The sales cycle is directly linked to the sales funnel and the timing of each process, from strategy to actual sales.
Owning and understanding the sales cycle is essential to the financial health of any business. But, more than that, it is essential that it be as short as possible.
After all, every company wants to sell more while reducing costs with this operation, right?
But before we talk about the sales cycle, we need to think about context.
Whenever a new business opportunity arrives for their sales team, salespeople start a journey that has, as the objective, to conquer this lead and turn it into a customer.
But do you know how long this process takes? What are the steps? Understanding this is understanding how long your company’s sales cycle lasts.
And this, for managers to achieve strategic decision making is vital.
In this article, we will show you in a practical and objective way, what exactly is the sales cycle. In addition, we will give you some tips to assemble and measure it.
And, if necessary, how do you ensure that it is always smaller within your company’s sales routine.
What is the sales cycle? And how long does it last?
The sales cycle is the duration of the entire process that will transform a lead into a customer.
That is, from the moment a salesperson contacted a business opportunity and scheduled a meeting, the cycle begins.
The duration varies according to the size of the sale — the investment required to acquire the product or service, the market in which it operates, the type of persona, and any other variable that interferes with the decision process.
Selling a pen takes much less than closing an IT service contract for a multinational, isn’t it?
I still don’t have a sales cycle… now what?
In fact, everyone has a sales cycle. The difference is that successful companies know this cycle very well, and create initiatives to optimize it and increase conversions.
It is very common to find salespeople who have no idea which stage of the sales funnel a lead is at, how long it takes to close a sale, on average, and several other metrics important to the business.
Guess who can organize this? The sales cycle!
How to know my sales cycle?
The first step in knowing your efficient sales cycle is to master your sales funnel well.
What actions cause the lead to advance through the funnel? What is important to her?
These are questions that help determine how long a sale lasts.
Next, it’s important to understand where your marketing efforts are focused. Is it in lead education? Is it in lead generation? Is it becoming a reference in the market? AND
These points help the salesperson establish a selling strategy. Less polite leads need more meetings and more content, for example.
Finally, you need to map sales meetings—how many are held, and when—to understand the process.
Then it’s time to optimize everything!
What are the benefits of the sales cycle?
First, you know more about the type of buyer that is becoming a customer, what their preferences are, and which sales pitch is the most interesting to convert that lead.
The sales cycle also helps to better align the marketing and sales areas, as it helps show points for improvement within lead generation and nurturing.
Every successful company has a well-defined and defined sales cycle. If yours doesn’t have one yet, don’t waste your time! Follow our tips and get started right away.
My sales cycle is high! How can I decrease? See 6 tips
Taking too long to sell to the prospect is bad and negatively impacts the company’s CAC and LTV.
So how do you make the lead feel ready to buy more quickly?
We have separated 6 points that you need to observe within your business’ sales management. Sometimes it may just be a small detail that makes all the difference.
1 – Improve customer prospecting strategy
The first point to reduce the sales cycle is to get the ideal customer profile right. It will be much harder to sell to those people who don’t fit the persona of who your customer really is.
Therefore, optimize your strategies to attract leads, whether inbound marketing or outbound marketing, only to those that really make sense for your company.
The customer acquisition needs to be assertive. It’s no use “shooting everywhere” because that will make your sales cycle longer. It will take longer to nurture the lead, empower it, make it safe and then buy what you sell.
2 – Set up the funnel steps well
Burning sales funnel steps is not good for any company. There are steps that cannot be skipped and, as you already know (or at least you should), the funnel is basically divided into 3 steps.
- Top of the funnel – Moment of learning and discovery. This is where leads are becoming aware of what they need;
- Middle of the funnel – Time when they have recognized the problem and are considering the solution your company offers;
- Funnel bottom – Valuation and purchase moment. Here your sales team negotiates and offers the best conditions to close the sale.
3 – Produce quality content
To help with every step of the pipeline, it’s critical to produce quality content for the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. The idea here is to make the lead more comfortable, confident that the solution you sell makes sense.
Be creative and produce not only blog text about what you sell and the segment you’re in. Show cases of success, produce webinars, rich materials, among others.
The objective here is to give all types of ammunition, from the most comprehensive to the most specific, so that the sale can be sealed.
4 – Invest in the pre-sales team
One of the main allies of a shorter sales cycle is the pre-sales team. The pre-sale is critical to understand that the lead may or may not move in the purchase journey.
Passing on a prospect who is not ready for the seller to contact hurts and lengthens the cycle. The role of the SDR is precisely that, to understand the level of maturity of this person to know whether or not he can already become, in fact, a client.
So if you don’t have a pre-sales team, do. If your business is still small and has only one inside sales, the solution is to have it in the morning qualify the leads to schedule an appointment and, in the afternoon, to actually sell.
5 – Qualify the commercial team
It could be that the bottleneck is in your sales team. The lead can be qualified and on time, without getting cold. But your sales team, all of a sudden, can’t generate value from the call you made. He cannot act as a consultant, didactically showing that the X function of his product or service acts for the Y pain that the client has.
What to do?
Training and more training. There is no magic. Qualify the commercial team always, periodically. Invest in sales coaching if you feel it is necessary. Apply agile methods and be sure to hold feedback meetings to ensure improvements are taking place.
6 – Keep the playbook up to date
It is important to have a sales playbook that is always up-to-date in the company’s sales routine. It is through it that companies can standardize and optimize processes, and consequently, increase productivity in the commercial sector.
Email templates that got good results, triggers for closing, sales tips, phrases that had an effect, ways to get around objections… it doesn’t matter!
Everything that has been used successfully must be documented in the playbook. It is this document that will accelerate the understanding of new salespeople and pre-salespeople and will make everyone’s work much more assertive, in line with the company’s mission, vision and values.
By following these tips, you will not only be able to create your sales cycle, but also make it as short as possible.
So, how can we help you?
If you have difficulty tracking your sales on a day-to-day basis, Take the opportunity and read two articles that can be useful in the commercial routine of your business.
The first brings sales metrics you can’t ignore in your business.
The second talks about sales techniques for you to apply in your company.