One of the more common frustrations I hear when talking with Presidents, CEOs and Business Owners is that their sales cycle seems to be taking longer and longer. They'll describe how their sales people get great meetings, ask good questions, find opportunities that seem to fit what they can do, qualify the budget, prepare a proposal,
and then....everything grinds to a halt.
The sales train comes right off the tracks. Calls are not returned. E-mails are ignored. Prospective clients seem to disappear into thin air.
What happened? And more importantly to the executives and owners I talk to about longer sales cycles, what can you do about it?
Here are four ideas you can implement today that will dramatically shorten your sales cycle, sustain sales momentum, increase revenue, keep your sales team focused, improve feedback from prospects so your team understands how prospects are engaging when prospects disappear, and keey sales conversations on track.
1) Begin every meeting with a strong agreement
This is something every sales person on your team can do. Have your sales people set expectations at the beginning of the meeting to clearly define the purpose of the meeting and what they want to accomplish by the end of the conversation. This simple step keeps everyone on the same page, sets a goal and expected outcome, and idenfities any potential misalignments. All in the very first 5 minutes of the meeting.
A strong agreement at the beginning of a meeting sets a clear agenda for the call and will seperate your sales people from everyone else calling on that prospect.
2) End every meeting with a strong agreement
This is also something every sales person on your team can do. No matter how the meeting ends there should be a clear next step. Let's say the meeting is dreadful and there is no potential for future business. An appropriate step might be taking that prospect off your list.
Let's say the meeting was good, but the timing is not right. A great next step is to ask the prospect "could I call you in 3 months" or whatever the appropriate timeframe might be.
And when it's a great meeting wher the timing is right and the conversation should move forward? A great next step will summarize the key points agreed upon, define the next steps each person needs to complete, set a timeframe as well as the next meeting or phone call. Actually scheduling it right on the spot will greatly increase the momentum and keep things on track.
3) Use Postwire to share and distribute information
At every stage of the sales process a common next step is to send additional information (design specifications, product information or brochures, case studies, testimonial videos, and more). Rather than just e-mailing it and hoping they read it, we have been using Postwire to create pages for prospects where they can go to one place to view all of the relevant information to the sales conversation.
The presentation is much better, you can include videos and other media, and you can track whether they open the information, when they open, whether they forward it to someone else in their company and much more. This creates a better client experience and will help your company and your sales people appear far more professional than just sending an e-mail with a bunch of attachments.
4) Use Toutapp to manage your e-mails and track engagement
Bring greater consistency to the sales communication process using this great little application. Instead of each sales person on your team reinventing the wheel every time they need to send a follow up e-mail, break down the wall between sales and marketing and have them work together to create common templates that apply to each stage of the sales process.
Not only will this save time for your sales people, it also helps them be more timely in their follow up. For example, you can set an alert so when the prospect opens the e-mail your sales person can call them right then and ask "did you get that e-mail I sent to you?"
Time kills deals and if your competition has this kind of insight and your sales people are just following up whenever they get to it, who do you think is going to win the business?
Sales Effectiveness & Improvement Analysis
How long is your sales cycle? Could it be shorter? What would your business look like if it were? Are your sales managers capable of coaching your team to set strong agreements at the beginning and end of each sales meeting they go to?
Need answers? Ask for a free overview of our newest tool - the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis™ - and we will follow up with you to find out if it makes sense to talk about helping your sales organization become more effective.