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Common Questions and Answers
One of the biggest challenges faced by a sales team working in a B2B environment is an arduously long sales cycle. A study by Demand Gen concludes that the B2B buyer-journeys are becoming time-consuming, unpredictable and more complicated. For instance, your business team nurtures a lead for 4 whole months but in the end, they decline your offer. This translates into your team wasting their precious time nurturing the wrong lead.
Strategizing to shorten your B2B sales cycle will help increase conversions by targeting leads that are better suited to you, and therefore more susceptible to convert. Before we go into the details of how to shorten a B2B sales cycle, it is essential to understand why these cycles are long.
In a B2C sales set up, a business only has to convince an individual to purchase their goods and services but in a B2B scenario, there is a whole hierarchy of employees who need convincing before they can be converted into sales. Therefore, B2B sales cycles have long-drawn and almost bureaucratic processes involving multiple decision-makers slowing them down.
In B2B, each sale demands an in-depth understanding of the buyer’s procedures. Be it a product or a service, businesses have to seamlessly tailor and integrate their solutions into the pre-existent business operations of their customers which elongates the sales cycle. Sounds excruciating, doesn’t it? Do not lose patience as you can employ the following strategies that will help shorten your B2B sales cycles –
It can be commonly observed that the sales teams waste a tremendous amount of time and resources in pursuing unqualified leads that tend to engage in sales-related conversations for an extended period, only to turn them down after extracting valuable information. A careful selection of customer persona is imperative to avoid interacting with unqualified leads. Brainstorm with your sales team and derive a better picture of the leads to be targeted and strategies that can be devised to approach and engage them.
After unraveling these personas, create high-quality personalized content and optimize it in a way that encourages the qualified leads to get drawn to it. Take a problem-solving approach with your potential customers. Prove your value by showing that you can provide actionable solutions for their business, and not by presenting your general sales pitch.
Ideally, a sales cycle is shortened when your buyer is in urgent need to solve a problem. Seize such an opportunity and focus on pitching a relevant solution rather than a general one. Finding such potential clients is possible only by investing time and resources in the initial stages.
Instituting a formal sales process will help in optimizing your sales cycle. A detail-oriented process ensures that your entire sales team is on the same page and is fully aware of each stage of your sales plan. Even though your clients may come from different verticals, a formalized sales process ensures that they get a uniform-quality experience, regardless of who they deal with from your sales team. This uniformity will help your business earn the trust of a buyer quickly, thus shortening the sales cycle.
A well-identified sales structure also allows a business to identify internal problem areas and inefficiencies that may typically lead to prolonged sales processes. Think of a sales structure as a roadmap for successful B2B sales closures.
The decision-making process in B2B space is usually a cumulative effort by a diverse team. It is critical for a seller to know who these people are and network with them beforehand. However, there is usually a hierarchy within these teams, and there are always certain people whose decisions matter more than the others.
In fact, according to Discover.org, sales teams only need to convince the dominant influencer in a buying committee, 90% of the time to get results. Determine the key decision-maker involved and research and analyze their preferences and buying behaviors. This will not only help improve returns on sales but will also shorten the sales cycle.
Also, understand that each decision-maker comes from a distinct area and may impact the sales process differently. In B2B sales, it is not enough to know the names of collectives that can be a part of your potential clientele. It is also critical to know the key decision-makers within these collectives and prepare processes to target them.
B2B clients seek out other businesses to aid them when they are looking for solutions that cannot be accomplished internally. Therefore, a business must be ready to demonstrate their capability of addressing pain points.
But, how can you address pain points without being aware of them? You can do this through restructuring your cold call script to majorly focus on uncovering your potential client’s issues. Instead of asking your qualified leads generic questions about their goals and pitching them your business, ask discovery questions that dig deeper into their big business challenges.
Directly addressing their pain-points is part of the early lead nurturing process, and is imperative. After paying heed to their concerns, strategize and pitch solutions to specifically address said problems.
The quicker your sales team can identify and pitch solutions, the shorter the sales cycle becomes. Addressing your customers’ pain points accurately also gives you an edge over the competition.
Understand that B2B sales, unlike B2C sales, never happen on an impulse. They are carefully thought-out decisions made by clients that take time. Knowing your individual prospects inside-out will help you develop an emotional connection with them. This will lead to repeat business and will also shorten your B2B sales cycle.
To develop an emotional connection with your high-priority leads, take interest in their lives and design compelling messages that match their preferences. Be available for them and develop a long-term work friendship through honesty. By equipping your clients with the right knowledge and information, you will help them visualize the benefits of your business offerings.
These are a few tried-and-tested strategies for shortening your B2B sales cycle. If you carefully read through all the aforementioned steps, you will find that there is one factor that is common in all the points, i.e. they are all in some way dependent on identifying leads and building an interactive relationship with them. Simply put, the better you care for your client’s requirements, the shorter your sales cycles and the higher your return on investments.
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