The selling cycles in B2B are notoriously much longer than those in the typical B2C world.
However, anything your firm can do to shorten sales cycles provides significant benefits, including reduced costs, more wins, more customers, and increased revenue and profits.
There is always something more you can do to reduce your sales cycle and nurture more sales leads.
Know Thy Target
One of the leading causes of long sales cycles is reps contacting people who aren’t the ideal customer. In these cases, it is no wonder that you end up in long conversations that lead nowhere.
Have a clear, deep picture of your buyer persona before contacting prospects. The more qualified the buyer, the less time you have to invest to convince him or her to purchase.
Consistently Review Qualification Criteria and Processes
Closely related is the need to understand your qualifying criteria and your processes for qualifying leads.
As indicated in the Aberdeen Group study below, regular collaboration on lead qualification is an essential factor for best-in-class companies that operate with efficient selling cycles.
Define the Selling Process
You may prefer to maintain a spontaneous and flexible selling process that allows your reps to add personality. However, a lack of a defined selling process is a common reason for unpredictable and lengthy selling cycles.
By defining a basic structure and flow to your process, you ensure steps are completed quickly. Also, as reps execute over time in a predictable order, they get more comfortable with how the principal stages play out.
This defined process gives you better ability to identify bottlenecks and coach precisely to address root causes of delays.
Access to Relevant Sales Content
With strong insight into the ideal customer for your business, your team can then utilise useful and relevant content in communication. This factor was the second-most cited by best-in-class sales organisations in the Aberdeen Group study.
If marketing can build content that aligns with the buyer journey, speaks to the specific motives of targeted prospects and offers a pointed call-to-action, nurturing takes less time.
In fact, the majority of B2B buyers now go through most of the buyer journey online before contacting your business. By giving them access to the right messages in a timely manner, your reps have less work to do during nurturing.
Reps can throw a lot of words at a prospect in an effort to make a sale, but it is proof that moves the process more quickly. Have useful proof materials, such as product demonstrations, data, testimonials and case studies, ready to go. Present these in a way that reinforces your key message strategies and alleviates any buyer concerns.
These are some of the best strategies to help you guide a prospect more efficiently through the sales cycle. Pay close attention to the activities highlighted by best-in-class organisations, and leverage data that is available to you to pinpoint your audience and their desired content.