Every salesperson’s dream is to shorten the time between generating a lead and closing the sale. Trust me when I say it is easier said than done. But the quicker you get your customers through the sales funnel, the better for your business. A shorter channel sales cycle frees up time for your sales team and your channel partners to generate more leads. More leads equate to increased market share and an increase in profitability.
Long and short, a shortened channel sales cycle will basically contribute to the overall growth of your business. That’s what we all want, right?
Here are a few things you can do to shorten the channel sales cycle:
Implement a sales tool
Putting a portal in place is probably the most valuable thing you can do to shorten your channel sales cycle. Think about all the time your sales team and channel partners spend on manual processes. The time that could be spent on many other facets of your sales process. A CMR that can integrate with Opportunity Management (OM) software is the ticket. An OM module automates a bunch of processes your sales channel partners have traditionally done manually, like updating spreadsheets and scheduling follow-up calls. A sales tool can also capture critical sales data during the entire opportunity process. This will help you identify and solve potential channel sales and channel marketing problems early in their respective cycles.
Narrow down your prospects
Target your market to customers that are more likely to convert. Pinpoint buyers who have been identified as likely to purchase your product or service. Then, you need to research this audience, so you know exactly how to craft your messaging. Researching your prospective buyer will also help you build rapport once you do make initial contact. Now that you’ve identified your prospects, lean on your marketing channels to create targeted messaging. Multi-tiered marketing campaigns using inbound marketing and social media is the way to go.
Develop lead generation process
Put a strategy in place that will eliminate the need to actively seek leads. And watch the leads come to you. Look to your highest performing sales channels to glean which leads deliver the highest conversion rate. Also, pinpoint which leads generate the quickest conversions. Now you have a bunch of likely leads on your hands that your sales team can prioritize and zero in on.
Kick cold leads to the curb
It is not always about quantity. Quality leads are more impactful to reaching your goals of shortening the channel sales cycle. Think about it. Would you rather spend time pitching to 100 cold leads or 10 sure things? Take a bit of advice from the late great Steve Jobs, who said, and I quote, “Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” With the time you save targeting real prospects, you can hit more quality leads that are likely to convert.
Study your sales process
The sales process provides a roadmap of sorts for your sales team. And your sales team needs to know each step of the sales funnel inside and out. They also need to develop a plan for each stage of the process to actively engage customers. This is so your sales team can strike while the iron is hot. This is also the perfect opportunity to look for any gaps in your sales process that you need to tighten up.
Forecast your sales
Predicting future sales with sales forecasting will give your sales team a proactive lens to your sales process. Sales forecasting basically brings proactivity to the process. It eliminates the time-killer of chasing empty leads. A forecast provides a look ahead so you can plan accordingly.
Don’t leave your leads hanging
Poor follow-up is the last thing you want to do after you’ve generated real potential leads who are likely to convert. You don’t want all that hard work to go right down the drain. Have a system in place for follow up. This means actively scheduling follow-up calls. Remember that OM module sales tool we said was a good idea to implement? An OM module has the functionality to automatically schedule follow-up calls for you.