3 Surprising Strategies to Improve Your Sales Cycle

April 4, 2019 Brian Birkett

Sales tools and automation are key drivers to capture leads and move them down the funnel, but you can’t overlook the importance of having a relationship with your customers. Data collection and analysis can help empower customer or lead insights, but there are three critical parts of the customer experience that must be incorporated in your sales cycle in order to be successful: focusing on the customer’s end goal, personal rapport and addressing their unique needs. Here’s how to empower your teams to drive those key conversations with leads to close the deal and shorten the sales cycle.

#1: Connect to What Matters Most

Your business likely offers many kinds of solutions, but you must remember the classic saying, “customers want a hole, not a drill.” You need to make sure your sales team helps its leads understand that your solution will help them accomplish their desired outcome - the thing that matters most to them. Although this will vary from customer to customer, your sales team will close leads faster by taking what your business can offer and tying to the specific desired outcome.

While a sales rep can infer quite a lot from the materials leads read on your site, or the search term that brought them to your site, you should still ensure your sales team is taking the time to ask leads what their end goal is. Reminding leads of your ability to help them achieve their end goal throughout the sales cycle will make conversations around pricing and terms more successful. Why? Leads will be focused on what is most important, their goal and the fact that you’re going to help them achieve it.

Bonus: Ensure your sales reps record that end goal so customer service can also reference it. If you start to see higher instances of specific goals, your marketing team can develop collateral to address how your business helps with those goals to bring in even more leads that will make ideal customers.

#2: Make the Sale Personal

Business is personal! Building rapport and trust with leads is essential to winning their business. In his book How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie explains that one of the most important tactics in creating influence is to use someone’s first name; it sounds elementary, but it really works: studies found that individuals are more likely to buy from you if you use their name throughout the sales process. This is because personalization builds trust and rapport.

Building trust and rapport can also include other personalization elements such as asking how their day or week is going, uncovering a mutual interest, or another commonality such as kids, dogs or even graduating from the same college. Adding elements of personalization to the sales cycle will provide a better customer experience, make the sale more likely and help your team close the lead faster.

All these personal elements can be shared and leveraged across your wider revenue opportunities team through your CRM system. Customer service reps can continue to provide personalized communication throughout the customer lifecycle and marketing can ensure all emails are tailored to their name.

#3: Acknowledge Unique Aspects

Every customer or business owner feels their business or need is unique. If your sales reps address this, they’ll win the sale. Reference the leads’ unique requirements or special team needs to help illustrate that you understand them, they are heard and that you’re offering a solution that truly fits the bill. Finding out a lead’s unique needs or demands will also empower the sales cycle; a sales rep will develop a better understanding of what matters most to the lead or company, and which additional key stakeholders are involved in the process. Addressing what a lead believes is their unique requirements head on will help your team close the deal and shorten the sales cycle.

Remember, too, that this lead intel can be leveraged by your wider rev ops teams to develop a deeper understanding of what makes an ideal customer for the business and how best to target them.

High-tech and automated sales techniques are great, but don’t forget about the all-important personal touch. It will lead to increased sales and position your sales team as a group that really cares about its customers.

About the Author

Brian Birkett

Brian is a long time sales executive and sales leader. He’s responsible for leading global revenue at LeanData as the SVP of Sales. He brings a diverse background in sales management experience spanning from startups to large public companies (LinkedIn, Yahoo!) in both field and inside sales.

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