The sales cycle is made up of several phases. The time it takes to complete the sales cycle can vary widely. Long sales cycles can take several touch points, and may span several weeks or months.
When I was running demand generation for large software companies, it took me around 84 days just to convert a lead to an opportunity. It took an average of 18 days to convert the lead into a deal.
Harvard University discovered that at least 25% B2B sales cycles take at most 7 months to complete.
SiriusDecisions found that the average cycle has increased by 22% in the past five years due to the complexity of digital marketing and the involvement of more decision-makers.
You can accelerate sales and close deals faster by keeping your leads engaged and moving.
These are some easy tips to help you accelerate your sales cycle.
All it takes is a lead. How you manage them early on matters. Automate your lead nurturing process before you force them into the sales funnel.
You should focus on your potential clients and their buying processes. Then, determine which marketing channels to use to reach them. Next, make sure your content is relevant to their interests.
Build a relationship with clients long after the close. This will help you to build brand advocates who will bring more prospects to your door.
1. Nurture Your Leads
Begin by segmenting your contacts into lists for casual browsers and those who might not buy soon. These are leads that need to be nurtured before they can be passed on to sales. Your sales team can use lead nurturing to identify qualified prospects who are ready to buy. This will help you build a more efficient sales pipeline.
Slowing down the process by clogging your pipeline with unqualified leads can slow down your business. This is due to 61% of B2B marketers (according Salesforce data) sending all leads directly into sales without determining if they should still be nurtured.
2. Automate where possible
Automating certain processes in the pipeline can help in lead scoring and ensure that leads are promptly attended to. Determine which tasks are systematic/repetitive and start automating those, since reducing the hours needed to complete these tasks means your team can spend more time working on high-value leads.
You can automate two tasks: follow-ups, and lead qualification. These are essential in sales, but can also be tedious. Following up with clients makes them feel valued, but it can be difficult to keep track of all the details in modern life. You can draft follow-ups ahead of time and then send them through your CRM.
Qualifying sales-ready leads and handing them over to the sales team is another big challenge that automation can address. This flaw can be addressed by automation to make the qualification process faster, more scalable, and easier.
3. Payed Search to the Top of the Funnel
Your prospects will spend more time researching and taking the time to sell.
Paid search ensures that your company is at the top of their SERPs. This allows you to increase traffic and brand awareness.
Begin by researching keywords. Be sure to use keywords people searching for your products and services would use.
To nurture these leads, you can create landing pages with educational content. You should also have great CTAs on landing pages, but not too aggressive as they may not be ready for that purchase decision.
Advertisements that explain why customers should choose your company over others can be created.
4. Deal with real buyers
In this instance, real buyers are the decision-makers. Often, long sales cycles can be slowed down by not communicating with them directly.
You can talk to executives and work with them. Start by building trust with mid-level clients until you are able to persuade them to set up a meeting with their decision maker.
5. Understanding the Decision-Making Process
Ask your prospects about their timeframe. Find out what your prospects want before you make a decision. Also, find out who is involved in that decision. You'll be ready for success if you know their criteria and learn what they want about the business.
The answers you receive will help you to get an idea of the results of their assessment. This will allow you to develop a lead management strategy tailored for your target audience.
6. Align content and reward with the sales cycle
There is a natural progression in the marketing funnel and leads must move through each stage. You must ensure that they have all the information necessary to complete the buying journey.
First, establish brand credibility and brand awareness. Then, work on presenting your offerings to prospects once they have enough information. You should let them know how they can move you further in the funnel with every piece of content that you provide.
Promo materials can include content that demonstrates thought leadership. Your products and services can be used to balance educational content. Once they are convinced and have passed the information on to sales, then they will be closer to making that purchase decision.
7. Personalize everything
Most people are able to recognize and ignore obvious marketing tactics. This makes it difficult for businesses to retain their customers' attention during the initial stages. This can be fixed by getting to know the customer better and personalizing the interaction.
Gaining their trust requires more detailed information about customers. You must offer something in return. These are just a few other ways you can personalize your marketing efforts.
- A remarketing strategy should be tailored to customer actions and behaviors.
- Your brand should have a face that represents your company.
