10 proven strategies for shortening the sales cycle in B2B
Richard is an accomplished sales professional with a strong track record and extensive experience in driving enterprise-level customer relationships.
Reading time:10 m
According to the results from the poll we conducted among our community, the average B2B sales cycle length is 30–60 days. But this is a rather positive scenario, as for 75% of B2B companies it takes at least 4 months to win a new customer.
Involvement of numerous decision makers, the complexity of B2B products, and risk prevention are just some of the factors impacting sales cycle length. So it is important to have a systematized process and a thoughtful sales journey so that your sales cycle is exactly as long as it should be in your industry.
This guide is packed with insights on how to do it. Read on to find out the 10 best-working and tested strategies that will speed up your sales.
So what stands behind a shortened sales cycle? What bottlenecks will be diminished once you start elaborating upon your sales cycle length? Here are some core benefits we outlined:
You spend fewer resources to close the lead. Long sales cycles lead to increased customer acquisition costs and diminish the possibility of closing a deal.
The customer takes fewer steps to decide. An optimized B2B sales cycle speeds up the evaluation stage of the prospect, leading them to decision-making faster.
More easy-to-follow analytics. Tracking engagements, what your prospects are clicking on, how they are responding, and other sales metrics — these are determining factors in whether you deliver valuable content to them.
You adapt and apply changes faster. Selling faster means you can gather feedback and make necessary changes to improve your product and adapt to new market needs.
Losing a lead is less likely. It takes less time to nurture the leads and correspondingly get them closer to the top of the funnel.
You get less uncertainty. When you see the traction move faster, you are more certain in what you do and able to adapt to changes in a market environment.
How to shorten a sales cycle in B2B: 10 vetted strategies
Working with our customers across 40+ industries as a sales enablement agency, we noticed that sales cycles for different businesses vary, depending on product complexity, compliance regulations, and business goals. 10 proven strategies that we are about to share fit any business case and specialization.
Related webinar: 6 winning strategies to shorten your sales cycle in B2B
1. Clearly define your ideal customers
Having access to data will definitely extend your opportunities to understand your prospect’s needs and get closer to them. Conduct comprehensive market research to gain in-depth insights into their expectations and pain points. By developing a profound understanding of your ideal customer profile (ICP), you can customize your approach and communication to establish a stronger connection with your audience. This will facilitate a smoother and more efficient progression of potential customers through the B2B sales funnel.
According to the Ascend2 report, over three-quarters (78%) of marketing and sales teams stated that they screen their leads for quality to some extent. With well-thought lead scoring systems, you ensure that you prioritize spending time and resources with the most important leads first. Consider a set of qualifications that you might look for in your leads such as budget, authority, demographics, company size, needs, timeline, etc. This relates not only to the company but to the title you’re targeting.
Also, there are other ways you can classify your leads to make a sales cycle shorter. Find out more in Belkins’ comprehensive guide on lead qualification.
3. Personalize your outreach
Without personalization in C-level selling, businesses risk getting into a low-loyalty environment. 76% of consumers get frustrated when they don’t find it, and they are more likely to purchase when brands apply personalization in their sales strategies. For this purpose, you need to identify prospects’ challenges and pain points and adapt your sales pitch accordingly. This helps build trust and ensure the prospect that your solution is exactly the one they need.
72% of successful companies are incorporating automation software in their workflows. This actually makes your outreach and communication faster and more efficient. With cutting-edge technologies, you can automate tasks such as sending follow-up emails, meeting scheduling, lead scoring and nurturing, repetitive assignments, content distribution, and other content management tasks.
Businesses that integrate advanced automation into their sales processes experience a remarkable 16% increase in lead generation compared to those that adopt minimal or no automation.
At Belkins, one of the essential factors fostering the shortening of the sales cycle is the integration of HubSpot CRM. It allows businesses to synchronize marketing and sales tools, expedite lead qualification, and systemize processes in a more flexible and optimized manner.
One of the reasons for such a difference is that it prevents leads from getting stuck at any stage of the funnel and helps them progress rapidly through it. Furthermore, when your processes work like clockwork, it’s easier to track failures and determine their reasons.
So it is crucial to dive deep into each stage within the process and evaluate potential actions. Identify the areas to be adjusted, tweaked, or even removed in order to get a more efficient sales cycle. For instance:
Identify key decision-makers and schedule demos with them. This will significantly speed up the process of decision-making and give you an understanding of whether your efforts are worth it.
