A sales cycle is the process or series of phases salespeople follow when selling a product, turning prospects into customers. The steps involved in this typically consist of seven parts: prospecting, preparation, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing, and follow-up.
Advantages of Following a Sale Cycle to Businesses
Similarly, a study conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) illustrated that businesses with a standardized sales process witnessed an almost 28% increase in revenue growth.
These figures prove that performance, sales, and forecasting accuracy increase when a company adopts a standardized sales process. Indeed, a structured sales cycle can help you sell more effectively and identify what strategies work and what doesn’t. Equipped with this information, you can avoid making the same sales mistakes repeatedly.
The long-term benefits of adopting a well-planned sales process are plenty. Your sales team can build customer loyalty, personalize its customer service, and increase revenue. The training process is also more straightforward since sales reps are given a structured roadmap. This way, you can structure your team more effectively and better evaluate your team’s performance.
6 Effective Tips to Improve Businesses using the Sales Cycle
To improve your business using a standardized sales cycle, here are six tips that you should consider.
1. Follow up diligently
Initiating contact with your lead is only the first step of the process. You will still have to follow up with them to see if they’ve made up their minds. When marketing efforts fail, it highlights the need for your sales reps to persevere with follow-ups. While 80% of sales representatives have to follow up five times before a deal is made, 44% already give up after the first attempt.
Contact your leads again and again on their preferred date so that they know when to expect your call or message. If you reach out to them for the first time, avoid following up too often. Otherwise, your lead will find the act disruptive, losing them completely.
Consider sharing valuable content rather than repetitive messages. Sharing content makes it seem like you’re genuinely trying to help tackle their pain points rather than making a sale.
2. Ask for feedback
Companies should proactively request feedback through sales follow-ups. However, busy customers may not be open to answering lengthy polls or surveys. This is where a quick check-in should be enough.
Give your customers enough time to test your product or service so they can give a thorough assessment of your business offerings and initiatives. You can also collect customer assessments proactively by examining user activity, interviewing them on a one-on-one outreach if they permit, or asking for reviews directly in e-commerce product posts.
Collecting and analyzing feedback enables you to learn about the quality of your products or services, lets you make the necessary adjustments, and saves you from losing loyal clients. Additionally, it reveals what is truly important to your customers. It can improve your business processes and grow your sales funnel significantly.
3. Reduce low-value work
A typical sales representative spends merely 37% of their time selling, with the rest of their schedule devoted to menial tasks such as administrative and service work.
If you want to enhance your sales cycle, one way is to outsource your representative’s menial tasks. This includes bookkeeping, scheduling, data entry, and even lead generation activities. Outsourcing these activities or using CRM can help your salespeople focus on selling, improve selling efficiency, and provide you with more growth opportunities.
4. Align sales with your marketing team
Aligning your marketing and sales teams comes with many benefits. It can lead to a 36% increase in customer retention and a 38% increase in your sales wins. By aligning your team’s efforts with each other, you effectively shorten your sales cycle and enter the market faster.
In matching your marketing and sales department, you’ll have to sync your targeting, segmentation, content, nurturing, closing, and customer support.
You can also use CRM software tools with built-in marketing automation functionalities. This can help elevate your sales cycle process and give you a unified approach to managing data. It also gives your company access to your lead’s activity history, checking the pages they’ve visited and whether they’ve opened emails, providing your sales and marketing departments with more context.
5. Discuss referrals
Loyal and satisfied customers are four times more likely to refer their friends to a business they trust. Your company can connect with people from your niche who may have the same need for your product or service through referrals. Thus, you get to take advantage of free word-of-mouth marketing and cost-effectively expand your market reach.
Remember, though, to always keep your referral and reward strategies seamless and straightforward. The last thing that prospects want is to spend more time than what’s needed to claim a reward in exchange for giving you, new customers.
6. Track conversion rates between sales cycle stages
Each stage your customer goes through in the sales process should take as little time as possible. To determine which steps are taking the longest, measure the conversion rate between stages by dividing the number of opportunities in one step by the number in the next stage.
Compare it to the conversion rate you reached the previous month, the previous year, and the last week to translate the trends into strategies. When you notice a low conversion rate between stages, find out the reason for its decline and experiment with conversion solutions.
When you look at the end of your sales cycle framework, it’s easier to identify where you can improve. For instance, you might be good at finding people who match your ideal customer profile but have trouble establishing that first meaningful connection.
Perhaps you can close most of your sales but not nurture your relationships with customers. So, they eventually go elsewhere. By creating a clear and well-defined sales cycle, you’ll be well on your way to strengthening your sales game!
Author: Kano Anafora
Newslibre is a media company that provides informative news, technology, entertainment, web, startups, gadgets, and open source projects across the world and Uganda.