Sales cycle defined
The sales cycle is the amount of contact and time salespeople spend on moving a lead (not having knowledge of what you offer) to a prospect (having knowledge of your product) and finally to an actual buyer of your product or services.
During this time, a potential buyer is made to understand the expected outcome or satisfaction they can expect when they pop in for any of your offerings. These calls are targeted at keeping your product and services in their minds. Since the advent of the internet, the need to always be in front of customers has become more paramount than ever before.
Irrespective of the position of a buyer in the journey to purchase, strategic marketers have learnt to develop content targeted to individuals. And modern-day marketing tools and technology have fostered this, though they have created a number of other challenges. The biggest challenge for sales and marketing people is to find a way to shorten the sales process.
Why shorten your sales cycle?
A short sales cycle means you and your salespeople will focus on qualified leads, individuals, and businesses ready to buy. Understanding how to accelerate your sales process saves them a ton of time engaging with leads who are not ready to make a purchase.
Shorter sales cycle improves the morale of sales professionals because the buy-in time is reduced, thereby saving costs for the business.
How to shorten your sales cycle?
Understand your product or service thoroughly
Selling is fun, but the chances of getting frustrated are high if the prospect does not understand what has been sold to them.
Today, the selling focus has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Value should be communicated at every point of contact with the prospect. An extensive understanding of your salespeople about the product will help them communicate effectively. So train your sales representative very well.
Clearly understand your buyer (prospective client or customer).
Time is the most valuable asset. Your potential buyers are very busy, so also be your business representative. In addition to a detailed understanding of the products you sell, a detailed understanding of the buyer is vital to selling effectively and effortlessly.
Periodically and during onboarding, train your salespeople to understand your ideal customers or prospects. This eliminates the possibility of guessing and saves a lot of time selling to the wrong people repeatedly.
Clearly understand your buyer’s behavioral patterns
No two individuals are the same, even twice. But the behavioral buying patterns can be determined. It is essential to examine the behavior of your buyers to understand how to effectively engage them. Understanding how your buyers act will help you move conversations with clients forward and close deals.
Recommended article: Reasons Why Your Sales Team Keep Underperforming
Automate your sales process
Gone are the days of manually sending emails to leads and prospects. Personalized emails and calls can easily be done today. Before now, sales development representatives spent an average of 21% of their time writing emails and 17% of their time prospecting and researching leads.
Since the advent of sales automation tools, it has reduced the time sales reps spend on prospecting, engaging with prospects, emailing every prospect and following up. With sales automation tools, follow-up and calls can be made automatically to prospects, as these tools are usually integrated with your calendar and can schedule meetings between you and prospects based on your availability on your calendar.
Make your message crystal clear
Your message is the way your leads and prospects consume your content, and this determines if they will buy in or not. Humans have a short memory span in today’s marketing space, and they are bombarded with a lot of information. Getting the attention of your potential customer and keeping them engaged is a great challenge.
Making your content clear and unique will make you stand out from the crowd, position yourself as a thought leader and build trust in your personality or brand. Irrespective of whether it’s social media content or your email marketing, make sure to be detailed about your offering and pricing on most occasions.
To do marketing right today, you need omnipresence marketing, which means being everywhere or being seen all the time.
Your customers are busy on social media, one way or the other. With omnipresence marketing, they can consume your content while they have fun on social media platforms. It is important to make sure not to sound salesy on social media but rather appear as a human brand while you sell.
Focus on your most profitable channel (while you grow the others).
Omnipresence marketing helps to foster contact with a buyer throughout their buying journey. To ensure the goal of the marketing effort is not lost, caution must be applied.
Rather than focusing on metrics that don’t bring money to your business, social media posts likes, followings, and connections. Focus on selling and pay more attention to social media platforms where you sell more. Selling is more important to you than sympathetic engagement.
Prepare for every client meeting.
As stated earlier, no two individuals are the same. Some clients might need more persuasive discussion before they make their decision. Plan before each meeting how best to engage a prospect, also leaving room for tacky change if need be (buying is not linear and so is selling). This is not the time to make a long speech about your brand, but rather focus on your client and their problem.
Ask yourself questions to help you understand where your client is in their buyer journey and whether your offering might be of most help to them.
What are the clients’ challenges?
Why do they need to solve this problem?
Why is the solution you offer the best?
Prepare questions for your prospects to ask as well, to help them reason and picture the satisfaction that comes from the solution you offer.
Persuasive questioning is the most effective strategy to engage buyers with.
Identify and tackle objections
Objection is the major constraint in deal closing, though very helpful. An objection shows an atom of consideration of your product and might not be a deficiency in your selling skills. Your ability to deal with the objection is determined by your skills and strength. Keep on guard against your tendency to appear on the defensive.
Early identification of objections might mean more deals closing for you and your business. Objection can be spoken and unspoken. It can also be discovered by the body language of the client. The sense-making sales methodology can help skilled sales professionals more than others.
Recommended article: How To Handle Objections In Sales
Always be convincing and closing
Aside from identifying objections, applying sense-making methodology can help salespeople advance and close deals. Rather than just answering clients’ questions and addressing their objections, helping them make sense of the discussion is the easiest way to close deals. It is on you to own the meeting and advance the meeting.
Let your previous clients speak for you.
Word of mouth is the oldest marketing strategy, still very effective today. 75% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions (Ogilvy/Google/TNS). So, beyond making a customer call back. Ensuring they get the best services will help you make them more than just your loyal customers, but your marketers.
Keep your pipeline clear of unqualified leads.
Always review your pipeline and remove any unqualified leads. Spending time calling an individual who is not ready to buy is a complete waste of time.
⦁ Always be driving value with your messaging.
⦁ Be consistent
Most people buy after the fifth contact with a sales person (Hubspot). Using an omnipresence marketing strategy can aid in being consistent. However, the onus is on salespeople to closely follow-up leads throughout their buyer journey.
Set the tone for the next meeting.
Don’t end a meeting with a client without skillfully stating what was discussed, any questions or issues that need to be addressed (if any), and clearly stating expectations and timing for the next visit.