5 Ways to Shorten the Sales Cycle with Customers
How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle
If you know anything about sales, you know it’s a fast-paced, high-energy field. It takes a unique combination of hard work, an outgoing personality, and sharp interpersonal wits to thrive in sales. If you work for or manage a sales team, you know that time is money. If a sale takes too long to close, you can miss out on other opportunities and lose potential revenue. If you’re like us, you’re always working to refine your sales cycle, making it more efficient and effective.
An ever-present goal of sales departments is to shorten the sales cycle. With a shorter sales cycle, you close deals more quickly, and you have more time for existing and potential new clients! Below are some tips and tricks for how to shorten your sales cycle!
What is a Sales Cycle?
The sales cycle refers to the process a salesperson goes through to close a deal. The sales cycle begins with prospecting for customers and ends with a customer either accepting or declining a sales offer. A typical sales cycle might look like this:
- Find Potential Prospects. To begin the cycle, a salesperson needs to identify leads who could potentially benefit from the specific product they sell.
- Make Contact with Potential Customers. This stage is the initial touch a salesperson has with a customer. You need to assess where the customer is within the buying journey and what kind of business or customer it is. This will inform both how you contact them and what information you choose to present to them.
- Qualify the Lead. You’ll learn how good of a fit you are with the potential customer in your first meeting or phone call with them. At this point, you’ll learn how your company can specifically serve the customer. Sometimes though, you’ll learn that you’re not a good fit with the lead, and you can avoid wasting time and resources by ending the cycle here.
- Present Your Product or Service. Now is the time to give your pitch, which is usually formulated by your company to highlight your company’s unique aspects and important information for the sale. This pitch is typically given to the key stakeholders of your prospect company who will ultimately be deciding whether to accept your offer.
- Address and Answer Objections. Your prospect will likelyhave questions and concerns about whether your product will work for them or their company. You’ll address and answer their objections, whether they’re questioning prices, your competitors, the specifics of your product, or any other issues.
- Close the Sale. After assessing the customer and adapting your approach to their needs and disposition. If the prospect seems excited and eager about your product, you can close the sale with a more direct offer, but if they’re hesitant, you may need a softer approach.
- Foster Referrals. If you’ve just closed a sale with an excited customer, it’s a good time to source more potential customers from them. Ask if there’s anyone they know who could also benefit from your services and products.
Now, that’s a lot of steps. This is a great model, and it’s widely used and trusted in the sales field. Each step is necessary when closing deals with a new customer, and in reality, none of them can be skipped. Not to worry, though: we’ve put together a list of ways to shorten the sales cycle that can help you get the best use of your time and resources!
5 Ways to Shorten the Sales Cycle
1. Understand the Customer. Assess early on where your customer is on the buyer’s journey. Are they ready to pull the trigger on a purchase and likely to move quickly? Are they early on in the process and likely to need more information and time? By assessing their point of view, you can tailor your sales materials and pitching strategy to their exact needs. This will save time and build the customer’s confidence in the fact that you’re a good fit.
Not only do you need this high-level understanding of the customer’s position within the buyer’s journey, but you need to understand them on a deeper level. Do your research on their company. Specifically, understand their pain points, their goals, their purchasing habits, and their responsibilities.
2. Prepare for Objections. Do your research on potential objections ahead of time (specifically potential objections that your lead would likely bring up). This goes hand-in-hand with understanding the customer. With a good handle on their needs, you’ll be able to anticipate the reasons they might hesitate within a sales cycle. If you prepare yourself to answer their objections, you’ll find multiple benefits.
First, you’ll gain the customer’s trust. They’ll feel more confident in you and your company if you can ease their worries when it comes to your product. If you don’t know how to answer their objections, they’ll lose confidence in you. Second, you’ll save time. If you have to take time to think about, research, or consult with your company about their objections, you’ll lose valuable time.
3. Make Good Use of Marketing Content. Back up your sales pitch with reliable resources so your potential customer knows that you’re not pulling information out of thin air. Send links to articles from reputable sources, offer hard copies of books or packets, recommend podcasts and TedTalks—any materials you have that give helpful, trustworthy information on your product or service and why it’s a smart idea for them to partner with you. There are countless resources on any product or service your business offers, backed by expert research. Tap into those resources!
Additionally, you more than likely have a wealth of internal resources to draw from. Be prepared by collecting buyer’s guides, product or service information, how-to’s, and case studies from your company. If your company has a deep resources page like ours, share that with them! Blogs and articles from the writers on your team who have already put in the research and compiled helpful information are great to pass on to customers—they can show that you and your company really know your stuff!
4. Show How Your Values Align Right Off the Bat. Now more than ever, companies are placing increasing importance on corporate responsibility. Show potential customers right away that you value the same things they do. Make your sustainability and inclusion efforts evident so your company’s heart shows through.
Potential clients can discern a salesperson’s character and intentions pretty early on. If you show how your values align with theirs, it’ll build trust earlier on in the process, which can cut down on time for deliberation and hesitation. Prove that your company is on the same page as theirs. It’ll build a stronger relationship all around!
5. Build Relationships Through Gifting. When you build relationships with potential clients, it’s easier for them to say “yes” to a sales offer. A good way to build trust quickly is to gift your potential clients early on in the process. Show that you appreciate their time and potential business with custom gifts from your company. Gifts show you care and are willing to put effort into the partnership, regardless of their cost or size.
Additionally, giving appreciation gifts to customers after a sale has been closed shows that you care about them beyond selling them something. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll refer their contacts with you because you’ve left a good impression of your company. Read this gifting guide to get ideas for potential customers and existing client gifts!
We hope you’ve gathered a few new ways to shorten the sales cycle with customers. At Merchology, we highly value customer relationships, and we’re always here to give you new ideas to make your sales cycle as meaningful and efficient as possible!
Want to learn more about how gifting can shorten the sales cycle? Contact us at Merchology! Our Merchologists are here to guide you towards the right customer appreciation gifts that will build customer loyalty and shorten the sales cycle. Reach out today!