Ten Ways to Accelerate your B2B Sales Cycle through Automation
Speed is of the essence in every B2B Sales Cycle. The shorter the sales cycle, the more quickly you can bring in new clients and customers - and start generating revenue. By using tools like marketing automation to nurture and score leads, you can accelerate your entire B2B sales cycle and bring in even more revenue without investing in additional headcount.
Here are just a few ways you can speed up the sales cycle in your business:
1. Automate Lead Qualification
According to Spotio, 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. If you want to close more sales in a shorter amount of time, you need to ensure that only the most qualified leads are passed onto sales. Lead scoring measures the amount of interest a prospect has demonstrated in your company, while lead grading determines just how good of a fit they are for your product. If you are spending a large portion of your budget finding and qualifying leads that never close, you can use this technique to save money and speed up your sales cycle at the same time. A tool like Einstein Lead Scoring uses artificial intelligence to score your leads according to how well they fit your company’s most successful conversion patterns, which can dramatically increase your success rate with new prospects.
2. Automate Lead Assignment
Salespeople aren’t always as good at qualifying leads as software is. They may waste hours chasing prospects who have no intention of buying. After receiving a favorable score and grade, you can assign leads to sales representatives automatically so that they only follow up with leads that are very likely to close. Focusing on quality and not quantity means you can invest the bulk of your time and resources into leads that are more likely to result in a sale.
3. Track Prospects overtime
Grading and scoring capabilities are powered by analytics and prospect tracking. The depth of information provided through this process can play a significant role in nurturing them, as well. Real-time alerts sent to sales reps’ desktops and phones give them greater information into the types of content these leads have engaged with, which actions they’ve been taking on your web pages and your product, and what appeals to them about your company. Reps can respond quickly and more efficiently, armed with the right knowledge about the customer. They can address their pain points head-on from the very first call and tailor their sales pitches accordingly.
4. Build Personal Relationships with Prospects
According to a study by Brevit, it takes at least five follow-ups to close a deal. Only 2% of sales close during the first contact, which is why reps need to build relationships with prospective customers patiently and persistently in order to close. Thankfully, automation can take care of the more tedious follow-up emails and messages, so reps can focus on having more meaningful conversations without losing touch with their prospects or losing momentum.
5. Use Content Drips
Don’t be tempted to bombard your leads with all of your content, all at once. Instead, use it more wisely. You can “drip” appropriate content to leads based on where they are during the sales cycle, and adjust your content based on their responses. When buyers have already completed research (e.g., visited your website and your competitor’s sites, read a whitepaper, sent a query), they’re already educated. Sales reps don’t need to go through the process of guessing their pain points or needs and can go straight to the close.
6. Nurture the Leads that aren’t ready to make a Purchase
Not all qualified leads are ready to buy. According to a recent Data Box survey, at least 40% of leads that qualify aren’t ready to buy. That doesn’t mean that you should let these leads go. By communicating with them over time and delivering helpful content, these leads might turn into opportunities or even sales. Automating your nurture campaigns means you never have to lose a lead to neglect.
7. Have your Sales Team Automate their Follow-ups
It can take several follow-ups to close a lead, which is why sales reps may forget to follow up or prioritize them, which can cause leads to grow cold. Use automation to send regular follow-ups to prospects, including emails, messages, or setting up meetings. This reduces the amount of time sales representatives spend on manual tasks but still enables them to stay in touch with prospects. You can use automated tools to set up regular sales cadences to reach out to customers automatically. You can easily decide how many touch points you want to have and how interactions should be structured, e.g. reaching out on LinkedIn, followed by an email, followed by a call and then a second email, etc.
8. Use Your Data
By automating your marketing and sales effort, you’ll gain access to information that can pinpoint areas for improvement. Through reports, you’ll be able to quickly determine where prospects might be getting stuck in the funnel or where conversion rates are lagging. This enables you to make improvements and reach out to prospects that aren’t moving to the next stage quickly and easily.
9. Diagnose Problems Early-on
Diagnosis is tied to the earlier point of using your data more effectively. You can use your sales reports to find out how healthy your sales pipeline is at any given moment. You’ll gain insight into how much time prospects are spending in each stage and how much revenue your sales are bringing in. The information will equip your reps with the benchmarking knowledge they need to manage their time (and their prospects) in an optimized way.
10. Campaign Reporting
Accelerating your sales cycle isn’t just about your sales funnel. You need insight into all of your marketing activities, including how various campaigns are performing. You need to examine patterns and trends, revisit your scoring and grading models as the business and market trends change, and carefully consider where you may be losing new leads.
Only a third of B2B companies have a 4-6 month sales cycle, while 18% of companies say it can take over a year to close a deal. That’s a long time to wait for your revenue to come in. By accelerating your sales cycle with automation, you can pass prospects through the sales funnel more quickly and use your time more effectively without investing in additional staff.