How to shorten the B2B sales cycle: 4 proven strategies
If you’re in B2B sales, you’re probably familiar with the frustration of deals that almost make it to finish line, then drag along forever. It sucks.
The sales rep invests time and effort into the deal without any timely payoff. Sales forecasts go out the window. Quotas stay out of reach. It’s bad news across the board.
So how do you avoid long sales cycles? You learn from the best.
Aberdeen’s recent research report, Best-in-Class Paths to Shorten the Sales Cycle, analyzes what best-in-class companies do differently to keep sales cycles short.
According to the report, lengthening sales cycles is the #1 thing keeping sales leaders up at night, followed by sellers who can’t differentiate from competitors and arbitrary, untrustworthy sales forecasts.
It doesn’t take much to connect the dots between these worries. When sales reps do a poor job of differentiating, the buyer isn’t likely to leap toward the purchase. Add in the terribly inefficient process of basing lead qualification and prioritization on arbitrary opinion instead of reliable data, and you have a recipe for long, unsuccessful sales cycles.
4 Proven Best-in-Class Strategies
Why are best-in-class companies 16% more efficient in their sales cycles? There are 4 main ways they differentiate from other companies:
1) Regular collaboration to define lead qualification
One of the main reasons deals don’t close within a reasonable time frame is because sales reps are focusing on the wrong opportunities. Effective opportunity prioritization starts as soon as the lead comes in—usually during marketing lead generation. Sales teams at best-in-class companies regularly collaborate with marketing to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the definition of qualified leads.
2) Always-on availability of relevant sales content
Fast response makes a big difference with buyers. Aberdeen research found that the majority of buyers need information within a day or less in order to make effective decisions. The value gained by sending personalized, targeted messages will be wasted if sales reps delay response until they track down content that is relevant and have time to personalize it for the buyer.
Best-in-class companies centralize sales resources in one easily accessible location. Beyond just pdfs and presentations, reps should have access to resources such as guided selling scripts and playbooks, workflows, automated tools, etc.
3) BDRs perform lead qualification and set appointments
Separate your closers and your qualifiers. Best-in-class companies are far more likely to use a business development rep to perform initial lead qualification and set appointments for good opportunities. This streamlines the process of cutting through bad leads, leaving your top performers with a short list of high quality opportunities.
4) Lead scoring
Speaking of lead qualification, the most effective and accurate way to score leads throughout each stage of the sales cycle is through automation. By using data from sales and buyer activity tracking to assign each opportunity a dynamic score, sales reps can tell with a single glance which opportunities are most engaged. Any lukewarm leads that made it through initial qualification can go on the backburner in favor of leads that are a perfect fit.
What would a 16% shorter sales cycle mean for your company?
It would mean faster close rates and more deals won. These 4 strategies are just one part of the picture. Schedule a demo today to see the full range of Accent Accelerate’s sales enablement capabilities, from automatic coaching recommendations to advanced data visualization.