Shortening the transaction cycle is one of the most effective ways to increase revenue. When deal cycles diminish, account executives can meet more leads, generate more account executives leads, and ultimately, close more sales.
But it’s not easy to shorten cycle times without compromising the sales experience or overlooking the needs of potential customers. Ryan Hart, Principal Product Manager at ZoomInfo, offers these eight actionable methods for reducing sales cycles while delivering a superior experience.
1. Use Social Proof
“It’s better to let others talk about you and use their social proof than to make bold claims yourself,” Hart says.
Real recommendations from satisfied customers are always more persuasive than the word of even the most persuasive representatives. Relying on social proof and letting your biggest fans sell to you whenever possible is an effective way to translate positive customer experiences into glowing reviews.
Hart recommends inviting clients with positive experiences, as well as highly experienced clients Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), to join review programs on sites like G2. These reviews will form the basis of testimonials that you can use to promote your products. They may also access your product listings on tours such as G2’s Highestisfaction Products.
2. Benefit from transparent pricing in pre-screening of potential unqualified customers
Few things waste an actor’s time more than going through each stage sales cycle, only for pricing to become a major hurdle in the end. Transparent pricing is allowed on your website disqualified lead To pre-check themselves out of the process if their budget is going to break the deal.
He points out that many SDRs who deal with incoming prospects are tasked with running each one through a “BANT” checklist, assessing the potential client’s budget, authority, need, and schedule. Setting a price up front allows prospects to handle the budget portion of this checklist themselves.
“When people come to your site, before they book a demo, they really determine if they qualify or not,” Hart says. “Including transparent pricing increases the likelihood that they will have the budget, so it doesn’t clog your CEO pipeline.”
3. Get a demo as soon as you can
Good product demos can focus sales conversations on the tools and features that will provide the most value to potential customers, show how your product can solve potential customers’ problems in a real-world scenario, and help potential customers portray themselves with these features.
“Whoever does the demo first, you have a huge advantage over the competition,” Hart says. “Maybe they’re not even looking for you because they found a demo and already have a contract or offer: ‘I’m so excited, I just need to talk to my boss about this right now,’ instead of, ‘OK. I have to wait for the SDR call tomorrow, so let me I keep searching.”
4. Early detection during detection
Although it can be tempting to hide a product’s weaknesses in favor of its strengths, doing so during the sales conversation can do more harm than good. Weeding out potential customers based on your product’s weaknesses may seem counterintuitive, but Hart says it’s actually much better for everyone in the long run.
“A lot of companies hide their weaknesses or problems — basically, why deals don’t work,” Hart says. “You should reveal it early because, one way or another, it will kill the deal. A lot of salespeople think, ‘We have to win the deal.’” We have to win every deal. It’s best to detect objections early, because that’s one way to get rid of these people.”
5. Keep executing trades with documented next steps
It may seem like organizational overkill, but each stage of the sales conversation needs to be clearly documented for next steps, complete with timelines and due dates. Doing so makes it easier to track SDRs on multiple deals and reduces potential disruption when a colleague has to step in to help close a deal.
“The tactic here is to keep the deals going, and take next steps on the opportunity,” Hart says. “We know where the deal is, but when is the next step? What’s next? You usually have a date field or a scheduled task. Everyone should know what the plan is and what the next steps are.”
6. Gradually close deals, then sell them
It can be tempting to try to maximize deal value by boosting sales early, but Hart recommends using gradual closings to secure business first. It’s simply easier to sell additional features once customers have tried your product.
Hart encountered this firsthand in his previous job, when his former company became a ZoomInfo customer.
My account manager didn’t try to sell me SampleThey didn’t try to sell me, says Hart get engaged. They didn’t pay for longer than a one-year deal. This made me realize, “I can put that into my budget. I can become a ZoomInfo customer. I can become a fan I can adopt their services. And then, when I start learning about FormComplete, or when my account manager keeps talking about Engage, I can say, ‘Okay Tell me more. “You’re already in the ecosystem. It’s easier to spend more money and upgrade. If you try to drive all this up front, the deal gets too big, and it probably won’t get done.”
7. Offer customer-friendly contract lengths
Some representatives are aggressively trying to force potential clients to agree to lengthy contracts in favor of their company. While these technologies can work in the short term, offering customers more favorable terms is a more sustainable approach to building long-term relationships.
“What you really want to do to increase your approach rate is to have super friendly terms, because it also allows you to be honest with your own froth and process it faster,” Hart says. “The best way for a business is to just make very friendly monthly agreements. It keeps you true to your own product, and you will have a higher closing rate.”
8. Simplify your contracts
It is important to give potential clients the opportunity to carefully review the contractual terms, but the moment the prospect is ready to sign the contract is not the time to present them.
Instead of risking signing delays or intimidating a potential client with heavy legal jargon, keep contract signing pages as clean and simple as possible. And make it very clear that the terms and conditions of your contracts are available for review elsewhere, such as a dedicated page on your website.
“You don’t want to include your 12-page contract in DocuSign,” Hart says. “I just included a link in the contract. Anyone can read it if they want to, but we just focus on what you buy and a signature page, very simple. It’s not intimidating, and it feels very clear.”
Best way to sell
Although some of the above approaches may require top-down organizational changes to the traditional sales process, approaching sales conversations from the perspective of building real and meaningful relationships is best for salespeople and their prospects.
“Close the right deals the right way, and be open with your customers,” says Hart. “Don’t try to fight with them.
There is a little timeless inspiration for this approach: Aesop’s tale “North Wind and Sun”, in which the elements argue over who can persuade a weary traveler to remove his coat.
“The wind blew hard, while the sun just rose. Be the sun. Be honest, and be friendly about everything,” says Hart. “Be honest about your product, and in the end, you’ll have the right customers.”