4 Quick Fixes to Accelerate Your B2B Sales Cycle
A pipeline chock full of leads is every sales team’s dream. But lots of leads in your pipe only gets you in the game — you’ve got to move quickly to turn leads into buyers and buyers into advocates.
And every qualified lead that doesn’t convert is a drag on your business in the form of wasted motion and opportunity cost.
You can plug this leak by ensuring that you’re targeting and working with only the right buyers – those who have the need, fit, and decision-making authority to make the purchase – in the first place.
You can also help yourself by moving leads through your process more quickly. If it takes too long for a lead to convert, you might lose more than just the lead:
- Average operating costs will increase, affecting subsequent sales.
- It will complicate revenue attribution to specific sales and marketing activities.
- You’ll likely lose the deal — time is the enemy in all transactions.
Perhaps that’s why unqualified leads are considered the biggest drag on the sales cycle:
Source: Ruler Analytics
So, what if there was a process to push the pedal on your B2B sales conversion cycle? Our team of specialists has aggregated just the right framework for you to accelerate your B2B sales cycle without eroding any value from your business.
- The better you know your customer journey, the faster you’ll be able to guide leads through it.
- Use digital channels to inform, educate, and convince your customers when they’re most receptive.
- Providing value for money is still the best way to sell.
B2B Lead Conversion Process Diagnostics
First of all, benchmark your sales cycle and verify if it is indeed longer than it should be. You can do this by measuring your sales cycle and comparing it with different segments:
- Closest competitors
- Vertical leader
- Other businesses in your industry that operate in the same geography
- Similar businesses in comparable industries
- Businesses that share similar clients or a specific group of clients
Some industries have evolved with systemically long sales cycles. For instance, government contractors need to get approvals on every component of the order or project and ensure it fits the tender’s requirements. This slows down the upstream process – many times they can’t proactively procure or even choose the best materials and services to expedite delivery.
You cannot quickly fix such systemic issues. For other variables, however, a good rule of thumb is: if your sales cycle is more than 20% longer than that of the leader in the peer group, you might have a sales velocity problem..
Here’s some ideas how you can get to work resolving it for good.
1. Map Common Objections to the Customer Journey
If your sales team already maintains a list of customer objections, congratulations! You’re already a step ahead of the curve.
If you haven’t, huddle with your sales team and put together a list of common objections they face. Add other concerns you think your customers might have (this list from Freshworks is great). You might find objections around budgets, approvals, the timing of the purchase, industry dynamics, past experiences of the buyer, brand awareness and perception, among others.
Again, we’re hoping you’ve mapped out the customer journey for your average prospect. If you haven’t, go ahead and do it! Then segment your list of customer objections and populate each touchpoint across the Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action phases with the appropriate ones.
Source: B2B International
And don’t stop there. Use this integrated document with objections classified across customer journey phases in your sales training sessions and knowledge base. Craft a tailored response for these objections and arm your sales team with them.
Why This Works
Your sales reps will go into each meeting or call already expecting the common concerns they’re going to face. You can equip them with additional technical info and decision-making rights to ensure each objection is addressed at the earliest. You can even use your content marketing campaigns to make sure these concerns don’t pop up at all in the first place.
2. Digitize the Lead Nurturing and Onboarding Process
Lead nurturing – the gap between lead generation and successful conversion – has traditionally been the domain of the sales rep. However, B2B buyers across the globe are increasingly preferring digital self-serve systems to get information, place orders, and get quick support even more post the onset of COVID-19.
Source: McKinsey & Company
A McKinsey study covering over 3,500 B2B decision makers seconds this trend. Nearly 15% of B2B buyers are willing to make online purchases of over $1 million using an end-to-end self-service platform. Further, only about 20% buyers are keen on going back to in-person sales processes.
So, it is only natural for you to put in place a digital information (hello, content marketing!) and onboarding process for your leads and customers.
Even if you don’t yet have a specialized web-based portal for onboarding new clients, ensure that you provide:
- A dedicated account manager to handle the onboarding process
- Following through to ensure every conversion results in successful outcomes
- Self-help guides and chatbots in case any clients aren’t comfortable reaching out to your sales team
- An omni-channel experience that includes video, email, and phone calls
Why This Works
Your marketing or lead gen partner might have set expectations for a fully digital, seamless interaction while serving as the first point of contact for your brand or business. And now, your sales process has to follow the lead. If an in-person call or visit stands in the way of the prospect walking themselves to the sale, it defeats the purpose of your onboarding process. So just get out of their way!
3. Maintain Price Transparency at All Times
How many times has your team failed to make it beyond the final price negotiations? More often than not, if you satisfy all of the other needs of the client, their budget ceases to be a problem. And that also holds true for committee-led B2B sales cycles.
As long as the narrative lingers on price and budget, you’ll have a tough time beating larger competitors who might be better placed to provide the same product for a lower price (or might be willing to do so just to undercut you). Instead, you’re better off shifting the narrative to showing value for every dollar spent.
An HBR study has a great pro tip to set expectations around price – treat each prospect meeting like a pitch to the CFO. Aim to drop an “anchor” for tentative pricing early in the conversation. The rest of the meeting and subsequent engagement should focus on how the value your offerings generate can dwarf that initial price anchor.
Why This Works
B2B buyers are answerable to a purchase committee, their management, possibly their regulators, and even their customers (indirectly, for the price of their products). By providing the value proposition in dollar terms instead of trying to justify the cost, you’re effectively doing their homework for them (shaving that much time off your sales cycle). Once they’re convinced your team can deliver on this value proposition, they can take the same pitch up the chain for a buy-in.
4. Turn Your Sales Team into Superheroes
The hours your sales team puts into work every week could be fixed. But there’s no ceiling to the human capital of your company. By making each of your sales professionals more effective, you can exponentially grow revenue as well as cut down the time taken to make a sale drastically.
No, this is not about sales training. The approach has more to do with effective sales coaching. And that too by your own sales managers. (Or, should we call them Sales Yodas?)
More research from McKinsey shows that sales managers at businesses that outperform peers in sales value spend almost 80% of their time coaching their team members. The term “sales coaching” attracts scepticism since it can mean different things for different businesses. Here are some fundamental differences between sales training and sales coaching:
Source: Author’s own
Why This Works
The McKinsey study also found that businesses that focus on personalized and inclusive sales coaching for their team tend to generate 30% more revenues than their peers. They’re more likely to meet customer expectations and are smarter at using tools, technology and analytics to support sales. That cuts down the time and effort spent per sale for sure!
Over to You
Okay, if you made it till here, we have a confession to make. We didn’t tell you the whole truth with the headline. If you have any experience in B2B sales, you know there are no “quick fixes.” But there are plenty of “somewhat quick fixes” that — in aggregate and over time — will accelerate your sales process.
At RevBoss, we help our clients accelerate their sales cycle by generating more leads at the top of the funnel so that our clients can win more customers and rake in more revenue.
If you’re looking for ways to get more qualified leads consistently, and then make short work of that pipeline, you should check out our Sales Prospecting Service right away!