Half of business to business sales professionals have stated their workload has increased over the past year. The pandemic changed the way we do business in a lot of ways, and B2B sales is no exception. As we begin to adapt to a new normal, a few things are clear. Remote work is here to stay and there is a great need for more automation and digital solutions to support sales leaders’ ability to move opportunities through the pipeline efficiently, shorten your sales cycle, and close deals successfully.
As companies leverage more remote workers, they’ve cut overhead costs, but staying successful has required several adaptations. Sales teams, for example, have made a lot of positive changes when it comes to business efficiency by leveraging new technologies. But it is our firm belief that this is only the beginning of digital adoption to improve sales efficiency. There is still much more that can be done to shorten the sales cycle with digital tools.
Here are a few strategies to shorten your sales cycle and help you close deals quickly and with confidence.
1) Adjust to the changed sales landscape and digital buyers
The way we interact with customers has changed significantly over the past year. According to a recent study, changing customer behaviors have affected every sector of sales, with 63% of B2C customers and 57% of B2B customers going digital when making buying choices. The classic saying – go where your customers are – sums it up well. The digital experience is fast becoming the norm and those who embrace it and adapt to it will find the most success moving forward.
Make friends with your marketing department- they may have automation tricks that you can implement into your sales routine. 73% of sales teams say “cross- functional collaboration” is a huge part of their sales cycle. Also, learning how all the different departments use digital platforms can help you optimize your sales funnel- technology is on your side. This can help you better identify your target market and connect with them. Predictability of customers has changed, and the ways to connect with customers on a human level has become evermore important.
2) Keep your sales leads engaged to shorten your sales cycle
Keeping leads engaged and interested is the hardest part of any sales cycle. Whether the lead is warm or cold, the first step is to connect with the right person. When connecting, be sure to personalize, this way your message comes across genuine, making them more inclined to open and reply. We’ve all received boilerplate emails that feel like they’re a part of a mass distribution – and we’re all just as likely familiar with how quickly they go into the trash folder. A great tactic to leverage is to show some appreciation in the sales process. Send a Thnks prior to a meeting to engage your prospect (or caffeinate them so their attention is heightened!). Or a thoughtful gesture to your champion who just connected you with a new department for a cross-sell is a great way to thank them and continue to build that relationship as you develop your sales depth within an organization.
Leverage technology to help you- this is especially important when technology is the only way to connect to leads. Keep in mind when you are sending emails what time zone leads are in, what day of the week it is, and make sure that your emails are mobile friendly since 40% of emails are opened on mobile first.
3) Align your sales pipeline with the customer journey
Aligning your sales pipeline with the way your customer makes decisions is a fool proof way to shorten your sales cycle. Pay close attention to the journey your customers are on when making purchase decisions – are they at the awareness, consideration or decision making stage? Answering this question will help you pinpoint where your sales funnel needs improvements, as well as create a more seamless transaction with a sales message that meets your potential customer exactly where they’re at. And more importantly, if there isn’t a clear journey, create one that uniquely works with a specific customer to help them along the way.
4) Don’t waste time, automate tedious tasks when you can
All jobs have tasks that are necessary, but suck time out of your day. Making sure you are clearly planning these, and automating them when possible allows you to spend more time nurturing leads, generating leads, and ultimately building relationships with customers. At the end of the day, our relationships with customers are our most important asset for achieving business goals and metrics. So, it is important to make time for important relationship building activities!/p>
When you do get the response you want from customers, don’t waste time! Staying proactive, answering questions, and becoming more available to your customers helps further build relationships, builds your credibility and builds loyalty.
5) Nurture relationships and show gratitude
Remember- the relationship is not over once a sale is closed. Expressing gratitude to your customers is a key part to a successful sales cycle. Sending them a simple “thank you” for their initial time is a great way to follow up and keep you on their radar. This should be continued through the length of your sales cycle. Once you close a deal, be sure to send them a personalized Thnks to show them how much you appreciated doing business with them. This could be a margarita kit, a nice dinner, or a simple cup of coffee.
As sales leaders, shortening your sales cycle means hitting more goals and bringing in more revenue. It’s about addressing inefficiencies and finding better ways to connect with more prospects while simultaneously addressing their needs and closing more deals. As you practice these strategies and strengthen your professional relationships in the sales cycle, Thnks is here to make the relationship-building process seamless, efficient, and thoughtful. The simple gesture of saying Thnks is a great way to invest in and nurture professional relationships while demonstrating genuine appreciation for your customers.
To learn more tactics to help improve your sales game, download our ebook, 7 Tactics to Move Prospects Through Your Pipeline Faster with Gratitude, and see how Pure Storage used Thnks as their most powerful sales tool. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo, or click here to learn more about expressing gratitude in business!