10 unexpectedly easy ways to shorten sales cycles

Isn’t having 7 stages make sales cycles a tad too long? Shortening sales cycles is actually a lot simpler than you might think. Here’s how.
Nigel Seah
Nigel Seah

Digital Marketing Executive

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10 unexpectedly easy ways to shorten sales cycles

We already talked about what sales cycles are in-depth in our earlier article. But just to quickly recap, sales cycles are:

defined processes that companies follow when trying to close a deal, from generating leads to follow-ups. Businesses undergo different stages of the sales cycle depending on their industry and product or service.

The 7 main stages of a sales cycle

And as we’ve already established, there are 7 whole stages. Now, while that may seem a tad too many and inadvertently lengthen your sales cycles, you don’t have to worry. Shortening them isn’t as hard as you think.

Here are 10 unexpectedly easy ways to shorten the different sales cycle stages.

Be very clear on who your target audience is 👓

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 1

Try selling enterprise-level software to a new startup. Not going to happen.

While this example may be a bit exaggerated, it’s not uncommon for businesses to target the wrong audience. When these kinds of mismatches happen, businesses waste a lot of time trying to sell a solution to people who will never be interested.

To avoid this, you need to be very clear about the businesses that need your solution. Do in-depth research and come up with detailed customer personas and use them to conduct your outreach.

Make your pricing plan simple and transparent 🧾

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2

The price of your solution is often the deciding factor your leads will use to see if they’ll make the purchase. Businesses sometimes try to hide the actual price from their pricing pages because they think they can pitch their way to a closed deal.

 

Businesses need simple and transparent pricing plans to help shorten the sales cycle.
We are pretty transparent about our pricing 😉

 

I mean, they can. But it’s going to be very difficult for several reasons:

  • There is a mismatch of expectations. Leads didn’t expect your solution to be worth this much.
  • You can come off as a shady 😎 business for hiding important information.
  • Because of the above 2 reasons, your sales reps need to put in a lot more effort to convince leads that your solution is worth the price.

Making your pricing plans transparent and simple can save your business so much time that could have wasted on trying to justify your prices.

Automate your outbound calling process 📞

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2

Once you’ve done your research and created a list of contacts to conduct your outreach, you almost immediately dread the amount of work that needs to be done. Imagine needing to go down a seemingly endless list of contact numbers and dial them one by one.

Painful 😩

 

Novocall's outbound calling software comes with an auto dialer. This allows sales reps to create automated outbound campaigns to quickly quickly reach out to all the contacts on your list.

 

Outbound call software can help you with just that! Like many other outbound call software, Novocall comes with an autodialer. This allows sales reps to create automated outbound campaigns to quickly reach out to all the contacts on your list.

No longer will sales reps need to manually dial every single number on the list.

Ensure a good lead-sales rep match 🤝

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 3

Lead qualification (stage 3) is relatively easy if your sales focus is outbound outreach. That’s because you have already gone through the first round of qualifications based on the research you’ve already conducted. By now, your research should help you clearly identify the leads who are most likely to convert into paying customers.

But what if your business is focused on inbound lead generation? You can control which type of lead gets in touch with your business. Or can you? 🤔

 

 

Software that Novocall use lead routing rules to assign leads to sales reps based on criteria such as the language spoken by your leads.

 

Lead distribution software essentially help you with that. Using predetermined lead routing rules, software like Novocall can help assign inbound leads to your sales rep based on certain criteria. For example, Novocall can distribute your leads based on the languages they speak.

Selling your solution to your leads is made easier and faster when your sales reps have experience in handling conversations with particular types of leads.

Collect qualitative data on reasons you were turned down 📈

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 5

Despite all the effort your team has put in into conducting in-depth research to create customer personas, you can never account for all the factors that influence buying behavior. Over the course of pitching to the many leads, you’ll probably receive many reasons for not wanting to purchase your solution. But don’t be quick to dismiss these reasons.

Instead, take down notes after every pitch and collect information on why you’ve been rejected. After a while, you should have gathered enough information to help you review your current sales outreach strategy.

Perhaps you forgot to take the size of the company into account when you do your targeting. Or maybe you missed out on the nature of how transactions in particular industry work.

Whatever the reason may be, the qualitative data you gather will definitely help you improve your outreach strategy, targeting, and shorten your sales cycle.

Focus on channels where your hottest leads are 🌐

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 1 and 2

Avoiding the spray and pray tactic is key to shortening your sales cycle.

