How to Speed Up Your Sales Process
In many cases, a slow sales process is the culprit behind reps being unable to close after spending a significant amount of time and effort putting the deal together. Why should you speed things up, and how can you do it?
Speed up the sales process to close more deals.
Why Should We Speed Up Our Sales Process?
First, you need to understand why speeding up the sales process and having urgency is important. It isn’t merely a matter of productivity. Slow sales processes cost businesses both money and time, two things few can afford to waste. Here are a few reasons why you need to rev up your sales process:
1. Measuring money in business involves selecting a period of time. Saying we sold $1MM sounds like a win. Saying we sold $1MM over the last 20 years…not so much. If your sales process is (unnecessarily) slow, that means that you’re giving up counting that revenue in the current cycle (month/quarter/year). It’s even worse if you sell a subscription product because that is real money lost–you could have billed each customer one more month of your services! When you do the math you’ll see that the lost revenue far outweighs the other obvious reasons to close deals efficiently…but if you need more reasons…
2. Do you want to spend less money? A slow sales process impedes you from doing that because your sales team works harder and longer to close deals. That takes additional spend towards that sale–more time on calls, more visits, and more effort–which all results in a more expensive sale.
3. Slowness, especially while you are waiting on internal approvals, causes your customers to lose interest. Being stuck in any particular stage causes the deal to lose momentum, and during that time, the customers may find that closing the deal isn’t as urgent as they thought it was when they agreed to receive a proposal–or worse they think you’re not interested!
How Can We Speed Up Our Sales Process?
In order to speed up the sales process, you have to prioritize your sales activities and streamline workflows. Identify bottlenecks and operational strategies you can implement to speed up those time sucks.
InsightSquared recommends that companies begin by comparing winning deals to losing deals. Winning deals spend less time in each stage of the sales cycle. You’ll also need to examine the patterns of buyers versus non-buyers, especially according to deal size. If some of your deals close within the four and five figure range, you should be able to adjust approvals to get the deal through quickly. Larger six and seven figure deals can then get the detail and attention they need.
Pay attention to industries, as some industries move slower through the sales process. Government contracts take a long time to complete. Corporate deals slow down the sales process because so many people are involved in the buying decision. If you know your industry well, you can figure out what you can do to keep the momentum going.
A faster sales process will help you maintain momentum with customers.
How Do You Speed Up Properly?
Speeding up the sales process shouldn’t mean that you’re skimping out on any particular stage of the sales cycle. It simply requires that you work with purpose and work hand-in-hand with the customer making sure you get them what they need efficiently and learn to guide them along the path while keeping their interest. No stage of a deal should be rushed–each should be very efficient.
Pick your slow spots. Take your time during the planning and proposal stages to ensure you provide compelling reasons for the customer to invest quickly in your business. Then, focus on speeding things up around document management, proposal approvals, and operational workflows so you’re not the bottleneck. It will help you keep your customers interested and close more deals, faster.