In the world of sales, nothing can kill a deal faster than an inefficient sales cycle. Enablement plays a critical role in speeding up the process, generating revenue, and shaping the buying experience from first contact with a prospect. And yet, 46% of customer success professionals say they don’t have enough time to do their jobs during a typical work week. The main reason why? They spend “an outrageous amount of time” scheduling meetings and rearranging their calendars.
Whether you focus on top-of-funnel activity, qualifying and converting leads into pipeline, full-cycle sales, or all of the above – inefficiency in any stage of your sales cycle robs your team of valuable time and energy, and ultimately negatively impacts forecast accuracy. Whether deals take longer to close than anticipated, or deals fall out of the funnel completely, “speed to meet” is a powerful driver in achieving revenue forecasts. Sales organizations can realize quicker- and more consistent – wins by removing friction and shortening their sales cycle.
Here are five tangible tips for shortening the sales cycle.
#1 Deliver Qualified Leads
Deliver qualified leads directly from your marketing campaigns (not surprising!).
When marketing passes non-qualified leads on to sales,the result is a bottleneck in your sales funnel. Nearly 40% of sales professionals believe they participate in “too many meetings they don’t need to be in” which has a negative impact on their productivity.
Marketing can implement technology that can automate the qualification process. Adding self-qualifying routing forms to the CTA can score or qualify leads, and send only the most appropriate prospects straight to a scheduling page with the most appropriate sales team member. The sales team gets valuable Marketing Qualified Leads without having to do the back-and-forth dance of setting a meeting, and marketing can collect and forward all the appropriate data without ever going into the CRM.
This efficiency speeds up your sales cycle and allows you to scale your campaigns by eliminating tedious administrative work and allowing your team to manage more leads without adding staff.
#2: Convert Interest Into Meetings
Turn engaged website visitors into scheduled meetings. The explosion of inbound marketing has led to “call to action fatigue” on many lead-generating websites. Adding a scheduling link to your contact form allows you to strike when the iron is hot and demonstrate that you respect your prospect’s time.
You can modify the workflow to include a qualifying step for higher value or more complex sales. Encrypted email provider Virtue embedded a scheduling link in their contact form “thank you” page for qualified prospects and saw their demo request rate jump from 30% to 61% in the first month.
Regardless of your workflow, the ultimate goal is to empower a prospect with a sense that they are setting up the meeting or demo on their terms and do so in a quick and efficient manner that maintains the momentum from their initial click.
#3: Automate Lead Distribution
Lead distribution is another area where automation and technology can dramatically accelerate your sales enablement process. Regardless of which methodology you choose to score, assign and deliver your leads; the benefits of automating your lead distribution are universal.
- Improved efficiency: Automating lead distribution is significantly faster than manually assigning leads. When you reduce time spent on tedious manual tasks, you free up reps to engage in more productive activities.
- Improved response time: Taking a round-robin approach to lead distribution, you can get your lead to a rep who has the time to respond asap.
- Improved productivity: Integration with CRM and lead gen tools ensures accurate information about the prospect is delivered on-demand.
Automating your lead distribution ensures that your prospects get a prompt response from the right person and keeps the sales funnel flowing.
#4: Give Prospects Sway in Steering Meetings
Sales cycle experts have been trying to pinpoint the ideal length for a sales call forever. One thing they tend to agree on is that arbitrarily locking your prospects into meetings in a 30- or 60-minute block can be both inefficient and ineffective.
Consider offering a few options to your prospect. Maybe it’s a quick 15-minute Zoom call for an introduction or perhaps a 45-minute Microsoft Events session to do a product demo. The important thing is to allow your prospect to feel like they have some control over the first/next meeting and, at the same time, improve your sales team’s efficiency by managing their time better and setting them up on the channel best suited to meet their prospects’ needs.
#5: Get Everyone to the Table
Few things stall the sales cycle faster than landing a meeting and not having the right people in the room. High-value or complex deals are rarely closed in a one-on-one situation. There may be several stakeholders on the prospect’s side, and they may require input from multiple people on your end.
Suppose you’ve tried to transition a prospect from an SDR to an AE or needed an engineer or customer success representative to sit in for a consultation. In that case, you probably understand why the expression “herding cats” has become so popular in modern business. Manually setting up these meetings can siphon valuable time away from your reps and add unnecessary friction into your sales cycle. Tech tools can help streamline your scheduling process, book these multiple-attendee meetings faster, and ensure you have the right people at the table.
Generating revenue from a healthy sales funnel is crucial in today’s competitive marketplace. Technology and automating your workflows can help speed up your sales cycle and convert leads into customers faster and more efficiently. To maximize effectiveness, modern sales teams need to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on what matters most: creating relationships and securing revenue.