b2b sales cycle

b2b sales cycle, 7 Ways to Shorten Sales Cycle

7 Ways to Shorten Your B2B Sales Cycle and Close More Deals


The B2B sales cycle is the process of turning a prospect into a customer. It involves multiple stages, such as prospecting, qualifying, presenting, negotiating, and closing. The length of the B2B sales cycle can vary depending on the product or service, the industry, the number of decision-makers, and the buyer’s readiness.


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According to a study by CSO Insights, three-quarters of B2B sales take a minimum of 4 months to complete. However, a long sales cycle can have negative consequences for your business, such as:

  • Losing prospects to competitors
  • Wasting time and resources on unqualified leads
  • Reducing cash flow and revenue
  • Lowering customer satisfaction and loyalty

Therefore, it is crucial to find ways to shorten your B2B sales cycle and close more deals faster. Here are seven tips to help you achieve that goal.

1.Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas


One of the first steps to shorten your B2B sales cycle is to identify your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas. An ICP is a description of the type of company that is most likely to buy from you, based on factors such as industry, size, location, revenue, and pain points. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an individual decision-maker within your ICP, based on factors such as role, goals, challenges, preferences, and motivations.

By defining your ICP and buyer personas, you can focus your sales efforts on the most qualified leads and tailor your messaging and value proposition to their specific needs and interests. This will help you attract more prospects, increase engagement, and accelerate the buying process.

2.Use multiple channels to generate leads


Another way to shorten your B2B sales cycle is to use multiple channels to generate leads. Depending on your target audience and industry, you can leverage both online and offline channels to reach potential buyers. Some of the most effective channels for B2B lead generation are:

  • Website: Your website is your online storefront and a powerful tool to capture leads. You can optimize your website for lead generation by creating relevant and valuable content, using clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs), offering lead magnets (such as ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.), and using landing pages and forms to collect contact information.
  • Email: Email is one of the most popular and cost-effective channels for B2B lead generation. You can use email to reach out to prospects who have shown interest in your product or service, nurture them with personalized and helpful content, and persuade them to take the next step in the sales cycle.
  • Social media: Social media is another channel that can help you generate leads for your B2B business. You can use social media to build brand awareness, showcase your expertise, share valuable content, engage with your audience, generate referrals, and drive traffic to your website.
  • Phone: Phone is a traditional but still effective channel for B2B lead generation. You can use phone calls to connect with prospects who have expressed interest in your product or service, qualify them based on their needs and challenges, and schedule appointments or demos.
  • Events: Events are a great way to generate leads for your B2B business in person. You can attend or host events such as trade shows, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc., where you can meet potential buyers face-to-face, demonstrate your product or service, collect business cards or scan badges, and follow up with them after the event.

3.Qualify your leads quickly and accurately


Once you have generated leads from various channels, you need to qualify them quickly and accurately. Qualifying leads means determining whether they are a good fit for your product or service based on their characteristics (such as budget, authority, need, and timeline) and their level of interest (such as awareness, consideration, or decision).

By qualifying your leads, you can prioritize the most promising ones and avoid wasting time on those who are not ready or willing to buy from you. You can use tools such as lead scoring or lead grading to assign values or grades to your leads based on their qualification criteria. You can also use tools such as CRM (customer relationship management) software or sales automation software to track and manage your leads throughout the sales cycle.

4.Provide value at every stage of the buyer’s journey


The buyer’s journey is the process that a prospect goes through before making a purchase decision. It typically consists of three stages: awareness,
consideration, and decision.

To shorten your B2B sales cycle, you need to provide value at every stage of the buyer’s journey and guide your prospects from one stage to the next. You can do this by:

  • Creating and sharing relevant and valuable content that educates, informs, and entertains your prospects at each stage. For example, you can use blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, etc., to raise awareness; case studies, testimonials, webinars, etc., to build trust and credibility; and product demos, free trials, discounts, etc., to drive action.
  • Aligning your sales and marketing teams to ensure a consistent and seamless experience for your prospects across all channels and touchpoints. For example, you can use tools such as marketing automation software or CRM software to synchronize your email campaigns, social media posts, phone calls, etc., and deliver personalized and timely messages to your prospects based on their behavior and preferences.
  • Asking for feedback and addressing objections or concerns that your prospects may have at each stage. For example, you can use surveys, polls, quizzes, etc., to gather feedback; FAQs, reviews, comparisons, etc., to answer questions; and testimonials, guarantees, warranties, etc., to overcome objections.

