How to reduce your sales cycle length

Blog

Zack Cronin

Decrease your sales cycle length by improving your demos with a demo experience platform.

The sales cycle length is a crucial sales metric monitored by every level of the organization, from managers to the executive level, and even on to investors.

Why? The timing of revenue generation is crucial for nearly everything in sales. Sales cycle length impacts everything from forecasting to hiring, investments, acquisitions, improvements, even new features.

A quicker sales cycle means:

  • Revenue is realized quicker, and more is generated in a given amount of time
  • Investments necessary to optimize the business, such as new technology or headcount, can be made sooner
  • The pace of innovation increases, meaning the product becomes more competitive, faster
  • More logos are captured within a given period
  • Overall business performance increases

According to Hubspot, the average SaaS B2B sales cycle length is 83 days. Other studies have pinned B2B buying cycles at longer than four months.

This means that a typical B2B deal will either close at the very end of, or outside of the quarter in which it began.

To be more competitive, revenue teams must seek to shorten the length of their sales cycle as much as possible. But how?

How to reduce sales cycle length

Many of the current strategies to reduce sales cycle length utilize more technical methods that involve the use of technology. Such as:

1. Automating repetitive tasks

Tools can streamline sellers’ workflows like data entry, meeting notes, forecasting, and reporting so they can spend less time doing administrative tasks and more time talking with buyers and advancing deals.

2. Self-scheduling through shared calendar links

Eliminate the constant back and forth emailing to schedule meeting times with a simple link that allows buyers to choose the best time to meet for them in a few clicks.

3. Enable document collaboration, sharing, and signing from anywhere

For faster reviews and signatures, revenue teams can employ platforms that allow for the remote viewing and signing of NDA’s, purchase agreements, and so on.

4. Automatic meeting reminders and follow-up

Rather than sellers individually tracking each meeting, sales tools can send automatic meeting reminders to all participants. This helps ensure meeting attendance so deals can progress forward in a timely manner.

5. Lead scoring and prioritization

Revenue platforms track each lead’s activity and engagement with multiple factors, including website visits, emails, meeting participation, and so on. They score these leads to help sellers prioritize the hottest and most interested contacts who will ideally close quickly.

There are also non-technical methods of decreasing sales cycle length. These include:

1. Agree upon goals before each call

To make the most of every engagement, sellers should discuss the goals for each call with their buyers. That way they can ensure common checkpoints are being met and that a timeline for the deal can be followed.

2. Surface objections early

The earlier objections to a deal are surfaced, the quicker a deal can move. Sales reps can address any issues with a deal at the beginning, so they don’t arise later and throw off the process.

3. Use social proof

Buyers will rarely take a seller’s word. Instead, leverage social proof to show the value your product has generated at other, similar organizations. When buyers see success first hand, they are more likely to purchase, quicker.

4. Discuss pricing early

Don’t let the price become a surprise. It’s best to discuss pricing at the beginning of the deal. That way, buyers will understand the value they get for their money, and there’s no haggling at the end to slow a deal down.

5. Align marketing and sales messaging

Sales and marketing must work together to achieve their goals. When this isn’t happening, the sales cycle can suffer. HubSpot research shows that sales only rates 7% of leads they received from their marketing organizations as high quality. There must be a constant feedback loop of not only the quality of leads but also the conversations that they are having.

Marketing-sourced leads see all types of ads, messages, and content before they talk to sales. So, they come with certain expectations. When sales doesn’t deliver that same messaging, they start from nothing. Align your sales and marketing messaging to maintain momentum and speed up the sales cycle.

Shortening the sales cycle with a demo experience platform

The demo is the single more important component of your sales process. It shows the buyer exactly how your solution will look, act, and work for them. It is the moment that will make or break a deal.

Yet, in many sales processes, the demo takes weeks to get to. There are multiple conversations, endless back and forth, at least one discovery call, all piling up before the actual product is even shown. This creates a major traffic jam that significantly slows the momentum of any deal.

This is the exact opposite of what buyers want. In fact, Hubspot found that 54% of prospects want to see how the product works on the first call.

To significantly decrease the length of your sales cycle, give your buyers a demo as soon as possible.

This is difficult for many reasons. Buyers don’t buy based on generic pitches, generalized demos, and non-specific value propositions. To be most effective, everything your buyer is exposed to should be personalized to them.

But, personalized demos don’t scale well. Typically sales engineers must build out custom instances for each demo that feature familiar names, logos, and numbers, and so on. Depending on their workload, this alone can take weeks.

Then, there is the constant worry that a demo environment may not be fully functional, stable, or may even look different. Sellers don’t want to show a demo on the first call as they fear that they may not be showing the best version of their product.

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