Shorten the Sales Cycle – Sell the Way Customer’s Want to Buy!

Last weekend I facilitated a session with Balanced Team in Chicago. Our discussion focused on increasing collaboration between Product Design and Sales across the sales and design processes. I was encouraged to observe that most of the ~40 attendees’ companies uses a sales process.

Unfortunately, only about 25% of the group agreed that they consistently follow the process and that it is well enabled with the necessary information, presentations, and tools, to ensure effective execution. As our discussion unfolded, things got more interesting.

When I probed a bit deeper on whether the attendees knew exactly how customers want to buy and whether their processes substantially match their customer’s needs, most attendees were not confident their processes were optimal.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to pull in your best sales people, who think and work in a disciplined way, and ask a number of questions:

  • What are the preferred steps in our customers’ buying process?
  • Which steps are of greatest importance to each stakeholder in the customer buying center?
  • What does each stakeholder want to learn at each step?
  • From whom, in our organization, and how, does each stakeholder want to learn?
  • What are the indicators of successful completion of each step with each stakeholder?
  • Where does the customer want us to simplify the sales process?

Once you have these questions answered, take your show on the rode and test your perspective with samples of your customers. Then integrate the insights you gather and tune up your process and support systems.

You’ll know you’ve got it right when sales cycle times (with similar types of customers) start to decrease and stakeholders in the customer organization actively do things to help you sharpen your process and move the sales process forward. Over the long-term, you will recognize the value of your efforts in increased quota attainment.

-TGK

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