How Can Sales Teams Improve Their Sales Cycles?
The main goal of any business looking to improve its revenue tech stack is most likely to speed up its sales cycles, close more deals, and generate more revenue. That’s a given.
However, upgrading technology and automation is only a part of that process. In fact, rushing into the wrong tech stack is likely to hurt you and your client acquisition and retention process. More on that later, but there are three things that every organization should do to first improve your current sales cycles, which we believe is a main driving force in closing more sales and scaling revenue. Both marketing and sales teams play a role in shortening the sales cycle.
Marketing’s focus should be on generating qualified leads based on your ICP and buyer intent and ensuring a smooth transition from marketing to sales. The customer experience shouldn’t be interrupted during that handoff. An aligned revenue tech stack helps alleviate interruption by allowing both revenue teams to share data and share in the top-of-funnel process.
But let’s dig into how the sales team specifically can shorten the sales cycle.
1. Utilize Data
I’ll continue shouting this from the mountain tops because it’s so crucial to scaling revenue — opinions are valuable, but data is priceless.
Most sales leaders have important opinions on the sales cycle and what can be improved. However, if those opinions are not rooted in statistics, they are ultimately irrelevant. Opinions must be backed by data in order to make any significant changes.
Clean data doesn’t lie, and when you have the correct technology in place to gather the right data, you can update your sales process accordingly. Take this as an example:
Salesperson Sam has continually missed their sales goals, and as a sales leader, you think it’s because they rarely meet with true decision-makers. With that opinion in place, you use the right technology to track who they most often meet with and discover their prospecting efforts are focused mainly on end-users rather than decision-makers. With your opinion now validated by data, you can create a coaching plan to correct that behavior, put your product in front of more decision-makers, and help Sam close more deals.
It’s crucial to remember that sales organizations need a dedicated person who is responsible for providing access to this data — a RevOps analyst, researcher, or other reliable data expert.
2. Understand Your Current Sales Cycle
All too often, sales teams expect updated tech stacks to be the end-all, be-all for their sales cycle and sales process woes. But if you don’t know how that technology will support — or more importantly, improve — your current sales process, it will ultimately be ineffective.
To understand your current offering more clearly, write out every step of the sales process, define the stages, and create gates, or steps that are required to be accomplished before moving onto the next one. From here, you can see more clearly where steps are redundant, unnecessary, and unclear.
This understanding is crucial if you hope to improve your sales cycle and implement the right technology.
3. Look to Your Top Performers
High-achieving sales reps are good at what they do for a reason. They’re often able to take multi-step processes and consolidate them into one or two steps, ultimately saving time and improving sales success.
Look to these high-performing sales reps to remodel your current sales cycle, because chances are they have figured something out. In my past sales experience, I was able to shorten our five-step sales cycle which usually took four to eight weeks into one step. How?
Before the initial qualification call, I learned key stakeholders who needed to be involved in product demos and final decisions. Using this knowledge, I combined every remaining step into one meeting that consisted of qualification, product demo, and final sale.
Simplifying steps is a surefire way to improve sales cycles — but does your current technology prepare you to do that?
What Type of Revenue Organization Are You?
We advocate for the use of technology and automation frequently, but it’s important to understand which type of revenue organization you currently are to assess your true tech stack needs.
- Under-Dependant on Technology — These organizations are afraid of change and prefer to do things the old way — manually. This creates long sales cycles, clunky client interactions, human error, and other revenue-damaging side effects.
- Over-Dependant on Technology — On the opposite side of the spectrum is the over-adopters who view their tech stack as the certain solution for all of their marketing, sales, and customer success challenges. If someone suggests it, they adopt it. This over-reliance on technology often leads to a lack of training and creates more confusion than existed previously.
- The Sweet Spot of Technology — This is where all organizations should be striving to be. These revenue organizations use technology appropriately to eliminate tedious manual tasks without putting additional strain on marketers, sales reps, and customer success reps to master a handful of unintegrated technologies.
Selecting and Implementing the Right Technology for Your Needs
Whether you are in the first category and need to improve your tech stack or you fall in the second bucket and need to simplify it, the next step is actually making the decision on which technology to implement. Now, there are hundreds of technologies and software that you can add to your organization, so we won’t spend the time going over each individually.
However, there are certain steps to take to begin assessing your technology options and their ability to improve your client acquisition and retention. Here’s how to do it:
- Create a Problem Matrix — If you don’t know the specific problems you are trying to solve, how can you expect to magically select the right technology? Creating a problem matrix clearly outlines the problems that your revenue team needs to fix — are you specifically trying to shorten the sales cycle by automating proposal data entry, or do you want to simply improve the visibility of your brand, driving more automated top of funnel leads? Perhaps reducing customer churn is top of your list? Answering these questions early in the process allows you to vet vendors specific to your problems and your problems alone.
- Represent Every Person in the Revenue Funnel Process — Within this problem matrix, it’s important to make sure that everyone’s needs are met. Chances are that different players in the client acquisition process — from marketing to SDRs, BDRs, account managers, sales leaders, etc. and into customer success or account management — will all use pieces of technology differently. You need to make sure that your tech stack meets those unique needs.
- Customize Implementation — Again, organizations all have different problems from one another. The technology you select should not be cookie-cutter dropped into your organization. Ensure your RevOps team can build out a customized solution that solves your challenges across the entire revenue cycle from the first touchpoint in marketing, through the sales process, and into customer success, renewals, or offboarding.
- Training — Arguably the most important step of the process, your RevOps team must be able to train everyone on the new tech stack and ensure they are getting the most of this investment. Without training, there is no universal adoption, which ultimately ends up costing you significantly in the long run. We recommend building a custom SOP for your tech stack with screenshots and short recorded videos.
- Accountability — Lastly, there needs to be organization-wide accountability for complete adoption of the tech stack. Many people may not want to change from how they’ve been doing things previously. It’s on you as a leader to hold revenue team members accountable.
Take the Next Steps
If you’re ready to take the next step and improve your tech stack to benefit your revenue department, House of Revenue is here to help. We know that full RevOps teams may be difficult to come by for many organizations.
Rather than spend the time and energy staffing an entire department, our revenue experts can help you vet, demo, implement, and conduct training on the most important technology solutions you may be missing. Call us today to get started!