While a B2C sales cycle takes a few days or weeks, a B2B sales cycle can stretch to several months. After all, B2B businesses are much more than selling Netflix or Amazon Prime memberships, right?
These long B2B sales cycles slow down the sales process and take up a lot of resources. Your prospects might end up losing interest in the deal. This can send the deal to a state of dormancy, which can lead to a sheer waste of time and resources.
So, what’s the solution? Simple, it is B2B sales acceleration.
What is Sales Acceleration?
Sales acceleration refers to the strategies and processes B2B businesses use to shorten their sales cycles. The motive here is to improve the efficiency of the entire sales process and convert a lead into a paying customer more frequently and quickly.
As stated earlier, B2B businesses naturally have a long sales cycle which leads to
- Reduced efficiency of revenue teams
- Long drawn deals delaying conversions
- Increased likelihood of losing deals
As a B2B organization, you can craft your own sales acceleration strategy to close more deals quickly and maximize revenue.
What Sales Acceleration Strategies Do Businesses Follow to Reduce Sales Cycles
Here’re some sales acceleration strategies businesses follow to reduce sales:
1. Proactive Response
Companies have learnt this lesson. They are trying to respond instantly to their customers or prospects. No company wants to keep their potential buyers waiting and lose their chances of making a sale. For instance, a study by Lead Connect revealed that 78% of the B2B customers buy from companies that respond to their queries first.
2. Process Automation
B2B companies are always on the lookout to automate redundant tasks such as maintaining excel sheets or generating reports using tools like CRM and marketing automation. The sales team saves time, which they can use for customer success and nurture new relationships. Also, automation helps cut unnecessary steps in the sales cycle, reducing the overall time to close a deal.
3. Sales coaching and training
Several sales teams still operate using obsolete training manuals, methods and tools, which pushes them behind sales teams trained on the latest tools and methods.
Keeping this in mind, several B2B companies are training their employees on and providing them with the latest tools to perform better and measure their revenue efforts. And when sales reps perform better, companies tend to make more sales.
4. Using data and analytics
Several B2B companies are now using real-time and historical customer data to separate quality leads from bad-fit customers through lead scoring or account scoring. Insights from these data can also help revenue teams track buying journeys and shine light on the account-specific engagement activities. This can tremendously reduce the sales cycle and help businesses with revenue generation.
Even Mckinsey says that a data-driven sales approach can make your business 6% more profitable than competitors. So, start using data and analytics today.
Here’s a Sales Acceleration Formula That You Can Use
The Sales Acceleration Formula is a book by Mark Roberge (Professor Harvard Business School) that talks about the effective use of data, technology and inbound selling to accelerate your sales. The book elaborates on how to build a winning sales team that can set up and repeat a successful sales strategy. In this section, we’ll talk briefly about essential aspects of the formula that you can implement in your business.
Part 1: Sales hiring formula
This part of the book talks about how your ideal salesperson should be. Here are the personal characters Mark wants you to look for in your sales rep:
- Prior Success
- Work Ethics
Part 2: Sales training formula
In this section, Robert stresses on training your sales team correctly. Instead of using your sales reps for the skill they don’t possess, you should focus on finding their unique superpowers and groom them for the same. Doing this will help your sales reps scale and eventually improve sales.
Part 3: Sales management formula
This part talks about how teaching one concept at a time to your sales reps is better than bombarding multiple concepts at once.
Part 4: Demand generation formula
The demand generation formula motivates businesses to create good content more frequently. The motive is to generate demand for your content and bring inbound leads.
Part 5: Technology
This part, as the name suggests, focuses on the use of technology to achieve better sales. Some of the technologies you can use to accelerate your sales are:
- Lead scoring: Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads based on how they engage with you. This helps locate high-quality leads and makes the job of sales reps easier.
- Data visualisation: Data-driven marketing strategies work wonders. However, you need to know how to use the data in your favour. And that’s what data visualization is. Using suitable tools, you can visualize data in a digestible manner and use it for making better revenue decisions.
- CRM: Using CRMs you can manage your customers, leads, and prospects on a single platform. This will help your sales reps stay organised.
- Email tracking: Email tracking can help you check the performance of your campaigns. You can track metrics such as email open rate and determine whether your emails are working or not.
- Predictive analytics: You can use predictive analytics to understand customer behavior. Predictive analytics tools will give you the intel to engage with prospects at the right time in the right manner.
Some more sales acceleration tools to boost your sales strategy include revenue intelligence, sales engagement platform, and conversion intelligence.
Make your sales acceleration strategy repeatable
Most organizations focus on the above tools and processes. However, they seem to miss out on harnessing the data from all their active platforms to build a revenue attribution model. This means most B2B companies, even after successfully accelerating sales don’t have a clear idea on how they achieved it. By understanding the activities and channels that bring in the most revenue, you can create a predictable and scalable sales acceleration system. After all, what’s the use of developing a sales strategy that is successful but can’t be repeated or scaled.