The importance of time in earning sales and 4 ways you can shorten your sales cycle
You know what’s great? Ice cream. It comes in many different varieties and flavors. Whether you’re a fan of chocolate or fruit, are an omnivore or vegan, ice cream has something to offer you. It can be the main event, or a great sidekick to a piece of pie or brownie. The accolades are endless. However, ice cream does have one flaw we all know too well: it melts. Ice cream demands immediacy. You have to engage with it right away and eat with haste. If not, your beloved frozen treat will soon become weird dessert soup. In sales, just…
You know what’s great? Ice cream. It comes in many different varieties and flavors. Whether you’re a fan of chocolate or fruit, are an omnivore or vegan, ice cream has something to offer you. It can be the main event, or a great sidekick to a piece of pie or brownie. The accolades are endless.
However, ice cream does have one flaw we all know too well: it melts. Ice cream demands immediacy. You have to engage with it right away and eat with haste. If not, your beloved frozen treat will soon become weird dessert soup.
In sales, just like with ice cream, time matters. If you don’t schedule demo requests quickly, or take too long to follow-up with a prospect after an initial meeting, your deal can quickly melt (metaphorically speaking). Bizarrely, it actually takes longer to lose a sale than earn one.
Also, when you’re able to close faster, you’re able to handle more deals. For example, if your average close time is a week, then you could do four deals in a month. However, if you’re even able to reduce your sales cycle by just one day, that would add capacity for another deal.
So, how can you make deals go faster? You could try doing three meetings worth of material in one, but just as with ice cream, you might end up overloading yourself and the prospect. Which isn’t good for anyone involved.
You could try different methods to buy more time, but just like refreezing ice cream, that usually just brings up new challenges. So, how exactly can you make sure you’re making the most of your time?
In this article I cover four ways you can shorten your sales cycle to help close more deals.
Shortening your sales cycle
If you’ve spent any time around engineers you’ve probably heard some talk of “optimization.” Optimizing something really means doing what you can to make it as efficient as possible. How can you make sure you’re getting the most out of whatever you put in?
Though you’ve undoubtedly spent time making sure your sales cycle is effective, it’s possible you may not have spent as much time finding ways to streamline and optimize it. Luckily, we have four tips to help get you started:
- Automate routine tasks
- Talk about pricing early
- Focus your energy
- Make accepting terms simple
Automate routine tasks
Did you know that a sales rep is 21x more likely to qualify a prospect if they respond to their initial request within five minutes? Since you won’t be able to monitor incoming messages at all hours of the day and respond, the only way to speed up that process is through automation.
Since most initial emails are going to contain similar information, it’s something you can easily automate. Depending on how you gather lead data, you can probably even personalize your automated response to increase impact.
Email is a great place to start automating. SDRs actually spend nearly 21% of their time writing emails. From there, you can look into sales automation software to help streamline other processes like updating deal information.
After you get the basics figured out, consider doing an audit of your entire process and see if there are even more items you can automate. Remember, the more time you save on routine tasks, the more time you have to spend on higher-impact areas like relationship building and client research.
Talk about pricing early
When you go to a fancy restaurant, what’s one of the first things you do? Look at the prices. You want to know what you’re getting yourself into. In fact, price is a huge consideration for almost every purchase we make. So, why would it be any different for your prospect?
Anytime you look up “most common objections” price is regularly at the top of the list. There’s generally some temptation to hold off on talking about price so you have adequate time to show value. That can be a good tactic, but it’s not always the best route.
In some cases, no matter how strong the value, your prospect simply won’t be able to afford your offering. By talking about pricing early, you’re able to find out if your price is simply an objection you need you to handle, or a full on deal-breaker.
Focus your energy
Modern salespeople utilize lots of different channels to find new prospects. Though there are seemingly endless possibilities, they’re not all created equal. Quite simply, some channels produce better leads than others.
On the front end, diversifying is a great idea. However, the real trick is tracking each source and figuring out which channels produce the best leads. It will take some time, but once you figure it out you can spend more time on the highest-value channels, which saves you time in the long run.
Classically, referrals have the highest close rate, but you may find there’s another channel that’s producing strong leads, too. Keep an open mind but also be sure that you’re tracking what’s working, and what’s not, and adjust accordingly.
Another aspect of being focused is making sure you’ve done all your research prior to your first interaction. When you’re well-prepared you’re more effective in your selling, which in turn helps you be more efficient. In fact, those who are able to properly identify a prospect’s key pain points are 28% more likely to close the sale.
Make accepting terms simple
We’ve all seen those heartbreaking videos of a runner tripping right before the finish line and barley losing a race. It’s tough to watch. In sales a similar thing can happen.
Picture this: you’ve worked through the whole process, overcome objections, built value for your product, and everyone is excited to close the deal. Then at the last moment, you send over the contract but they have to print it out…and then fax it back…it’s not exactly a stellar experience for your prospect.
By using a web based proposal solution, not only are you able to have your prospect accept terms quickly, but they can also accept terms on any device, no printing required. Further, if there are any terms that need to be tweaked, it’s simple to do and won’t lose you any momentum.
In order to be as effective as possible when selling, every part of the process needs to be considered. Don’t let the ending undo your effort up to that point.
Thank you, next
Being efficient in sales is important. Not only does it help save you time, but it also helps you be respectful of your prospect’s time too. And, if you wait too long it’s possible your deal will come apart, just like melting ice cream.
Make sure you’re doing everything possible to stay mindful of your sales process and seek out ways you can improve it. There may not always be things to change, but staying curious about the possibility is still useful.
With the time you save you might even find you’re able to close more deals. Or, maybe, you can use the extra time to grab a cone to celebrate beating quota.