The perfect sales cycle is a choreographed baton relay race that keeps your sales process moving as smoothly as possible. While many small businesses take a range of different approaches, there’s one common factor: the length of the sales cycle dictates when a deal gets closed. Of course, a shorter sales cycle is always better as it closes deals faster, saves on sales costs and produces a faster Return on Investment. Therefore, shortening the sales cycle is something that should interest you and every other small business owner.
What you will learn in this article
- The typical sales cycle length
- What you need to cut down the sales cycle
- 6 great ways that CRM can reduce the length of your sales cycle
- How Artificial Intelligence is helping small businesses
- How to get started with CRM
Just how long is your sales cycle?
Sales cycles vary from industry to industry and business to business. However, generally speaking, only 38% of businesses can say their sales cycle is under three months. The remainder (62%) have sales cycles that take longer than an entire quarter! How does yours measure up?
What you need to shorten your sales cycle
Shortening the length of your sales cycle is not down to wishful thinking. You will need the following:
- Data and business intelligence on your prospects
- A way to interpret the data and apply it to your sales tactics
- A CRM system to shine a spotlight on your customer data and guide your marketing and sales teams towards a shorter sales cycle
6 great ways to shorten your sales cycle with CRM
Get 360-degree buyer information
Leverage CRM’s information transparency to get sales and marketing to pull together. Unifying and sharing your customer data across teams allows for a more coherent business approach than a disjointed pick-n-mix system. In addition, having all the sales and marketing data easily to hand in a single location leads to better, data-driven decisions being made. You can also enjoy a faster sales cycle without the stop-starts of old.
Optimize with on-demand reporting
The reports you can run on your CRM system allow you to analyze, interpret, and fix problems. By analyzing every stage of the buyer journey, you can prevent friction from occurring in the first place. You can instantly see, thanks to CRM, what is working (e.g., marketing messaging) and what isn’t and take action as appropriate. In addition, you can keep tabs on all reports direct from your dashboard.
Set goals and motivate
Setting goals for your sales team is a well-tested method of motivating people. Goals also help you quantify sales performance in a meaningful way. You can set these goals directly within CRM. Your goals can have a time frame, be based on the volume of deals currently in the pipeline, or be specific to a product or service, or geographic area. You can then track progress from your CRM dashboard.
Automate and ditch manual
Look to automate as much of the time-consuming admin work that keeps sales staff away from customers. This, in turn, speeds up deals getting closed and shortening the sales cycle. Manual systems have salespeople updating and logging customer data, for example. But you can automate these necessary but time-devouring jobs with CRM. In addition, smart workflows streamline processes and help staff become more efficient and productive.
Set up automated email sequences
You stand a better chance of converting prospects if you engage with them as soon as they appear. A CRM can hasten the sales cycle if you set up a series of personalized emails scheduled to be sent at certain times. Using this feature, you can cover all your customer touchpoints to keep prospects hot by having a meaningful dialog with them. This results in higher conversion rates and shorter sales cycles.
Deliver personalized messaging with AI
The usual way of things is to capture prospects and then manually qualify and interact with them based on their interest. However, today, this is the long-winded version. Now you can unleash the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate capture and qualification. AI ensures no potential customers get left waiting for assistance and qualifies them in real-time.
How AI is helping small businesses
Artificial Intelligence is making waves in CRM. It can cut your sales cycle down through better teamwork and faster processes. The outcome is you and your staff can focus on strengthening customer relations and improving customer experience.
It’s AI that’s behind most of the business insights your CRM system can generate. AI searches for trends and patterns then translates them into actionable insights, forecasts, and recommendations tailor-made for you and your business.
AI plays a hand in identifying your best prospects using predictive contact scores and flags up actions to drive sales and close deals. It will even suggest the next step to drive conversations forward and handle automated chats on your website.
How to get started with CRM
Having divined why you need CRM and what you are planning to do with it, the very next step is shortlisting CRM providers.
It is highly recommended that small businesses stick with cloud-based CRM solutions. There are several compelling arguments for doing so, including:
- Ease of implementation
- Ease of use
- No IT resources are required
When you have got your shortlist together, get free trials to see which vendor is a good fit and the system’s user-friendliness. Bear in mind that much about CRM is best guess and generic. You can customize just about everything to get a more bespoke feel.
Small business owners like you are investigating and investing in CRM right now. As a tool to grow your business, strengthen customer relationships, and enhance customer experience, it’s a sure bet. So long as you have a clear vision of your requirements and buy-in from staff and senior management, you should run into few significant problems. Contact us today to go over the details. We are cloud CRM experts and well explicitly geared for small businesses.