Speeding up sales cycles is the goal of every business. When leads spend less time in your sales funnel, it results in more ROI. Plus, it prevents spending on marketing and other sales efforts, costing more than what the sale itself is worth.
However, there are plenty of challenges in speeding up sales cycles. The trickiest one is doing it without overselling and compromising the relationships you already have with your customers. In this post, you’ll learn some actionable tips to help speed up your sales cycle.
1. Determine your average sales cycle
The sales cycle length refers to the amount of time it takes from your first contact with a customer to the sale. Determining your average sales cycle gives you a benchmark to gauge how the steps you take to improve it are working.
Take note that you don’t need to compare your average sales cycle with the competitors’. This should only be a guiding point for all the marketing strategies you will implement.
2. Identify bottlenecks
Look closer into your sales cycle and see how long it takes for a lead to move from one sales cycle stage to another. This will help you identify bottlenecks to address. For example, you might find that the leads you’re communicating with take too long to take a meeting. This could mean they’re unqualified, or they lack preliminary information to commit to a presentation. Instances like this are where a discovery call checklist could also help.
You can even look at the web pages they’re spending time on and other channels they interact with. This would give you a better idea of what type of information your leads are looking for. Analysing your sales cycle stages allows you to identify areas of improvement and opportunities to guide leads further down the funnel.
3. Spot high-performing channels
Aside from identifying areas of improvement and opportunity, analysing your sales cycle stages will let you see which channels perform better than the others. Amplify the effort and resources toward sales channels with a steady flow of qualified leads. Conversely, if you see sales channels aren’t delivering leads that convert, you should eliminate them or reduce their allocated resources.
For example, you might find that LinkedIn marketing is outperforming Facebook advertising. You can then channel resources for Facebook ads to content marketing you can post on LinkedIn. Analysing your sales channels will enable you to spend more time on where your leads are and provide them with more relevant content.
4. Score leads
Ranking your leads helps filter which ones should go through specific sales cycle stages. This prevents unqualified leads from going through critical steps like presentations. When you categorise leads into groups, it makes it easier to tailor approaches.
A lead scoring strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, either. For example, leads that have previously been with a competitor earn 10 points, while those with annual revenue under USD$500,000 gets a score of 3. You can add other relevant categories to your scoring strategy based on the qualities of your ideal customer.
This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the way. And coupled with your analytics, it could illuminate which leads deserve more attention.
5. Use live chat
Moving on to more specific strategies, notice how brick-and-mortar stores usually have shorter sales cycles. This is because there are always sales reps present to provide all the information customers need.
You can incorporate this by having a live chat feature on your website. Providing a live chat feature encourages visitors to ask questions and raise concerns they might have instead of just walking away from the site. Chatbots can also help guide visitors toward the information they need.
Remember, visitors are on your website to gather information. Make sure you help them get it every way you can.
6. Leverage social proof
Sometimes, all a lead on the verge of converting needs is seeing satisfied customers. This is where social proofs like testimonials and reviews are extremely helpful, as they allow your customers to sell your products for you. As such, place your social proof in places where leads are most likely close to converting, such as product pages.
You can make social proof part of your content strategy too. For example, you can publish video testimonials of satisfied customers on your social channels. Additionally, you can include reviews in your email marketing under relevant content.
Remember that reviews and testimonials don’t always have to be positive. For example, allowing customers to post honest reviews on product pages and social channels where engagement is encouraged can make your business even more trustworthy. This strategy works particularly well if you address negative reviews, showing you value your customers’ feedback.
7. Be detailed with your product pages
You want your sales channels to be as informative as possible. Visitors have already gone to the trouble of finding your product page; make sure everything they need is right there. Your product descriptions should include the following:
• What your products do and how it does it
• What makes it different from competitors (features and other unique value propositions)
• Payment plans and methods
• Shipping and other fees
A good exercise is to place yourself in the customer’s place. What would you need to know to come to a purchase decision? The answers you come up with should be on your product pages.
8. Create a FAQ page
If you come up with other concerns you think potential customers might have, compile them in a FAQ page. You can use customer data to identify common problems and questions to fill the FAQ page. This could include things like what happens when customers cancel a subscription and other relevant issues experienced by your target market.
9. Personalize your campaigns
When you’ve already done the work to score leads and identify highly qualified ones, it’s best to use that information to personalize your campaigns. When you tailor your marketing to your leads’ specific needs and pain points, it resonates more with potential customers.
Personalised marketing also includes techniques like behavioural targeting and follow-up campaigns specific to sales channels leads have engaged with. For example, if they clicked a link in one of your emails, that’s where you focus your follow-up efforts.
You can improve your sales cycle length by implementing other simple, albeit effective strategies. Just remember to conduct relevant analysis before you employ them. This ensures your decisions are informed, giving you the best chance to speed up your sales cycle and convert leads.