Bearing that in mind, it is no wonder that you need to be very selective even when choosing the places you want to engage your leads. If you have a great blog that draws in a huge volume of organic traffic, should set up lead capture forms on some of your content to collect their contact information.

But what if you have no idea where your leads are coming from? For example, you set up social media ads on multiple platforms and start receiving an increased volume of inbound calls. How do you identify which campaign is doing best?

That’s where call tracking software comes in.

Using Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI), businesses can create a unique call tracking number for each marketing campaign. This way, they can attribute the inbound call to the source marketing campaign and identify the channel with the hottest leads 🔥

Once you’ve identified the best performing channel, your outreach stage can be significantly shortened.

Use lead generation software ⚙️

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 1 and 4

 If you are not automating any of your sales processes, you need to start now.

As the good’ol saying goes, time is money.

But the good news is that, if there’s a sales process out there, there’s probably a software that helps you with it.

Lead generation, both inbound and outbound, can be a very tedious process. With the help of software solutions, your team can definitely save loads of time on this! Some types of this software include lead capture form builders, landing page builders, and live chat software.

Automate your appointment scheduling process 📅

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

While emails are used to communicate for various purposes, they aren’t the most effective in certain situations. For example, appointment scheduling.

Imagine needing an endless back-and-forth email thread just to agree on a common time slot for an appointment. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 💢💢💢

 

TimeSync eliminates the need for endless email threads and allows leads to instantly schedule automated calls with your sales reps.

 

TimeSync, for example, is a scheduler that eliminates the need for endless email threads and allows leads to instantly schedule automated calls with your sales reps. This helps your leads and sales reps save a lot of time that they might have spent on using emails to schedule appointments.

Novocall’s integration with Google and Outlook calendars means that the time slots that show up on the software are taken directly from the sales reps’ personal schedules. This ensures that appointments between your leads and sales reps are guaranteed.

Treat cold❄️, warm🔥, and hot☀️ leads differently

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

About 96% of your inbound site traffic do not convert. This is either because they are not ready to make a purchase yet, or that they are not convinced that your solution is the right one for them. These leads are known as cold leads. They tend to be at the top of the marketing funnel and require more time and effort from your team to nurture them via email sequences.

You need to be able to quickly distinguish between cold, warm, and hot leads. This is because you need to treat the different types of leads differently in order to convert them into paying customers.

A quick way to clearly distinguish between the types of inbound leads is by examining the reason they provided you with their contact information. If they did so to schedule a call, they are probably on the warmer side. If they downloaded a piece of gated content, they probably just want free guides and are considered cold leads.

You should also do the same for your outbound leads!

Based on how warm your leads are, you should vary your outbound strategy by, for example, using cold, warm, or hot calls whenever appropriate.

By using the appropriate approach to handle relevant leads, you shorten the sales cycle by reducing the friction that could have arisen from a mismatch between the lead type and your sales approach.

Enter every call with a specific goal in mind 🧠

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Why are you even going to have a call with your lead? If you are going in to conduct direct sales, do you know how warm the leads are? Are they at the sales funnel stage where they are receptive to being sold to?

You should be able to answer all these questions and be able to clearly state what you want to achieve in that sales call. For example, if you have a clear goal, you should be able to confidently say “I want to pitch our product to a warm lead to build interest and follow up with a call in the future”.

Once you have that in mind, it’s time to prepare your call scripts.

Prepare a call script for every conversation 📝

💡Relevant Sales Cycle Stage(s): 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Come prepared with a call script before you enter a conversation with a lead or prospect.

Imagine your sales reps being asked simple questions and they can’t answer them. Awkward 😰

Here is a quick list of potential topics your sales reps should prepare for before going into every call:

  • All the features of your solution
  • How would your solution benefit them
  • How are you better than your competitors
  • Why is your solution necessary if they aren’t really facing any issues with their current processes

When your sales reps are prepared, your sales conversations will go a lot smoother and faster.

What's next?

And there you go!

While there are 7 sales cycle stages, the entire process doesn’t have to be long at all! Just apply what we’ve said to the relevant stages and you’re good to go.

We hope that we’ve helped you gain a better understanding of how you can shorten your sales cycles. For more sales and marketing content, subscribe to our blog below 👇

Nigel Seah
Nigel Seah

Nigel is a Digital Marketing Executive at Novocall where he specializes in SEO. Prior to this, he had written for several SaaS companies including Workstream and the now defunct Hatchme. In his free time, he engages in strength training and is a lover of languages.

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