The sales profession experienced a major shift since 2020, and many in the industry are scrambling to adjust to these changes. In addition to increased virtual selling, availability of digital tools and growing preference for soft skills, another aspect of selling has emerged: the need to shorten the sales cycle. Why? Your buyers are more educated than ever before.
“Traditional B2B sales cycles are long and ineffective in today's business environment,” writes Brian Cristiano for boldceo.com. “Today, customers are more informed about products…This makes long sales cycles ineffective since the internet generate qualified leads that may refer to shorter B2B sales cycles.”
SalesFuel’s own research supports this, finding that many buyers research vendors’ experience, ratings/reviews and websites. Approximately 30% have conducted internet research on various suppliers/vendor options. Nearly 20% even say they are ready to purchase by the time they reach out to a vendor.
Shorten sales cycles to align with today’s sales environment
Cristiano shares 11 ways that salespeople can adjust their cycle to modern sales. These techniques aren’t difficult to master and can help salespeople clean up their process to make it more efficient. Both reps, and clients, will reap the benefits. Here are just a few highlights.
Clarify your ideal client.
While you likely have ideal clients in mind, when was the last time you updated their profile? A lot has changed in the past couple of years, and the type of prospect you are targeting may have shifted. Additionally, how they prefer to be contacted, their pain points and other aspects likely have evolved as well.
By clarifying your ideal client, you’ll shorten the sales cycle because you won’t be wasting time chasing after and trying to qualify leads who aren’t a good fit. Plus, you’ll know exactly when and how they want to be contacted, their challenges and what solutions would appeal to them most. This will also help you stand out from most of your competitors, as fewer than 25% of salespeople say they research the tendencies of their ideal customers, according to SalesFuel’s study.
Prepare to meet leads.
How well do you prepare prior to first contact with a lead? Did you know that less than half of salespeople even look at a prospect’s website as part of their preparation? Even fewer conduct a Google search or check out a prospect’s industry or social media.
Salespeople have so many free resources at their fingertips; they just need to dedicate the time to comb through it. And research doesn’t have to be exhaustive, just effective. For tips, check out these past articles. Also, download the free e‑book by SalesFuel’s C. Lee Smith. These resources will help you be prepared for that first meeting.
Align your process with their journey.
By recognizing and adapting your process to each buyer’s journey, you can effectively shorten the sales cycle. “Reps can expect higher quality engagement from their prospects and faster deal cycles,” explains Sales Hacker’s Colin Campbell. “By providing customers with a better prospecting experience, reps can build trust with their knowledge and insights.”
Not sure how to approach this technique? SalesFuel shared some advice for mapping a buyer’s journey, including the following suggestions:
- Take an actual walk, as your customer would, when doing business with your company. Remove points of friction.
- Create discovery questions to meet your customer specifically where they are in their journey.
- Know what content your customer sees when making inquiries of your business at all stages along the route. Align the content to support their journey. Consider all departments interacting with buyers.
The more techniques you implement, the more effectively you can shorten the sales cycle, which benefits both you and your prospects. A shorter sales cycle trims away wasted time, saves money, cuts down uncertainty, and boosts your credibility. Plus, short cycles better align with what today’s buyers want. For more tips on sales cycle optimization, check out some of our past articles.
Photo by Anna Shvets
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