How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle


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Frustrated by the length of your sales cycle? This post looks at one of the key reasons that salespeople struggle to close a sale. It also suggests four steps that the Sales Head needs to take to fix this.

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How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

  1. how toSHORTEN your SALES CYCLE One reason your sales cycle is longer than it how to fix it should be
  2. (yet again)……your salesperson claimsthat he has a good feelingthat now that hotprospect he’s been …except thatpursuing will turn into apaying customer… he’s been saying that for a while now about this prospect
  3. and the gameof “surely now he will”continues, while all the timethe customer is (or seems tobe)… Stuck! …stuck in…
  4. hell *…(what we like to call)follow-up * That eternity in the sales cycle where you are stuck diligently ‘following-up’ with the promising prospect, who equally diligently replies that they ‘are interested, but are still in the process of making a final decision’… or, something similar
  5. consequently…
  6. stretchedstretchedsales cyclesmissedsales targets
  7. P.S. We won’t get startedwith the missedincentives and bonus…oh, did we just? ;-)
  8. why you get stuck infollow-up hell
  9. mistakesalespeople make(one of the key reasons for being stuck in follow-up hell)
  10. Salespeople fail to pay sufficientattention to the…confronting the customer in purchasingyour wonderful, innovative, sparkling, newwidget… Roadblocks caused by the required CHANGE (a change away from their current way of working)
  11. ‘Coz any change bringswith it, it’s own set ofCOM plex it IES(and the assorted negativeemotions relative to thesecomplexities)
  12. 1. at the very thought of having to tedium convince multiple stakeholders (each of whom would be seeking different outcomes from the same purchase) from having to deal with the related politics
  13. feelingoverwhelmed (whether perceived or real) by the very thought of the complications involved in implementing your wonderful solution/s
  14. doubts concerning… the price-value equation your delivery capability the quality of your widget your post-sales support other related reasons
  15. fear • The loss of credibilityover the perceived • Having to endure thecost of failure boss’s grillingif your widget fails to • Opportunity lossdeliver the claimed • The snide commentsresults from the jealous rival
  16. Etc.,
  17. complications any surprise then stakeholders that the politics sale quickly your capability descends the fear of failure into etc., follow-up hell
  18. How to get out offollow-up hell
  19. Here’s the short answer
  20. advance the sale stop.merely.following.up.
  21. Here’s the same lesson, in detail
  22. Actions,you, Dear SalesHead/ VP/ Directorhave got to take(before you get your field staff involved insorting out this mess)
  23. Step 1
  24. Identify the complete set ofCHALLENGES process systems people budget other that your customer might be faced with (in purchasing and implementing your offering)
  25. Step 2
  26. Determine all possibleMITIGANTS,WORKAROUNDSto each of these…
  27. Step 3
  28. TEACH your sales forceAbout each How to How to To actually of these unearth implement use thischallenges, these the knowledgeand how to challenges in workarounds deal with their each interactions with the prospect
  29. Important: TEACH your sales force To stop, merely ‘following up’ (BTW, it’s high time that phrase - in the context of sales, at least - was junked)
  30. Step 4
  31. The that you need to introduce as partkey step Sales Management Process of your
  32. During your sales the potential roadblocks (to management purchase & implementation) that meetings, they had identified for each prospect CHECKwith your sales force steps taken to mitigate these as to:
  33. Tick markthe challenges identified and mitigated by the salesperson for each prospect; Check if anyunidentified challenge (from your list) can cause the sale to fall through the cracks
  34. If your salespersoncan’t enumerate thechallenges identified (and dealt with) then move thiscase out of their ‘pipeline’ Get them to go back to meeting the customer to identify & mitigate possible challenges
  35. How these help(Assuming you had presented a greatvalue proposition that the client hadliked)
  36. Once you help the prospectidentify and deal with potentialroadblocks to purchasing andimplementing your offering,two things will happen
  37. you’ll realize that the prospect is Meaning, you can not really interested safely abandon - andone: in, or does not have avoid wasting any the capacity further time with - this prospect to purchase your product
  38. By helping the prospectovercome all probableroadblocks orchallenges
  39. complications stakeholders politics your capability you escape the fear of failure descending into etc., follow-up hell
  40. Importantly,you would havehastened thedecision makingprocess…(or, in other words)
  41. you would haveshortenedthe salesCYCLE
  42. Hope you found this lesson helpful.Please leave your comments below. We’d like Justin in SD’S to hear from you. Photostream
  43. For more resources on sales effectiveness, please Sales Advisory Sales Capability Creation Mumbai, India