Top 5 Proven Strategies to Boost Your B2B Sales Cycle And Get More Qualified Leads
The length of an average B2B sales cycle has been a cause for concern for many. The B2B sales process is considerably long, and a short sales cycle would mean more customers per unit time. The more time it takes to push a lead down the sales pipeline, the worse your chances are of converting them at all. You need to ensure your leads make it to the end as soon as possible so that you can move on to a new one sooner.
A long sales cycle is characteristic of B2B businesses compared to a direct to consumer business. 75% of B2B companies take almost four months to win a customer. That’s an unsustainably long time to work on a single customer, and this number could change drastically depending on your individual business.
Regardless of the kind of B2B business you have, whether you sell inventory management software to other businesses or you sell cranes to a construction company, the quicker you turn around sales, the faster you can boost your bottom line. You can’t afford to ignore how efficient a short sales cycle will be because when you’re slow to win customers, you risk running into cash-flow problems.
Closing deals at a slow pace affects every part of your business because it limits your income. If you choose to actively reduce the length of your sales cycle, you will see profits and revenue sooner. You will also see higher returns in every fiscal term because you will be able to acquire more customers.
Here are five winning strategies that can move leads through your conversion funnel quicker and speed up your revenue flow without turning off prospects:
Score Your Leads
One of the biggest reasons for lost sales, or longer sales cycles that bear no fruit, is sales reps who can’t vet prospects and eliminate unqualified leads. When you try to nurture such prospects, the efficiency of your sales team is affected, and your sales cycle speed increases.
Fix this problem by scoring your leads. Map your customer journey and define what the characteristics of your ideal customer are. This is your buyer persona, and you can judge all incoming leads according to the predefined features of this persona. Lead scoring can help you identify which leads have a better chance of becoming paying customers and which don’t.
Score your leads and use the quantitative data to make informed decisions about how long you want to spend nurturing this lead. Eliminate poor-quality prospects at the very beginning so that you can improve the efficiency of your sales process and focus on qualified leads.
Creating a detailed buyer persona helps to shorten your sales cycle. It can include demographic data but also include insights related to their role in their organization and their level of interest. Their authority to decide and allocate a budget is also important to qualify them as a high-scoring lead.
Say you’re selling an ecommerce inventory management solution. You will talk to the procurement manager, their boss, IT personnel, and perhaps a supply operations manager too. Your buyer persona should reflect each of these so you can target the right leads and optimize conversion rates.
Invest in CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential for every business that is serious about growth. It centralizes all your client and contact information. The ease of access it gives you to customers’ data makes it easier to coach teams and manage your sales pipeline.
An effective CRM software will reduce the length of your sales cycle and move deals faster through the pipeline because:
1. It stores all contact information in one place.
2. It tracks your KPIs for you and offers custom sales reports.
3. It can be used to score leads.
4. It allows sharing of information across the sales team.
5. It integrates with your enterprise communication system to give all customer history and contact information to employees whether they want to contact leads by phone or email.
6. It offers POS system (point of sale) and CRM integration for fast capture of customer information that leads to improved customer experiences and synchronized information across all departments.
7. CRM connects with your website to improve conversion rates.
Why is POS software so important? Gathering customer sales data at the point of sale is of utmost importance. A CRM enabled POS merges sales, inventory and customer management services. This data can be used to improve targeting in marketing campaigns and forecasting of sales.
Accelerating the sales pipeline in the 21st century requires you to take advantage of digital innovations and implement automation. Hasten your sales processes with automation so that sales reps can use their valuable time for face-to-face sales meetings.
Regardless of your choice of digital marketing strategy, automation can help you engage with more leads because manual engagement is time-consuming. Since it’s time that we want to save, we can automate almost every repetitive, burdensome task that is better done by a computer.
Automate your marketing efforts to free up time for sales reps to concentrate on what they do best: selling. You can use powerful automation software to automate mail campaigns and data entry. Both these tasks are labor-intensive, and a digital marketing strategy that uses automation tools can make your sales reps’ lives easier.
Automation is critical to your digital sales transformation strategy because it will streamline tasks that are limiting your sales teams’ efficiency. It also leads to better task management, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks like making presentations, visiting the customer’s office, and doing regular follow-ups.
Define Your Sales Process
The steps of your sales cycle need to be crystal clear to the entire sales team. If you’re looking to optimize your sales process, ensure you have it pinned down to a tee so that every team member knows their roles and responsibilities. An informal sales process that everyone knows but not everyone follows is a liability.
With life being what it is, it can throw anything at you. If you don’t have robust processes being followed, you will find yourself at dead ends. It’s these obstacles that take time to overcome and increase the length of your sales cycle.
If a lead has contacted you by email, what is the process of getting back to them? Who connects with them first? What is the SLA (service level agreement) of the maximum time you can take to respond? Your sales standard operating procedures (SOPs) should detail every minute detail so that sales reps know what’s expected of them. A well-defined sales process will help you scale your operations.
Use Social Proof
88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. Social proof is a valuable and influential marketing currency if you know when to invest in it and when to sell it. It gives your brand the validation it needs to convince leads to convert to customers.
Publish social proof on your website and your social media pages. Use it in your email campaigns to establish authority and authenticity. For leads that are hesitant, social proof can help remove doubts. Social proof can push leads faster through the sales pipeline because nothing is more convincing than peer behavior.
Build credibility by sharing case studies to show how your product or service made life easy for a customer. You could also consider B2B referral programs, which is a brilliant strategy for pushing a lead through the sales cycle. Your present customers can recommend you to their friends and family and earn incentives like a discount or a gift.
Speed Up Your Sales Cycle to Boost Revenue
If your sales process is taking too long, and it seems like you get to close only a few deals every year, don’t lose hope. The strategies above can hasten your sales process and push your business to optimal productivity levels.
Some parts of your sales cycle need personalization, while some need to be automated to save time and increase sales. Once you have defined the sales cycle, recognize which part needs the human touch and which can do without. You need to focus on eliminating inefficiencies that create hurdles for you and cause deals to drag on.
Managing the pipeline intelligently can improve your sales cycle speed, allowing you to scale revenues. A shortened sales cycle also has a significant effect on sales yield, team morale, and sales operations. Avoid aggressive sales tactics and adopt the ones above to ensure predictability and transparency and, above all, save time.
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