Like all salespeople, we'd like to sign our deals in under 30 days and move on to the next one as quickly as possible. But in reality, we often end up with deals that drag on for months...
So the million-dollar question is: how do you shorten your sales cycle?
It's super important to keep the momentum going and move a prospect quickly into the pipe. There are plenty of tips, tricks and methods to help you do just that.
In this article, I share 5 actions (and one bonus!) you can take to shorten your B2B sales cycle.
It's Sales 101: right from the start of the deal, you need to identify who the decision-makers are. Those who have the power to say "yes" are in your sights.
Findthe champions too: those who believe in your solution and want to push it within their company.
Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between a champion and a decision-maker. Sometimes, the person you're talking to presents himself as a decision-maker, but you discover that the person actually signing is an N+1 or the CFO.
To identify your champions and end decision-makers, find out about the latest tools or solutions acquired by the company, and ask this simple question: "Who was involved in implementing X?"
Identifying them right from the start enables you to involve the right people in the decision-making process from the outset.
Because internal decision-makers need to be aligned in order to make decisions. Bringing them together on the first call (or the second, at the very least) allows you to give them all the same information and, above all, to get a rapid response.
My advice: make an upstream call with a champion and be super-relevant. Give him the information he needs to influence the decision-maker and get him to make a quick decision.
When you're trying to sell a solution, you're up against a formidable enemy! Before us, our customers did things differently. All our prospects have worked without our tools.
So yes, our solution is a real plus for our prospect's business. When we present our solution, we personalize our information and show them why it will change their lives.
But beyond that, you have to show them why they should implement it as soon as possible. You have to be convincing, give an excellent demo, but above all (and this is the fundamental point): highlight the impact on their business.
How much does waiting cost? Let your prospect measure the impact of waiting to implement your solution. That's the time, money (or any relevant metric) he's sitting on, while he waits to decide.
You've been selling your solution for some time. You know that the same panel of generic objections comes up all the time: "it's not the priority", "we're not sure the teams will buy in", "we don't know if it's relevant", etc.
Anticipate them! Since you already know the most common objections, save time and don't wait for your prospect to raise them in a follow-up meeting.
Take the lead and reassure him. You know what you're talking about and you can convince him to continue with you. Take the opportunity to dig deeper into the subject: one objection often hides another. Identify deep-seated problems.
To do this, get into the habit of asking "why". It's a simple question that can get you real information!
The advantage of dealing with objections early is that the prospect doesn't leave the meeting or demo with objections that could have been avoided. He's likely to take a long time to reply.
Meanwhile, the deal is stuck in the pipe because you failed to anticipate.
Dealing with objections at an early stage means you can remove obstacles quickly and achieve shorter lead times between meetings. And if the no go is too strong, at least you've saved time, rather than chasing a deal that won't materialize.
Your prospect is like everyone else: to be effective, he needs to know clearly what's expected of him. Your job is to guide them through the sales cycle. Our customers want a clear buying experience.
With each call, define a clear objective that leads to another objective. The prospect knows the steps, and isn't drowned in a fuzzy process where he could get lost (and the sale fail).
It's super important to be a little directive: don't hesitate to challenge your prospect to move in the direction you want. Even if it's difficult, it's in everyone's interest!
To shorten the sales cycle, be very clear about what you expect from your contact at each stage. Find reasons to bring intensity to the deal (see bonus tips!): draw up a clear back-plan and anticipate any potential blockers.
For example: the stakeholders are convinced, but they need to discuss things internally. Since you know this, take the initiative: send them an e-mail summarizing what you've said, then suggest that they debrief internally and come back to you next week.
You've set the next step and made it clear what you want from them. From their point of view, it's easier and quicker to set up.
Don't forget that the quality of the sales cycle is just as important as the product itself! We need to create a fluid experience and show that we're well prepared: we know their breads, their issues and we're able to give relevant flagships.
Social proof is a powerful lever, and we won't go over it again.
Mobilize it to reassure your prospects by telling them about their peers. Show them that other professionals in their ecosystem have adopted your solution and what it has done for them.
Highlight testimonials from satisfied customers or case studies. Basically, show that your solution works, that users are delighted and that they've made gains in terms of time, money, brand awareness, etc.
If you don't yet have social proof, or it's not relevant enough, push marketing content. They should reinforce your interlocutors' confidence and answer some of their objections.
This marketing content can come from your teams, or from a source of information valued by your prospect (which often inspires more trust than in-house information).
It's the combination of feedback and relevant content that will help you shorten your sales cycle.
If you've followed us this far, we'd like to offer you a bonus tip.
Excellent salespeople know: to move a sale forward quickly, you have to stay on top of your game. Our advice is to occupy space as best you can.
Multiply your points of contact, but in a relevant way. Be careful not to harass your prospects, but to take precise action to move the deal forward.
Add value, find a way to share your expertise. The same goes for each of your meetings: prepare them in advance to show that you've mastered your subject.
To find out more about how to bring intensity to your sales, read our article.
In short, there are plenty of tips, advice and methods for shortening your sales cycle. You can focus on personalizing the sales cycle, but also be perfectly transparent about princing to avoid surprises.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that it's the accumulation of all these good practices that makes it possible to succeed in shortening the sales cycle. A good method, like the MEDDIC method, enables us to organize these good practices and transform them into a truly powerful tool. The right method enables us to know where we are in the deal and the precise steps to follow, and ultimately to perform better.