The sales cycle is the time it takes to complete a sale with a customer.
There are many things that impact the length of the sales cycle: the customer’s mindset, pricing, the types of goods and services that are being offered and contract terms to name a few.
However, even within the parameters of a general sales cycle, organizations may find that their sales cycles are longer than they should be. Shortening the sales cycle results in higher turnaround for customers and the ability to increase overall sales during the year.
Here are some tips for shortening your sales cycle.
1. Qualify (and Disqualify) Leads
Having a defined lead evaluation process in place can drastically reduce the length of your sales cycle. Both the sales and marketing departments need to be able to qualify, and in many case disqualify leads so that they are able to use their time and efforts working the leads that have the best chance of closing.
Having criterion in place to evaluate all incoming leads will free up time, resources and personnel that might have previously been used on unqualified leads.
2. Get to the Decision Maker
One problem many organizations run into when selling their products and services is that they spend too much time talking to the wrong people within the prospective buyer's organization.
For example, XYZ Company, a SAAS company, may be approached by an IT manager who wants the latest version of XYZ Company’s software for his company. The problem is that the IT manager is not authorized to make purchase decisions of this level. After selling the software to the IT manager, it then has to then be sold to the CTO before the deal can actually be closed.
By focusing on talking to the right people in the organization--the decision-makers--from the beginning, the "middle man" can be eliminated, which will shorten the sales cycle.
3. Have (and Use) a Defined Sales Process
Like every other aspect of business, there should be a method and process to the sales process. The sales process begins with prospecting and qualifying leads, educating those leads and closing deals.
Each step of the sales process should have specific tasks associated with it that should be completed, with a time frame for each step. This is especially important for complex sales. For example, once a lead is sales qualified, an exploratory call should be scheduled with a sales rep. If it seems like there is a fit after the exploratory call, there should be a goal setting call, etc...
Following the sales process through each step will prevent the sales cycle from being slowed down or dragged on indefinitely.
Start the new year off right by setting SMART goals for your sales team. Download our free template now.