gaining a competitive advantage for B2B companies that produce unique goods for each of their clients.
Handling objections to offers can also be expedited through the collection and analysis of common issues. For example, if multiple customers have drafted counteroffers for a particular service, an effective business should consider their objections in future negotiations. Rather than catering specifically to a particular prospect, a smart sales team should be prepared to return to the customer with a response that has been established through previous arrangements.
The infographic, How to Accelerate Your Sales Cycle, is also a useful resource for businesses attempting to tackle sales cycle inefficiencies. It details the typical process and some improvements that can be made. We hope sales managers are able to take positive action after checking out this resource.
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.