It is impossible to start a business and reach success by just winging it. That is why having a sales cycle is important to any startup. The sales cycle includes all phases of the sales process, from the first contact with the customer to closing the deal and confirming follow-ups.
Mastering the sales cycle as a startup can be a bit frustrating and closing a deal can take a long time. By studying your sales cycle, you can determine which stages are taking longer than others and improve on them with impactful steps that can help you reach your goal.
Here are some tips you can utilise to shorten your sales cycle and close deals.
1. Maintain sales objectives in alignment with your marketing team
It is important that your sales and marketing team are aligned with your startup goals as they often do not see eye to eye, and especially because they work independently of each other. That is why it is important that your marketing and sales team also be included in meetings where the future of the startup is discussed.
Fortunately, it is not impossible for your sales and marketing team to work together. To make your sales more efficient, work closely with your marketing team and sales team by making them collaborate on mapping your buyer personas. This way you can maintain alignment with your sales goal and marketing objectives.
2. Make use of your buyer personas and ideal client profiles (ICPs)
Creating a buyer persona entails reviewing your sales data to obtain a clear image of the sort of individual that supports your company. Answering vital questions about these customers will allow you to gain more insight into how to meet their needs and what motivates them to purchase your company’s products.
3. Identify and address your prospect’s problems directly
Pain points are simple issues that potential and present clients are facing in the market and want to be addressed.
Identifying these pain points and addressing them directly lets your potential clients know that you understand where their objections are coming from. When you delve further into an objection, you unlock the door to the cause of a prospect’s pain point or objection. And this will save you both time from focusing on irrelevant issues and prioritising what they actually need.
4. Make your value proposition more specific and precise.
Your value proposition should be clear and precise. It emphasises an advantage or feature that distinguishes you from every other firm in the market and offers the most persuasive reasons why a prospective buyer should become a client.
Making your value proposition clear and as precise will attract more potential clients as there is a large chance that they already know what they are looking for. What’s left is where to get that product or service from. Therefore, if it’s not immediately apparent to the consumer that your startup can meet their needs, they will likely look elsewhere.
5. Invest in the creation of high quality leads
Investing in a lead generation strategy that delivers leads to you rather than you having to actively seek them can shorten your sales cycle.
You won’t have to spend as much time looking for excellent leads if you already have one. This allows the sales team to focus on what they were hired to do, which is to increase sales.
6. Clean your CRM on a regular basis to get rid of cold contacts
Businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) to track, monitor and analyze client interactions across the customer lifecycle.
CRM systems collect data from customers across many channels, or points of contact, including websites, direct mail, telephone support, live chat, and social media.CRM systems aren’t just used for collecting data, but also for improving customer service and boosting sales.
Organize your contact list so that it’s relevant and up-to-date and get rid of contacts that bounced or unsubscribed. Segment your contact list depending on the most recent email opened, most recent email clicked, most recent reply, and/or most recent delivery date. If a contact hasn’t reacted with anything you’ve sent in many relevant sales cycles, and you suspect they’ve turned into a cold lead, establish a “cold” list and delete or archive their record to remove them from future contacts.
Removing cold contacts ultimately improves your email deliverability, and you stop wasting time and valuable resources chasing uninterested contacts.
7. Concentrate on your top performing channels
Your leads are most likely coming from a variety of channels that you’ve set up. It might be your product landing page, CTAs (Call to Actions) on blogs, social media, marketing emails, or something else entirely. Identify and scale the channels that generate the most leads and convert the fastest.
Focusing on low performing channels will almost certainly delay your progress. Track which channels perform well for your team and continue to create processes that enable extra focus on those areas to determine where to spend your efforts for the best returns.
8. Streamline outreach and response tracking
There are a lot of tools to automate your email list that can also track their responses. This will help you manage your sales pipeline and effectively sort them.
You are reaching out to hundreds or thousands of leads, and you are bound to miss some of them. As a result, you’re more likely to miss opportunities to reply and follow up, which might negatively impact your closing rate.
9. Use scheduling tools for setting up meetings
Going back and forth on setting up a meeting with a prospective client is a waste of time. You want to set up a meeting promptly and not lose that momentum.
Using scheduling tools like Calendly allows you to plan meetings without having to send a lot of emails back and forth. Other features include the option to set buffer time between meetings, time zone recognition, and integration with programs like Salesforce, GoToMeeting, and Zapier, as well as the flexibility to scale with your staff.
10. Make use of gradual closure
Making a succession of modest promises increases the buyer’s involvement in the sale, motivates them to say “yes,” and allows you to collect vital information.
Doing this will make your prospects more open to closing the deal with you. Making small progress is still progress, and it leads to you sealing the deal faster than you initially thought it would be. It’s crucial to remember that it’s the seller’s role to match sales efforts to real buying behaviour, not the customer’s. Think of closing as not the last step in the sales cycle; instead, you should be closing – always — via incremental commitments throughout the sales process.
To do so, prepare a list of the requests you’ll make at the conclusion of each meeting. Both you and your prospect should profit from these inquiries. Your proposals should also become bigger and more significant as you get to know your prospects and earn their trust. Think of this as a gentle push for them to say “yes”.
11. Make easy-to-close leads your first priority
Consider prioritising the leads that want to close at the earliest. If you have a lot of leads in your pipeline that you’re engaging with at the same time, prioritise the ones you want to close as soon as possible.
When such leads are prioritised, you are more likely to get a close. As a result, your sales cycle will be shorter.
In order to achieve this, you can ask leads when you connect with them how quickly they want to close the deal. A timeline related concern is not unusual, and it naturally leads to further questions about the lead’s requirements.
12. Make signing agreements easy and available on any device
This may seem like a small thing. However, making signing agreement documents easier and available on any device is the smart thing to do. There is no denying it: mobile technology is taking over the globe, and printers are rapidly becoming obsolete, and people are more likely to have it with them virtually all the time.
An effective sales team monitors customer behaviour and adapts its sales methods accordingly. Online contracts that can be signed on the move and on any device reduce the amount of back-and-forth with your prospects substantially.
13. Automate your repetitive tasks
You can’t deny that one of the things that makes the sales cycle slow is doing repetitive tasks that you can easily automate.
According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) cross-functional study, roughly one-third of sales and sales operations jobs can be readily automated using today’s technology.
Here are some must-use free business management tools that you can use to automate your repetitive tasks to shorten your sales cycle.