5.Build rapport and trust with your prospects


One of the most important factors that influence the length of the B2B sales cycle is the level of rapport and trust that you build with your prospects. Rapport is the feeling of connection and mutual understanding that you establish with your prospects. Trust is the confidence and belief that your prospects have in your product or service and your company.

By building rapport and trust with your prospects, you can increase their engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction, and reduce their resistance or hesitation to buy from you. You can build rapport and trust with your prospects by:

  • Showing genuine interest in them and their needs and challenges
  • Listening actively and empathetically to their pain points and goals
  • Asking open-ended questions and providing relevant answers
  • Using positive body language and tone of voice
  • Sharing stories or anecdotes that relate to their situation
  • Providing social proof or evidence of your product or service’s value
  • Following up promptly and consistently

6.Use urgency and scarcity tactics


Another way to shorten your B2B sales cycle is to use urgency and scarcity tactics. Urgency is the feeling of pressure or anxiety that your prospects have to act quickly or miss out on an opportunity. Scarcity is the perception of limited availability or supply of your product or service.


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By using urgency and scarcity tactics, you can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) in your prospects and motivate them to make a purchase decision faster. You can use urgency and scarcity tactics by:

  • Setting deadlines or expiration dates for your offers or discounts
  • Showing limited stock or inventory levels for your product or service
  • Highlighting the demand or popularity of your product or service
  • Offering exclusive or limited access or benefits to your product or service
  • Creating a countdown timer or a progress bar for your offers or discounts

7.Ask for the sale


The final step to shorten your B2B sales cycle is to ask for the sale. Asking for the sale means making a clear and direct request for your prospect to buy from you. It is also known as closing the sale.

Many salespeople hesitate or delay asking for the sale because they fear rejection or losing the deal. However, if you have followed the previous steps and provided enough value to your prospect, asking for the sale should be a natural and logical conclusion of the sales cycle.

You can ask for the sale by:

  • Summarizing the benefits and value of your product or service
  • Confirming that you have addressed all the objections or concerns of your prospect
  • Suggesting a specific action or next step for your prospect
  • Using a trial close or a test close to gauge the readiness of your prospect
  • Using a direct close or an assumptive close to finalize the deal

How Long Is the Average B2B Sales Cycle?

One of the most important factors that affect the success of B2B sales is the length of the sales cycle. The sales cycle is the time it takes from the first contact with a potential customer to the final purchase decision. The longer the sales cycle, the more resources and efforts are required to close the deal, and the higher the risk of losing the customer to a competitor. According to a report by Zippia, the average B2B sales cycle is between 1-6 months. For new customers who have never done business with a B2B company, 48.5% of them will fall under a sales cycle that is either 1-3 months or 4-6 months. Especially for newer customers, the sales tend to lean on the longer side, as 28.2% of sales cycles are 4-6 months long.

How to Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle?

A shorter sales cycle can benefit both the seller and the buyer, as it can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction. There are several strategies that can help B2B companies shorten their sales cycles, such as:

  • Providing relevant and informative content at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This can help educate the buyer, build trust, and address their pain points and objections.
  • Using social media to reach out and engage with prospects. This can help increase brand awareness, generate leads, and establish relationships.
  • Automating and optimizing lead nurturing processes. This can help save time, personalize communication, and move prospects along the funnel.
  • Aligning sales and marketing teams. This can help create a consistent message, streamline workflows, and increase collaboration.

By implementing these strategies, B2B companies can shorten their sales cycles and increase their chances of closing more deals in less time.

References:

https://www.infosys.com/about/knowledge-institute/insights/Documents/future-customer-engagement.pdf

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00343409950081275

https://archive.org/details/ecommerceformula00plan/page/26

https://www.zippia.com/advice/b2b-statistics/
https://www.gartner.com/en/sales/insights/b2b-buying-journey
https://www.articulatemarketing.com/blog/stats-b2b-sales
https://blog.hellostepchange.com/blog/the-industry-average-b2b-sales-cycle-length

https://www.salesken.ai/blog/b2b-sales-cycle

https://www.salesforce.com/in/blog/2021/12/b2b-sales.html

https://blog.hellostepchange.com/blog/the-industry-average-b2b-sales-cycle-length



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