Traditionally, sales cycles in the B2B world take on a linear feel and are in fact comprised of lots of mini sales cycles that exist within the overall timeline. These mini sales cycles are progressive; dependent upon the completion of those prior. First there’s the initial business case followed by the secondary business case. Then there’s the technical review. Next, the ROI analysis, the purchase review. Is the series of events always the same? Of course not. But this model of mini sales cycles does two things, neither of which are great.
First (and perhaps most obviously), the linear mini sales cycles effect extends the overall sales cycle. It creates waiting. IT can’t do their review until three other things are completed prior. The ROI analysis has to wait for just about everything else to happen first before it can be initiated. What could be condensed into weeks usually ends up taking months.
Second, the step-by-step nature of the linear sales cycle comprised of many smaller ones, each dependent upon the completion of those before it creates massive redundancies. While sales teams don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel each time, there’s plenty of “bringing the newly involved stakeholders up to speed,” and forwarding of impressive email threads, slide decks and other collateral. This creates sales fatigue, a lack of overall context, and ultimately, time that could’ve been spent better.
So what’s a sales team to do? After all, isn’t this just a symptom of the customer? If it were up to sales, these mini sales cycles would get nuked and deals would get knocked out in minutes not months. To an extent, this is true. Customers have their processes. They have their procedures, requirements and oversight. All of that is by necessity when the stakes are high and a six-figure purchase is about to happen. It’s risk mitigation 101.
But there are things sales teams can do to reduce close time, increase predictability-to-close and ultimately, their own productivity. It starts with shifting from a linear view to one of parallel collaboration.
These mini sales cycles more or less aren’t going away, but they can happen concurrently if sale teams focus on improving collaboration and communication and utilize technologies that facilitate such. It’s not about hounding your customer with the hopes of accelerating their processes. That’s a mission destined for failure. Instead, it’s about making it easier for them to buy.
Take the exercise of forwarding emails and re-sending sales content when it’s time to progress from one mini sales cycle to another. What if instead of that laborious process, that stuff existed centrally and it was just a matter of inviting the next batch of stakeholders? Better yet, what if because the content and collateral was centrally located, future participants — from both sides of the table — could get access and review in advance and see what folks from earlier in the sales process had to say?
The point is that if you’re able to identify the most glaring collaboration and communication hurdles to your sales process, you can figure out which technologies might be able to solve them. And that means shorter sales cycles, better close predictability, and increased productivity not just for your reps but for your customer stakeholders. Is this a core functionality of Smart Rooms? It absolutely is. Get in touch with our team if you’d like to see this in action.