Maybe you don’t know the life cycle of the star that feeds us light and renewable energy every day: the Sun. But you certainly know that it’s a long time. For pure curiosity and reference, it is estimated that the lifetime of our star is 12 billion years.
Now the reader may be thinking: Why do I need this kind of information and what does this have to do with the subject of the text?
Perhaps the analogy between the duration of the sun’s life cycle and the sales cycle of your company or startup doesn’t make sense now, but throughout the text, it will be possible to understand it.
Much worse than this resemblance is knowing you should be concerned, as a long cycle can mean loss of money and even death for your business.
Yes, death! Think of a company that has a 1-year sales cycle. If no effort is made to reduce your sales cycle, all marketing and sales investments will only pay off in a year. It’s a year of paying staff, rent, electricity and all the other expenses you can think of so that you can benefit from it.
And if by chance, after all this time the sale does not materialize, you can become another company in this statistic here.
The main factor considered by Sebrae for the mortality of companies was the lack of administrative knowledge on the part of managers. When we are talking about marketing and sales, the lack of a clear sales process makes it impossible to establish the sales cycle.
It is important to distinguish the sales process from the sales cycle.
The sales process is a series of activities that must be done to turn your lead into a customer. The sales cycle, on the other hand, is a function of the time of the entire process.
If you don’t have the process activities defined, then you have no way of estimating the time to make a lead your customer. But aside from the issues that were mentioned in the Sales Process article: How Yours Can Kill Your Business, what is the impact of not defining my sales cycle?
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- Sales Cycle: When I don’t have an established
- Simple Sales vs Complex Sales
- Inbound sales cycle
- Outbound sales cycle
- Variables on the seller’s control
Sales Cycle: When I don’t have an established
Much for not having a clear and well-established process, when I ask about the sales cycle, companies respond with a very different time interval. A clear example would be to say that its cycle, for the same solution, varies from one week to two years. There is nothing to justify this discrepancy.
Not structuring a process is as risky as not managing the sales cycle. Managing your cycle means thinking about strategies to reduce it. Remembering that a reduction by half the cycle can double the revenue generated.
Pretty interesting, isn’t it?
Simple Sales vs Complex Sales
Those who already know the concept of simple sales and complex sales know that the sales cycle is one of the factors to categorize both types of sales.
In simple sales, we have reduced sales cycles that can happen in a day, hour or minutes. And in complex sales, we have longer cycles ranging from days, weeks, months, and, in some cases, years.
If you find two strangers talking about shortening the sales cycle at your next marketing and sales event, they are most likely talking in the complex sales scenario.
Because if they’re talking about shortening the sales cycle in simple sales, it’s very likely that you’re on a promotion day at Casas Bahia and you’re the store manager organizing a flash promotion.
Inbound sales cycle
What can you expect from an Inbound sales cycle? If you expected Inbound to have this reduced cycle compared to the Outbound strategy, you are partially right. Yes, partially.
Let’s first go to the points that lead to a reduction in the sales cycle:
- Lead is polite: Of course, whoever knows what he wants, finds it faster. And in sales it’s no different, if the lead already has an understanding of the problem and knows its solution, the sale will occur faster.
- Assertive nutrition flow: With an assertive nutrition flow it is possible to make leads move quickly into your funnel, consequently leading to a reduction in your sales cycle. This flow of nutrition should, as the name implies, nurture leads in the 3 phases of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.
- Hand-raising speeds up the cycle: Hand-raising occurs when a lead, through a call to action or contact submission, shows interest in being contacted by your sales team.
When I said that Inbound is partially effective in shortening the sales cycle, it’s because often the nutrition flow isn’t personalized enough to convince a lead to advance far enough to the next stage in the funnel.
Outbound sales cycle
We also have purely outbound strategy activities that impact sales time. We can quote:
- Finding the right person: What is the point of having a persuasive speech, a product/service that detonates, if you are talking to the person who does not make the decision. In Outbound, you have the freedom to directly seek the decision-maker, which can reduce the sales cycle ;
- Business intelligence: Understanding the lead scenario even before contacting us makes a big difference. You can evaluate, for example, the size of the company, economic scenario, as well as news related to it;
- Customized contact: If there’s one thing I know, it’s how different business scenarios are and how marketing and sales teams have gone through completely opposite challenges. And it is only with human contact that it is possible to understand these pains in depth;
- Conversation targeting: With a one-on-one contact, you can target the conversation to specific pains that your leads have and that your solution solves. For example, your persona is a semi-fictional and ideal definition of your lead. Reality is much more complex and your speech and solution have to be aligned for each of these cases. For example, through a conversation, it is possible to educate your future client about a problem he has, how to solve it and how your solution aligns with it in one fell swoop.
Of course, both Inbound and Outbound strategies should be used to shorten your sales cycle. It’s not a fight over what’s best and who wins who.
It’s about taking advantage of what we have at hand and doing the best for our company.
Variables on the seller’s control
We have several situations and activities that the salesperson contributes to the increase or reduction of the sales cycle. The main ones are:
- Educate the lead: Regardless of the strategy you are using, lead education should be a priority and done correctly, as it can get you the long-awaited commission as quickly as possible.
- Dealing with objections: Regardless of the technique used, whether it’s SPIN Selling, Challenger Sales or to get away from that discount request, dealing with objections as quickly as possible speeds up the sale.
- Knowing how to create urgency: Creating urgency is the difference between an opportunity standing still or moving forward to closure. Sellers who know how to create urgency close more deals.
And do you know any other skills of a salesperson that are worth highlighting?