Define the prospects’ action that moves them to the next stage. Here you need to understand what impacts their decisions and how long it takes.
Tailor content according to the specific stage of the sales funnel. For example, at the consideration stage, it is essential to nurture your leads with meet-the-team videos, case studies, webinars, etc.
Once you deliver value to all the decision-makers, it’s time to optimize your initial sales call by providing pricing and plan details so that you don’t need to have additional calls that can slow down the process.
6. Be persistent with follow-ups
41% of businesses state that following up with leads quickly is one of the top barriers to successful lead conversion. According to Belkins’ research on sales follow-up in B2B, waiting 3 days before following up brings the greatest increase in reply rate (31%), whereas the optimal time to wait before following up is between 2 and 5 days.
Harnessing the power of social proof, such as customer testimonials and case studies, can remarkably expedite your sales cycle. By showcasing the positive outcomes you have already achieved for others, you establish trust with your leads and demonstrate the tangible results you can deliver. Don’t forget to highlight your success and emphasize the positive impact you have had on your satisfied customers.
Here are some examples of how we at Belkins build credibility:
Presence on such review platforms like Clutch and G2
8. Offer a great customer experience
Delivering an exceptional customer experience will also work great for reducing the sales cycle by establishing trust and fostering loyalty with your leads. The key lies in offering a personalized touch, promptly addressing inquiries, and exceeding customer expectations.
These are the following ways to improve customer experience:
Make the buying process about the buyers by personalizing the content
Work on your digital operations
Inspire and empower your employees to make customers happier
Rectify mistakes as soon as they’re identified
Profoundly evaluate the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
Increase value for customers to increase revenue
9. Collaborate with a savvy lead generation vendor
The subsequent scheduling and ongoing communication with prospects are always time-consuming. Unfortunately, this can detract from the necessary preparation time for demos, thereby impacting your ability to close deals successfully.
By hiring outsourced sales team, you get the opportunity to have your sales processes equipped with cutting-edge tech and backed by the vetted methodology that is geared toward efficient lead generation. How to pick a perfect partner? Check out our list of best appointment setting agencies.
10. Align your marketing and sales teams
Make sure your sales and marketing teams are on the same page. When these 2 teams operate independently, they can’t agree on whom they should be targeting and what tactics they use. This misalignment often leads to a shortage of quality leads for the sales team, and that’s definitely not good for the company’s bottom line. To bridge this gap, map out the buyer’s journey and sales process collaboratively.
Cohesive alignment has a significantly positive impact on the annual company revenue, brand awareness, and average deal size.
Case in point: How Belkins sped up the sales cycle for VIVIX Studios
VIVIX Studios is a 3D animation agency that produces cinematic trailers and computer-animated videos for game developers. They started a collaboration with Belkins to help them generate high-quality leads and launch tailored outreach campaigns. What facilitated the shortening of the sales cycle in this case?
In-depth research of the TA. Our lead researchers applied a defined set of parameters to score the leads and focus on those developers whose projects were in the early stage of development.
Urgency. In the emails, we outlined the need for preliminary promotion of the prospects’ video games before the launch in order to captivate their audience and foster awareness.
Personalization. Each email copy contained a unique value proposition, including the name of the video game and the date of its launch.
Such an approach helped us streamline the sales cycle, and as a result, increase email open rates by up to 50% and get 207 responses and 23 booked appointments within 3 months. This unprecedented number of meetings significantly contributed to the speed of prospects moving further through the sales pipeline.
While the average sales cycle can vary widely, it is essential for companies to develop a systematic process tailored to their own needs as well as their prospects’ unique needs. By implementing the abovementioned tactics, businesses can reap a host of benefits, including streamlined decision-making, enhanced analytics, reduced reliance on dark funnels, and higher lead conversion rates.
We’d like to outline an effective lead qualification. It ensures that valuable time and resources are allocated to the most important prospects, while personalized outreach cultivates trust and loyalty.
If you still wonder whether your sales cycle is too long, contact our expert sales team who will analyze your particular case and offer an appropriate solution specially for you.
Share the article:
Subscribe to our blog
Get the ultimate insights on the B2B trends and hands-on tips from sales professionals.
Richard is a sales professional with a strong track record and experience in driving enterprise-level customer relationships and leading cross-functional teams. Since 2015, he consistently maximizes sales opportunities across SaaS, Software Development, Ads and Marketing, Engineering, and other sectors.