Understanding the importance of agility in sales processes and correcting the main flaws of the sales team are the starting point to shorten the sales cycle.
Other tactics should prioritize the flow of communication and the transfer of feedback between the marketing and sales teams and lead nutrition appropriate to the consumer’s journey.
There are many variables that determine the length of a sales cycle – and many of them are not so predictable.
However, it is a fact that the less time it takes to close a sale, the greater the ROI of your business.
Therefore, many companies are looking for strategies to shorten the sales cycle.
What to do to ensure a faster buying decision without compromising the creation of a bond and a trusting relationship with your leads?
Unfortunately, there is no direct answer to that million dollar question. However, it is possible to develop strategies for this purpose.
Understanding consumer behavior and their need for prompt service, as well as reducing possible sales team failures is the first step.
Other tactics include integrating sales and marketing teams and anticipating consumer needs.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Continue with us and learn more about:
- The role of agility in sales processes
- Main mistakes made by sales teams
- 9 tactics on how to shorten the sales cycle
Table of Contents
The Role of Agility in Sales Processes
Despite being affected by different variables, in general, the path from prospecting to after-sales does not usually vary.
He usually goes through stages that include: initial contact, qualification, presentation, evaluation, and closing.
However, what certainly changes from company to company is the speed with which it moves from one stage to the next.
The agility in the response time increases the chances of conversion – in addition to bringing other advantages, such as those presented below.
Meets Customer Expectations
New technologies and wide access to information bring an immediate characteristic to new generations, especially Millennials.
Superconnected, for them everything is just a click away – and the more things that can be solved online and on mobile, the better.
Therefore, these expectations are also conveyed to the relationship of these people with the brands they consume.
To be in line with this consumption model, agility is an essential feature.
A stalled sales cycle means expenses that are not profitable. Agile responses increase the chances of conversion precisely because they are aligned with the expectations of customers, especially leads that have already shown some interest in the brand or product.
A Harvard Business Review survey evaluated the response times of more than 2,000 US companies.
The conclusion was that only 37% of them returned the contact in the first hour, 16% responded within 24 hours and a surprising 24% took more than one day to answer the lead.
We know that a positive experience from the first contact, as well as an attentive after-sale, help to increase the chances of loyalty. Agility also plays a role in this equation.
As processes are automated, the faster you serve a customer or take a lead’s doubts, the more chances you have of being grateful. As we explained, everything is just a click away.
It is necessary to respect the stages of the sales cycle, nurture the lead according to the funnel, but never forget that a sale can be easily lost simply because the competition responded first.
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Main Mistakes Made by Sales Teams
To continue, it is important to emphasize that being agile is different from being in a hurry.
The nutrition of the leads is crucial in this direction, ensuring an adequate pace more than the unbridled speed at any cost.
From strategic errors to the lack of organization of the teams, the sales cycle can already benefit from small adjustments in failures common to the sales teams. Check out some of them below.
Leads and customers constantly provide us with feedback. Even the lack of feedback – clicks, downloads, etc. – already communicates something about a particular strategy. The question is: are you able to interpret this data?
Of course, some metrics must be monitored by the marketing team, but other feedbacks are received and more easily processed by those on the front line of this contact, that is, the salespeople.
As we will see later, communication between marketing and sales teams can also be decisive for shortening a company’s sales cycle and success.
Do Not Dominate the Product
Perhaps the most serious failure of a salesperson is not knowing how to answer a question from a lead or customer.
If you do not know the product and are unable to spread the added value, how can you convince someone to buy it?
Taking into account the immediacy of consumers, it is important that the onboarding of employees is not restricted to the presentation of the team and the company’s culture.
A salesperson with extensive knowledge about the product even increases consumer confidence, which improves the relationship with the customer in general.
In short, before you can convince someone about a certain product, the seller must be able to convey that he really believes in it.
It is in the sales team that “wearing the company’s shirt” is more relevant and makes more difference.
Failure to Identify the Target Audience
Failing to identify the target audience is serious, as it compromises the entire sales cycle.
After all, it is from the knowledge about the target audience that you determine how and where (on which channels, for example) to focus your sales efforts.
Furthermore, knowing the public of interest is not always enough.
Depending on the business, in some cases, it is also necessary to work with the decision-maker.
This can bring further steps to the sales cycle, since it is necessary to gain the trust of intermediaries, but it can make a difference to guarantee the closing of a sale.
Even though technology brings the tendency to process automation, a common mistake throughout sales cycles is lack of personalization of contacts.
Perhaps due to the massive presence of technology in our daily lives, we increasingly prioritize humanized and personalized treatment.
Relatively simple attitudes, such as including the lead name in the title or in the body of an email, already guarantee a higher open rate.
An efficient CRM that integrates different service channels is also essential.
In addition to prioritizing personalization, this strategy is in line with the idea of agility, since it avoids the need for the customer to enter their data repeatedly on different platforms.
Do Not Monitor Results
A solid strategy must have well-defined sales metrics in line with business expectations – in addition, of course, to achieving achievable goals .
Analyzing more than the time of the sales cycle is essential to fully understand the performance of the sales team.
