Too many businesses are shooting in the dark when it comes to optimising their sales cycle.
Most people realise that making your sales cycle the best can be crucial for business success, especially in the B2B world.
That’s why we want to help you sharpen your focus, concentrate on the things that really move the needle, and help you boost your sales figures.
When you consider that a typical B2B sales cycle clocks in at around 102 days, anything you can do to optimise this cycle and bring that figure down will be beneficial.
So, what is the solution?
A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is the key to successful sales cycle optimisation.
In this article, we’ll talk about how implementing a powerful, yet easy-to-use CRM can make a positive difference to your bottom line.
Sales cycle – deconstructed
We’re not going to patronise you by talking too much about the basic mechanics of a sales cycle – if you’re here, you probably know most of that stuff already.
What we would like to do is give you a quick overview of a typical sales journey, then dive straight into how a CRM can help you optimise the different stages.
The basic sales cycle flow goes something like this:
The basic sales cycle flow goes something like this:
Prospecting > Initial contact > Qualifying leads > Nurturing leads > Make an offer > Negotiations > Close the sale/deal
The cycle is then completed by existing customers or clients who refer your product or service to others which means that the process starts over again.
Also, there is a customer retention stage, but this is usually considered as separate to the sales cycle. Customer retention is more related to customer service and support, which is another area that can be assisted by a CRM. Did you know that…
Applying a CRM to optimise your sales cycle
Now, let’s look at each relevant stage in the sales cycle and how a CRM, combined with a well thought off or online sales strategy, will help to improve the productivity of your sales team and cut the average time taken to seal a deal.
A good CRM platform will give you a 360° overview of your leads and prospects. The type of data you will get includes demographics, location, and behaviour insights. All of this data can be analysed to help you target your prospecting efforts much more effectively.
A CRM gives you a single, centralised place to store the details of all your prospects. You can then use your CRM to build up detailed customer profiles, add sales scripts, and create communication templates which will be easy to access for your sales team and will help them to make a successful first contact.
Some sales CRM platforms, such as Efficy, allow you to integrate with third party applications that enable sales team members to qualify leads more efficiently. An API can easily and quickly be added that enables automatic tracking of email open rates and other behavioural metrics.
Nurturing a lead is all about good, highly-focused communication. A CRM helps to automate tasks like email sending and also gives you plenty of data insights into your leads so you can create highly tailored and value-driven email nurture sequences.
The data you get from your CRM helps you to present attractive and personalised offers to your leads. A CRM will also help your sales team to streamline the process of sending out offers to multiple leads automatically.
The negotiation stage of the sales cycle is all about answering queries and countering objections. This stage can be facilitated by implementing a CRM platform that automates communication and includes features such as auto dialling and automatic customer or lead data display.
Close the sale or deal
The final stage of the sales cycle is closing the deal. The whole process leads up to this point and each stage has been assisted by CRM data, sales materials, communication, and task automation.
The main benefit of a CRM is that it saves a lot of time on mundane sales cycle tasks such as data entry, data analysis, and looking up prospect information. This means that sales staff can spend more time actually talking to leads and moving them towards a sale. Learn more about Lead Management downloading our free handbook where we reveal all the secrets.
Developing a CRM-enhanced sales cycle strategy
Now that you know how a CRM can be applied to boost each stage of the sales cycle, the next step is to create a strategy that has a high likelihood of success.
You can use the data tracked and generated by your CRM to take specific actions within an overall framework or sales strategy. For example:
- Create an ideal customer profile or avatar – Use your CRM data to find details of existing and previous customers or clients with the largest deal sizes, fastest conversion times, and highest recurring revenue. You can analyse the data further to find out what these customers have in common – i.e. location, business size, and how fast their business management is growing. Once you have this information, you can generate an ideal customer profile to help inform your marketing and lead generation campaigns.
- Use a scoring system to qualify leads – Qualifying leads is an important part of the sales cycle and shouldn’t be overlooked. You can use the data extracted from your CRM to assign a score to leads, based on how closely they match your ideal customer profile. You can also segment your lead lists into different categories based on their score.
- Nudge leads towards a sale – A CRM is the perfect tool to help you identify leads that have stalled in the sales pipeline and are likely to drop out, or those who are moving more slowly than desired. Once identified, you can focus the attention of your sales team and use nurturing techniques to speed up the sale.
- Create case studies or success stories – Once you have built up a good database of clients or customers, you can analyse the data to find those that have been successful and use their stories to generate case studies. Case studies act as good social proof for other leads, helping to convince them that your solution is the right one for them and nudging them towards a sale.
Find out how Efficy is the best option for your business!
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