- Your messaging should reflect your company's image. Use relatable language
8. Concentrate on high-performing channels
Not having more channels to market your products or services is a good idea, especially if you want to reduce the time it takes to sell. Find the best channels and decide what you should be focusing on. To ensure maximum returns, you must continue to create systems that allow for these channels to be the focus. Email marketing boasts a 4,200% return on investment and content marketing continues to grow in popularity each year.
It is important to track your channels regularly as their performance can change over time. As you optimize your campaign, don't be afraid of trying new channels.
9. Use an Incremental Close
You can make the buyer feel invested in you by making small promises to get them to say “yes.” This will build trust and mutual benefit.
You should determine the questions you will ask at the end of each interaction to ensure that both you as well as the prospect benefit. As you nurture leads and close sales, each commitment should grow in importance and size.
10. Use Social Proof to Your Advantage
When trying to influence prospects, your current customers can be the best brand ambassadors. You can leverage testimonials and peer opinions to win the trust of prospects, which will result in a shorter sales cycle. Here are some tips:
- Ask for a personal introduction by a mutual contact.
- As evidence of your product's impact on customers' ROI, send them case studies.
- Invite customers to an event, where they can meet your current customers. Customers will eventually speak up.
- Find organizations that are dealing with similar challenges to your prospects so they can relate.
Bonus: Make sure you are aware of the Demand Funnel “Cocktail”.
Focus asked me to be part of an exciting project, the first edition of “Book of Funnels”. It was a challenge: combine all your thoughts about the marketing and sales funnels into one page. Then, use a picture to tell the story.
This project was great fun, I must admit. I was at the time leading an online demand generation program. At that time, I had some thoughts about the state and potential future of the marketing and sales funnel. Focus' Craig Rosenberg agrees that every organization should have a single page to show its revenue funnel. It is the foundation of your sales and marketing strategies.
The leaders of our organization had a lot of discussion about the funnel shape and how to improve the velocity of demand activities. We moved from a wine-glass-shaped funnel to one that is more like a champagne flute, or shot glass.
It is tempting to use the drinking metaphor. I thank all those who have done this before for their inspiration. In my submission, I attempted to convey a few key points.
- It is a myth to divide a sales and marketing funnel. Marketing people sell stuff, while sales people market it. The funnel can be used to measure the pace at which we capture and manage demand.
- There is no funnel for our customers. We should focus our efforts on customer needs.
- There is no beginning or end. It is important to maintain a high level of activity on the market. This allows us to engage prospects earlier in the buying cycle and continue engaging them even after they have purchased from us.
- A higher level of engagement and activity will result in more efficient demand management. This is because customers are better served by having a salesperson who is available to help them. Customers will let us know when they are ready for a sales representative. Most B2B buyers expect to talk to a salesperson during their buying journey.
- Engaging with customers on their terms when they begin the buying process, and throughout their relationship, will create a smaller and higher demand funnel. Increased conversions. Marketing spend is more efficient. Customer lifetime value increases.
There are many examples of funnels in this book, and they are all great. Some people think the funnel is outdated. One of my favorite examples is Barbra Gago’s “hourglass”, which suggests that we work with the community to help customers evangelists. Adam Needles' “Buyers 2.0”, which shows that buyers choose their own path, and Steve Woods comments on analyzing the impact of marketing on revenue and valuation of leads, are also my favorites. Whatever funnel speaks to you, I hope you found something that will inspire you and give you some guidance on how to evaluate your marketing efforts.
A defined sales process is essential to accelerate the sales pipeline. This includes understanding your prospects' needs and interests, as well as determining which leads you should nurture and which to add to the pipeline.
Automating steps of the buying process can help you move through the sales cycle quicker to increase your revenue and grow your company.
You'll see a reduction in sales cycle time, greater predictability, and a more organized sales process once you have implemented these strategies. These are all great ways to make your sales process more efficient, and help you make better decisions in the future.
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Marketing Insider Group published the post 10 Simple Tips to Increase Your Sales Pipeline.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: 10 Simple Tricks to Accelerate Your Sales Pipeline
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/sales-alignment/10-simple-tricks-to-accelerate-your-sales-pipeline/
Published Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2022 15:00:00 +0000