Among others, metrics that can be worked on include:
- average ticket;
- total number of leads;
- follow-up rate;
- customer acquisition cost (CAC);
- lifetime value (LTV);
- deals closed by salesperson;
- conversion rate;
- victory rate.
9 Tactics on How to Shorten the Sales Cycle
Check now 9 tactics that can shorten the sales cycle!
1. Align the Sales and Marketing Teams
It is very misleading who still thinks that the sales and marketing teams should act on opposite sides of the funnel.
On the contrary, joint and integrated action favors the qualification of leads.
In addition to ensuring that different professionals involved in the process know the value proposition of the product with which they work.
Having these professionals in the same physical space already facilitates alignment.
However, this may not be possible in times of pandemic and remote work. Still, the home office should not be a limitation on internal communication – and that should apply to all teams and sectors.
Other good practices include creating goals common to both teams and establishing a flow of information sharing about leads that allows for joint decision making.
2. Offer Content According to the Purchase Journey
One of the most common complaints among sales representatives is that they are unable to locate suitable content to send to leads, something reported by 65% of salespeople interviewed in a Kapost survey .
Unfortunately, what often happens is that this content even exists, but it is not easily found due to the little communication between marketing and sales.
There is little point in creating content relevant to the persona if he is not going to reach it. The sales team needs to know these materials as well as the marketing team.
It is necessary to join forces to maximize the deliveries of both teams – after all, they have always had a common goal, which is to close sales.
3. Build Trust in the Lead from an Early Age
Another important change in consumer behavior that deserves to be on the radar concerns influence.
Anyone who thinks that an Influence Marketing strategy needs to count on ambassadors with millions more followers and who cover more than five digits for that is wrong .
Each day, the influence is more linked to relevant and grounded content made by specialists . In addition, word of mouth marketing has not died – and here comes the importance of after-sales work.
Ask for testimonials and evaluations of the products sold. Showing real people (regardless of the number of followers of them) satisfied with your product is a way to gain the trust of the lead from an early age, which can speed up decision making and shorten the sales cycle.
4. Don’t Let Price be a Surprise Element
How many times have you abandoned an online shopping cart yourself when you reach the last step of payment and realize, just there in the mouth of the goal, a fee hitherto nonexistent?
The price cannot be a surprise element, and this is true even for shipping and handling fees.
This counts a lot for building trust and establishing a bond with your lead. Always keep in mind that the idea is to shorten the sales cycle without sacrificing the relationship with the customer. For that, transparency is essential.
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5. Develop a Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a methodology that proposes to rank leads to ensure that they are really qualified to the point of being passed on to the sales team.
The idea is that the team assign differentiated scores through certain actions, such as: visiting the price page, downloading an ebook, opening an email, watching video content and so on.
This technique allows a faster identification of who is ready for the next step in the nutrition flow, as well as what content is the most suitable to be offered.
In addition to determining who is most likely to engage with each content, the practice allows for a better distribution of efforts by both the marketing and sales teams.
6. Automate Repetitive Processes
A 2017 study by HubSpot showed that sales representatives spend only a third of their workloads actually selling.
What do they do the rest of the day and how to optimize the time of these professionals?
The answer lies in automation. It is possible to bet on two fronts: the acquisition of tools that really optimize the time and work of the commercial team, as in marketing automation, which promotes lead nutrition and the creation of more automatic campaigns.
Another possibility is the use of chatbots and live chats. This is a way to be where your customer is and answer your questions in real time .
7. Map Objections Before they Appear
Even better than responding to questions from leads and customers in real time, is to be able to anticipate possible objections – again,
this is another strategy that depends to a large extent on the after-sales commitment to survey possible feedbacks.
Before your customer asks for specific information about a particular product, halting the sales cycle until contact with the answer,
something as simple as creating a FAQ with frequently asked questions allows the purchase journey to go on without major interruptions.
In addition, this type of information can guide the production of content that answers specific questions and that can be offered at each stage of the funnel.
8. Contemplate Different Devices Throughout the Journey
There is a great chance that your cell phone is within reach of your hand at that moment or even already on it, being the screen through which you read this text.
Even so, many companies still neglect to create multi-screen strategies for their consumers .
By saying “strategy” we mean the purchase journey as a whole, that is, from the first contact to the closing of the sale.
Chatbot, email marketing and all the other techniques of Inbound Marketing – between the ones we quote and those we don’t quote in this text – need to work properly on different devices.
It is a little inconceivable to think that sales are no longer closed because a website is not mobile first or even mobile friendly , isn’t it?
9. Create Limited Offers
The search for strategies that help to shorten the sales cycle starts from the premise that time is money. If that maxim holds true for your business, it holds true for your client as well.
Offers with limited validity can be the last push in the decision making of a lead already well nourished.
It is possible to count on different tools that allude to time , with a calendar or even a stopwatch.
Another possibility here, for customers offering tests or a “freemium” package, is to reduce the time of the “free trial”.
Sales efficiency is a major goal for different businesses. However, the speed with which this sale is made also makes all the difference.
As you saw, it is possible to find solutions that value agility without disrespecting the consumer’s journey or neglecting lead nutrition.
Not by chance, our first tactic presented talks about the integration of the marketing and sales teams.
This “marriage” can be so fruitful that it has even gained a name and specific research on its effectiveness.